The 2005 budget, the Barber Coleman project, and residential development have all topics discussed or voted on during the Rockford City Council meetings. 23 News is continuing to examine the issues and races in the April election with a look at the issues and candidates running for alderman in ward two and three.
In the 2nd Ward, it is current Republican Alderman Pat Curran running against Democratic candidate Melissa Lewis. Curran has held the seat since 1983. Lewis ran for a county board seat and lost, and is now trying to represent her neighborhood. If elected, Lewis intends to focus on crime, garbage pickup and roads.
Lewis says, "We also have a lot of abandoned houses that I would like to see about getting grants or city money to fix. Maybe look at a habitat-like program."
Curran says he would continue to work on upgrading and maintaining the ward that he says has a large amount of infrastructure problems.
Curran tells 23 News, "What I am concentrating on is the basics: neighborhoods, streets, fire, police and water. I'll continue to do that until my people say go concentrate on something else."
The two candidates agree that their ward is filled with many roads well traveled. Curran wants to change the way the roads are fixed.
Curran says, "Because this is an old ward it's difficult to repair streets. You just don't lay two inches of mat over the top. You've got to really work the streets."
Lewis wants to go in another direction.
Lewis replies by stating, "I will meet with neighbors to decide what roads should be fixed."
In Ward 3, current Republican Alderman Doug Mark is running against Democratic candidate Dan Lewandowski. Mark has been 3rd ward alderman since 2001. Lewandowski has an extensive law background and is an attorney. Strengthening downtown and future economic developments is what mark intends to focus in on if re-elected.
Mark says, "We've got a lot going and we've got a lot of work into the foundation for many projects. We just want to keep moving those projects forward."
Lewandowski says he differs from Mark in terms of downtown development and issues important to Ward 3.
Lewandowski says, "This ward goes all the way near Eisenhower all the way south to College and North to Auburn, so downtown is key, but I'm not going to forget about the east side."
Recently, Mark has been working on changing Route 2 in order to eliminate so many one-ways throughout downtown.
Mark states, "We're at least at the point that we are talking about access in downtown. That is a concern as well as 2nd and 3rd Street changeover on east side."
Mark also supports the round-a-bout concept for the North Main corridor, an issue Lewandowski is against.
Lewandowski says, "What happens when there is an accident? What happens if people want to avoid it? I don't think the city has looked at that."
But no matter the differences, all of the candidates do agree that Rockford is a great city and just want to the chance to make the forest city even better.
The 3rd Ward alderman candidate’s current Republican Alderman Doug Mark and challenger Democratic candidate Dan Lewandowski will be the focus of a debate to be held this Tuesday. The two will face off at Memorial Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.