WINFIELD — Ask a Town Council candidate about key community issues, and chances are the No. 1 topic is 109th Avenue, a busy roadway traveled daily by drivers, many of them non-residents.
“There are 17,000-18,000 people who drive 109th Avenue every day in a town of 5,800 people,” said Joe May, an incumbent of a few months.
May, the lone Democrat on the ballot, joined the council in September after Bridget Baird resigned in August, citing family health issues. Baird’s name still appears on the ballot, although the special education teacher is no longer a candidate. Her resignation came after the deadline for candidates to withdrawal.
Aside from May, Gerald T. Stiener, Timothy Clayton and David M. Anderson are all incumbents seeking another term. Challengers are Zack Beaver and Jon Derwinski. All are Republicans.
Stiener, the current council president, is finishing his second term in office. He said the town is trying to address 109th Avenue, but, he noted, “It’s such a big project, it’s impossible to deal with on our own.”
The town has been working with state officials on the busy street and has sought to purchase rights-of-way and improve intersections on a roadway whose traffic may be only 30% Winfield residents, according to Stiener. He recalled a public meeting with 70-80 people, 80% of whom were Lakes of the Four Seasons residents. Those people, the councilman said, are not Winfield residents and don't pay taxes for the avenue.
On public safety, Stiener would like to see more sidewalks. He added the town, about to hire its fifth police officer, has taken a “methodical” approach to hirings to control costs.
The owner of a real estate agency, Stiener is president of the Sanitary Sewer Board and sites on the Plan Commission.
A project manager for Sullair, Mays serves on the town’s Redevelopment Commission. Regarding long-term plans for 109th Avenue, Mays wants to see partnerships with local communities to help fund any road improvements.
Mays also is interested in the town developing sidewalks and bike paths. Beaver agrees with those two proposals in an effort to connect neighborhoods.
As to 109th Avenue, which Beaver termed “a disaster for a number of years,” the candidate said improvements have been placed at $28 million in a town with a total annual budget of $3 million.
Beaver also supports ensuring that the town’s marshal and fire departments have adequate equipment to do their jobs. A former state trooper, Beaver is a banking attorney working in Chicago.
Finishing his second council term, Anderson has been working with local legislators, regional groups and the state highway department on securing funding for improving 109th Avenue. In the meantime, he wants to continue to build on the town’s marshal department and add sidewalks to help Winfield become a “more connected place.”
Anderson cited improvements made near Jerry Ross Elementary, including installation of a hawk light and sidewalks. Once those improvements are complete, Anderson said, residents from Deer Creek, Meadows and Stonegate Commons subdivisions will be able to use the one-color (red) light and walk from Jerry Ross to the established Randolph Street Community Park.
Anderson, who works with taxes for Fortune 500 companies, sits on the Plan Commission and is president of the Redevelopment Commission.
Clayton, who is finishing his first elected term, cites public safety and roads as key issues.
“We’ve been building and growing a safe community the right way,” Clayton, the council vice president, said. “We’re growing with a look to the future. Whatever we do now is going to affect the town years down the road. We want to build, but we want to build a community I want my kids to grow up in.”
As to finding funds for 109th Avenue, Clayton said, “We’re working within our means to make [the roadway] safer, while meeting with others for all the help we can get.”
Clayton added that he’d like to continue work on town sidewalks and adding to Randolph Street Community Park.
A retail sales manager for Lowe’s, Clayton is active in scouting and supports Winfield and Jerry Ross elementaries. He is president of the Plan Commission and vice president of the Stormwater Board.
Derwinski could not be reached for comment. All Winfield council seats are at-large positions.
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