Wheaton City Council, Mayor Gresk and city management teams should be commended for their downtown redevelopment plan. The new streetscape, recycle garbage cans, roadways and walkways from phase one of the plan are a welcomed update. In addition, necessary underground structural work was completed. While this placed a burden on some of the businesses, the city kept up close communications and worked with the Downtown Wheaton Association to make the best of the construction phase. Continued economic growth in downtown and the south Danada areas that draw people to live, work and visit our city should be our focus. These decisions should be made through the lens of fiscal responsibility and an eye to the future.
The policies made by the city council should also encourage growth, mobility and unification throughout Wheaton, including Town Square Wheaton, Danada Square East, Danada Square West and the northern business district. Working with the Chamber of Commerce, the current city council recognizes the many great businesses, shopping and restaurants throughout Wheaton and as Councilwoman, I will continue to encourage growth and access. Our future should be focused on unifying the North, downtown, and South business areas whenever possible in order to strengthen our cities’ economy and make Wheaton a destination spot.
Our economy will continue to grow when we provide residents and visitors with greater access and mobility to enjoy all that Wheaton has to offer. If people find it too difficult to actually get somewhere, they won’t go. Roadways, parking, sidewalks, crosswalks, bike paths, and public transportation should consistently be reviewed and considered as we move forward with future developments.
Shoppers and employees of downtown businesses need convenient parking. The city council and the hard working city management team should continue to focus on this goal.
Accessible Train Stations
Commuters need quick, easy and safe access to our two main train stations. The Wheaton College station recently achieved this goal with the underground passage. A bridge or tunnel for Wheaton train commuters from parking on the south side to the downtown train is a project I believe the city should consider. This would benefit many of our residents that use the train system for work and pleasure.
More and more residents rely on or choose cycling as their dominant form of transportation and recreation. Our city, working with the parks and schools, should be making plans to encourage this. Proper development would encourage movement from the Prairie Path to downtown Wheaton businesses, along major roads, crossing major roads and connecting people to parks and businesses. Encouraging green forms of transportation will move Wheaton in to the future.
Our growing community relies on a thriving park district, high quality public schools, and a future-focused, fiscally responsible city government. As councilwoman, I support enhanced collaboration and collective action between these three pillars of our vibrant community.
Currently the City Council, Wheaton Park District and Community Unit School District 200 have a good working relationship. As councilwoman, I will advocate for policies and practices that encourage strong collective action and collaboration. My husband and I chose to move to Wheaton and stayed to raise our family in Wheaton because of the variety of services provided by these three entities. We will stay in Wheaton into our “empty nest” years because of these factors as well. As councilwoman, I will do my best to support services that both attract new residents and keep the many residents that wish to spend their retirement years in Wheaton.
Programs and Services
When we work together, we can maximize our resources to provide Wheaton residents with even greater return on the investment of our tax dollars. This can include:
Collaboration on congested roadways and expansion areas such as Gary Ave. near Cosley Zoo should include stakeholders from the parks, the area schools and the city council.
Adding pedestrian crossings on Roosevelt Rd., additional sidewalks and bicycle paths or lanes will serve to get students to school safely, encourage recreational use of our many parks and better connect the South and North sections of Wheaton.
Sponsoring and promoting community events that celebrate our history and our diversity will connect residents and draw visitors. Events such as the National Night Out, the Citizens Fire Academy and programs run by our current Community Relations Commission are just a few to be noted.
Communication while raising funds through our many non-for-profit organizations that also work to make Wheaton a great place for all to live.
Affordable Cost of Living
The needs of the community are ever shifting. Currently, out of 13,000 students enrolled in Wheaton Warrenville District 200, approximately 28% identify as coming from low income families. This number has stayed relatively consistent over the last five years. The needs these families have impact our whole community and we must collaborate on to create solutions.
We must continue to grow and embrace our diverse population while maintaining the qualities of our community that bring people and keep people here. We can do this best when our strong pillars of the community work together. In 1994 my husband and I moved here for the schools and our first (affordable) home. We have stayed here because of the schools, the park district programs, and the services and safety features offered by the city. As we enter in to the “empty nest” stage of our lives, we wish to stay here. Like many people in our community, that means Wheaton must maintain affordable living options and reasonable taxes while offering important and impactful services that the community desires.
Environment and sustainability
Supporting environmentally friendly policies and practices and sustainable development is an essential investment in our future.
As a city council in a high functioning community, we should support policies and practices that serve to increase environmental awareness of Wheaton residents. Several years ago Wheaton switched to a waste management system that encourages recycling. The Public Works Department encourages and organizes electronic recycling, tree and pumpkin recycling and Christmas light recycling. We must continue on this path.
Wheaton should be a “green leader” in DuPage County. We are proud to have planted 517 trees last year and installed 52 LED light fixtures. Our highly educated residents are committed to the future. Moving towards green energy and sustainable development can only serve as a positive cycle, fiscally and socially, for our city.
Most recently the city of Wheaton conducted an extensive review of the various flooding issues throughout Wheaton. Solutions to our storm water issues must be developed with the future in mind. This process may be complicated and time consuming but the city of Wheaton has an obligation to its residents that are impacted. We must also work with the EPA in our plans. Because this is not an area of expertise for me, I commit to making this issue a priority and being open to ideas while talking with residents during my campaign and once I am on the council.
Investing in bike lanes and paths that provide greater access to our parks, schools, commuter trains, shopping and the Prarie Path will encourage safe and energy efficient mobility while also encouraging physical exercise. I look forward to hearing more about the work being done by our Bicycle Advisory Commission. Additional walking paths will encourage joggers and walkers as well. On days when the weather is nice, one can see families biking and residents walking their dogs; a clear expression of Wheaton’s great sense of character.
Wheaton French Market & Winter Market
The local businesses, farms and artisans that are featured at our markets are a staple on a Saturday morning! The market brings visitors, supports local small business men and women, and facilitates local economic sustainability. The markets allow residents to walk or bike, businesses do not travel far, fuel costs stay down and as a results in a positive impact on our environment. Doing what we can to better meet the needs of the local community, keeping dollars local, linking neighbors and enhancing social relationships will be another priority of mine. Whatever the city council can do to put policies and practices in place to enhance the markets, I would be in support of.