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Local News

Hug insists this forum will be different

A 'one-stop venue'

Joliet City Hall
Joliet City Hall

Council member Larry Hug called foul on my column last week, saying it misrepresented his proposal for the big forum on local roads and highways.

Hug said the event will not be “just another forum” on traffic problems and would be a “one-stop” venue with elected officials at all levels in one place to face questions about what they and their particular tier of government is doing about roads in their jurisdictions.

He wants members of Congress there to talk about interstates, state legislators to talk about state highways, and so on and on down to city streets and township roads.

“If they say we don’t have a plan, people need to know that,” Hug said. “If people say we don’t have an answer, people need to know that.”

As to the political overtones that the forum may come close to the April 2 city election in which Hug is a candidate, he said the timing depends on interim City Manager Marty Shanahan’s ability to get all the players in one room on one day.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” he said. “I purposely waited until after the November election, which was a circus, so it didn’t become another political football.”

Hug said he didn’t want to inject his forum proposal into the election involving November candidates – county officials, state legislators and members of Congress.

Will it become a political football in the April election?

“Originally, I said let’s get this done before Christmas. It looks like that’s not going to be,” Hug said.

Candidates for Joliet City Council file petitions next week.

Among those who have petitions out are Marc Ragusa, who would run against Hug in District 1 if he files and who was a candidate in the last council at-large election in 2017.

Last week’s column also mentioned that the City Council was slated to vote Tuesday on a plan to develop 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space on 101 acres at Spencer and Cherry Hill roads.

They didn’t.

Shanahan told the council Tuesday that the attorney for developer Exeter Property Group asked that the vote be tabled so they could complete their “due diligence” on the plan.

Attorney David Silverman, representing Exeter, did not mention the need to do more due diligence at a council workshop meeting on Monday.

Two residents who have been active in controversies over warehouse projects had done some due diligence.

Susan Majcher of Joliet Township and Margie Cepon on Monday presented the council with a market analysis from Colliers International and an article from Crain’s Chicago Business that pointed to Joliet and the surrounding areas as the one market in the Chicago region where industrial vacancies have been growing due to the number of large warehouses built before companies are lined up to occupy them.

The vote on the Exeter plan was tabled to the Jan. 15 City Council meeting.

• Bob Okon is a longtime Herald-News reporter. He can be reached at 815-280-4121 or bokon@shawmedia.com.

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