Two of the three candidates for Joliet City Council District 2 discussed the future of Jefferson Street, single-family rentals and other issues relevant to the district that lies in the heart of the city’s West Side.
Council member Pat Mudron and Vincent Alessio came to The Herald-News’ debate, one of five held for each of the council district seats on the April 2 ballot.
Candidate Roger Powell could not be reached and did not respond to messages inviting him to the debate.
The debate is on The Herald-News Facebook page.
Mudron and Alessio bothare businessmen.
Alessio is a manager and employee in a family business, Industrial Steam Cleaning of Chicago, which is in Rockdale. Mudron is a partner in Mudron Kane Insurance in Joliet.
Both referred to their business experience during the debate.
“My life experience has prepared me to become a Joliet councilman,” Alessio said. “I learned to operate on a budget and stick to a strategic plan in an industry that has narrow margins.”
Mudron described himself as “pro-business” when asked about the number of warehouses being developed in Joliet.
“My voting record shows I’m pro-business,” he said. “I have no issue with warehouses any more than with more insurance agencies coming in here. It’s a free economy.”
The lack of business at some spots on Jefferson Street is a problem, Mudron said.
“Jefferson Street, I think, is a major issue,” he said, referring to vacancies.
Jefferson Street forms a southern boundary line for District 2 with Theodore Street on the north. The district runs east to Raynor Avenue and beyond it in some areas. It straddles Essington Road on the west.
Alessio suggested the city consider a tax increment financing district for Jefferson Street east of Larkin Avenue to encourage more business development.
The city put a TIF district in the neighborhood surrounding Amita Health Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet, which is in District 2.
District 2 also is home to the Cathedral Area, where neighborhood leaders have been advocating for inclusion of single-family homes in the city’s rental inspection program.
Both candidates expressed some wariness of imposing too many limits on owners who rent houses.
Noting that the Cathedral Area Preservation Association now is working with city staff on a plan for rental houses, Mudron said he would need to see it before deciding how he would vote.
“I also would like to make sure it’s not too stringent,” Alessio said.