Machesney Park President Race

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As part of our continued election coverage, we sat down with Democratic incumbent Machesney Park president Linda Vaughn, and Republican Tom Strickland to find out their thoughts on the next four years.

It's the fastest growing corridor in northern Illinois. The Gateway District on Illinois 173 is exploding with new business, and incumbent president Linda Vaughn says it's only the beginning.

"I want to see 173 developments continue at the current pace because there's no property tax in Machesney Park, sales tax revenue is paramount," says Vaughn.

But Republican candidate Tom Strickland wants to see different businesses set up shop in the village.

"A lot of these banks and loan stores on 173 don't do us any good. They don't pay the sales tax. [We] need to get good business in here that will pay the sales tax," says Strickland.

Vaughn says she's most proud of "Build Machesney," the village's capital improvement program.

"We've fixed 20 miles of road at $5 million s to the village, but zero cost to the residents," says Vaughn.

Strickland disagrees with the current road policies and would make road improvements one of his main objectives as president. He says many village streets are in shambles. He cites Wallace Drive as one of the worst.

"It seems like they concentrate on 173, but we're not making some of the worst roads a priority," says Strickland.

Strickland would also like to see the Harlem bridge toll lowered. He says the 50-cent toll is hurting Machesney Park's economy.

"If they lowered it to 25 cents, more people would go over. Right now it's a deterrent," says Strickland.

Vaughn says she also wants to develop the land in front of Rock Cut State Park, but she says no neon signs or parking lots.

"We envision a hotel with a northern woods feel, a general store, bait shop, ice cream shop," says Vaughn.

There is a lot of growth and a lot of ideas, and come April 5, voters will decide who should lead the village into its next chapter.