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O'Dekirk lays out out goals; new Joliet City Council sworn in

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk promised four more years of growth in Joliet as he started a second term Monday.

The mayor and five council members elected April 2 were sworn in at a ceremonial meeting.

Speeches focused on gratitude to family, friends and campaign workers who helped the mayor and council members get elected.

O’Dekirk also listed a dozen goals for the new term, including downtown redevelopment, construction at Rock Run Crossings and improvements on Interstate 80.

“We will find a solution for I-80,” the mayor declared, alluding to congestion and infrastructure issues on the state-controlled interstate.

He also promised “managed growth” in the fast developing industrial sector on the south end of the city. Chicago Street downtown will be reopened and a new plaza downtown will be built “in the next four years,” the mayor said.

Rock Run Crossings, the mixed-use development planned for retail, hotel, entertainment, office space and more at Interstates 55 and 80 will become a reality, O’Dekirk said.

“I fully expect that project to come to fruition and be in build-out for the next four years,” he said.

O’Dekirk also praised interim City Manager Marty Shanahan at a time when the council will be deciding whether to open the job for applicants.

Noting $1.4 billion in private investment in Joliet the past four years, O’Dekirk noted Shanahan did two stints as interim city manager in that time.

O’Dekirk ran unopposed in the election, and the four incumbents who ran for reelection all won.

The one newcomer to the council is Sherri Reardon, who is taking the District 3 seat vacated by John Gerl.

Reardon, after thanking the many people who helped in her campaign, noted that the council has major decisions coming up.

“I promise you I will always make my decisions based on knowledge, transparency and what’s best for Joliet,” she said.

Also reelected were Larry Hug in District 1, Pat Mudron in District 2, Bettye Gavin, in District 4 and Terry Morris in District 5. The three at-large council members were not up for election.

Hug and Gavin also said they expected continued development in Joliet.

“The change the city has seen has been nothing short of phenomenal,” Hug said.

“I love the direction that the city is going,” Gavin said. “You think that we had a lot of growth in the last four years? Watch out.”

Council members also paid tribute to Gerl, who was appointed to the council in 2010 and won two elections.

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