I have followed City Council my entire life and remember the days of the Commission form of Government. Currently, only one woman serves on the City Council, which is not representative of Springfield’s demographics (over 52% female). Also, as a single Mom, my concerns, issues and priorities may be a bit different than other Alderman. Working in a bi-partisan way on an officially non-partisan Council should be the norm.
A few issues I would like to address:
Infrastructure – Older neighborhoods are much different than other areas of the city, and we like it that way! But even with recent updates and improvements, there are still several streets in Ward 6 (including mine) whose sidewalks and streets flood every time it rains. The resurfaced MacArthur Boulevard is beautiful and much appreciated, but that work needs to continue.
- Public Safety – Like other areas of the city, home and car break-ins are commonplace. Cars tearing through our streets while our children play is the norm. Many trees are so overgrown they obscure the street lights during the summer months, making the roads extremely dark and unsafe. I would work closely with our neighborhood associations and Neighborhood Police Officer to combat these issues.
- Nuisance Properties – This is a hot-button issue in Ward 6. Absentee landlords, fly-dumping, crumbling properties and blight plague Ward 6. We can’t legislate aesthetics, but we can enforce current ordinances to ensure property values increase instead of decline. On average, home values are decreasing 3% a year. For those of us who put blood sweat and tears into our homes and yards, this is NOT acceptable!
- TIF Districts – I have publicly supported TIF’s (notably the MacArthur Boulevard TIF), but I know they’re not ideal in all situations. I know that we have to think creatively to accomplish some of our goals.
- Diversity/Equality – It is imperative that we erase the racial boundary lines in this city and make sure everyone has the same opportunities. Whether through a city-wide mentoring program or “Meet and Greets” in different neighborhoods, or a monthly “Night Out” event as opposed to yearly , we need to get to know the residents all across the city and include everyone. This is how you build a strong community.
- Sustainability – Ward 6 is a more forward-thinking Ward. Wind and solar energy and green roofs are possibilities that Ward 6 residents are interested in exploring. If we can recycle, we can compost. Ward 6 is the ideal test Ward to see if a curbside composting initiative could work citywide. Cities like Waynesboro, Virginia, population 22,000, started a very popular curbside composting program through a grant and public/private partnership. Significantly reducing our carbon footprint is becoming increasingly important every day.
- Economic Development – Many Ward 6 residents are concerned with the types of businesses going in on MacArthur Boulevard. We need to attract businesses that appeal to Ward 6 residents and families and keep them in the neighborhood. HyVee has been a success story for Springfield, but we need to keep that momentum going!