CREATING A VIBRANT, HEALTHY DOWNTOWN
The 5th Ward encompasses most of Batavia’s downtown. Batavia’s downtown is beautiful, with many amenities to attract restaurants, stores, and businesses. However, I know from first-hand experience that City Hall is difficult to work with on projects. For example: it took more than half a decade for McDonald's to obtain approval to replace their existing downtown location. Similarly, Walgreens is already two years into an effort to gain approval to build a new store to replace their antiquated downtown location. Both of these businesses have been good neighbors and contributed significantly to the economic health of our downtown.
I can help address the obstacles that stand in the way of successful downtown development:
City Council and administrative staff often do not work cooperatively.
As Alderman, I will work to create a culture of collaboration between
these two bodies, with a goal of establishing a policy that encourages
I have seen that City Council members are
often not involved early enough in the dialogue about prospective
projects. Frequently, they do not see the details of a project until it
comes to them for a vote. I want to see the Council have the
opportunity to become involved earlier in the planning process.
healthy downtown requires a shared vision that permeates all levels of
city government. It then requires an attitude of cooperation that
actively engages business owners to create win-win scenarios.
With vision and collaboration, we can do better.
SUPPORTING THE FINE ARTS COMMUNITY
Batavia is home to a growing fine arts community. Water Street Studio has quickly grown in popularity and become an attraction that draws visitors from throughout the Midwest. However, the area around the Studio lacks adequate parking, safe sidewalks, and sufficient lighting.
The Fifth Ward includes
the arts district. Water Street Studios, Kiss the Sky Music Store, and
the summer farmer’s market are businesses located here. Other
businesses, such as restaurants and retailers, could be attracted to
this location if amenities such as adequate parking, safe sidewalks, and
sufficient lighting are provided. As your alderman, I will secure
support for these amenities.
By supporting our local entrepreneurs, we can do better.
TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT
Batavia has invested in a downstate coal plant to provide for the city’s electrical needs. The investment will cost Batavia taxpayers an estimated $246 million over the life of the agreement… the largest single investment in the city’s history. Yet, most citizens know nothing of the agreement, nor anything about the terms, many of which appear to be detrimental to the city. The city has not done enough to make this information public, to educate the citizens, and engage in a public discourse. Finally, businesses considering relocating to Batavia need to know their potential operating costs.
The citizens of Batavia deserve to know what issues are being addressed by their civic leaders. They need to be allowed to provide input into the important decisions that may affect their lives (and pocketbooks) for years to come.
I believe in full disclosure and transparency. For example, the details about the utility contract and the coal plant’s operation are difficult to obtain. I believe the city should share as much of this information as possible: post it on the city’s website, put it in simple language, and educate the customer.
Further, when considering difficult issues (or issues beyond an alderman’s experience), we should tap into the expertise of our citizens. As alderman, I will utilize the rich resources available within our community.
By utilizing all our community resources and making decisions in the light of the public eye, we can do better.