Mundelein candidates share ideas for boosting economy
The candidates running for seats on Mundelein's village board have some interesting ideas for boosting the local economy.
One suggests moving retail business in the downtown area closer together to eliminate empty storefronts between shops. Another thinks the village should consider fining landlords that have vacant storefronts.
Four candidates are competing for three trustee posts in the April 7 election. Each seat has a 4-year term.
The candidates are: blogger Dakotah Norton; salesperson Bill Rekus; firefighter and electrician Paul Roscoe; and salesperson Kerston Russell.
All four are running for the first time. Three board seats are open because incumbents Terri Voss, Ed Sullivan and Robin Meier aren't seeking re-election.
The candidates talked about the local business climate and other issues in Daily Herald interviews and questionnaires.
Roscoe said he favors offering taxpayer-funded economic incentives to lure commercial developers to town.
Parts of Mundelein could be seen as "a blank slate" for developers, he said.
Roscoe also said village officials should work with property owners and merchants to help consolidate stores downtown. Eliminating empty storefronts between shops could create a better looking shopping district, he said.
"We'd get all the foot traffic, and it would appear that businesses are thriving," Roscoe said.
Russell supports offering financial incentives to business owners and developers, too. He said he envisions the downtown -- which has been the focus of village-run economic development efforts for decades -- becoming "a destination for both the county and northern Illinois."
Norton also backs the use of financial incentives, but he's also open to imposing fees upon landlords who have vacant storefronts.
"I think that would be an interesting avenue to pursue," he said.
Norton said he'd also like to see an amphitheater or a public stage open in the plaza near village hall.
Like the other candidates, Rekus backs an economic-incentive program for businesses. He said village officials should be more "proactive" when it comes to offering such payouts.
As for the land near village hall, Rekus believes officials should more aggressively try to attract high-end restaurants and retailers to that area since the village owns the land.
Bringing such ventures to Mundelein means residents wouldn't have to leave the village for upscale dining or shopping, he said.
"We're still lacking in the downtown area," Rekus said.