EDWARDSVILLE - Art Risavy, a City of Edwardsville mayor candidate, has a large platform he is standing by for the April election. Mayor Hal Patton has chosen not to run. Stephanie Malench is Risavy's opponent in the Edwardsville mayor race.
Issues important to Art Risavy - Platform
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-Building a new Fire Station East of Governors Parkway. If approved by council, the 3rd fire station will be similar in scope and size as the SIUE station. The estimated cost is between 4 to 5 million dollars and the initial design could come as early as next year. This will better position our city for growth along Goshen Road near the YMCA-Meyer Center and past Governors Parkway towards Highway 143 and 55. This will be approximately a 2 acre piece of property and architectural plans could start if approved early 2021. We need to purchase land and decide on financing. A portion of this could be funded from the ¼ percent sales tax and the rest could be financed with a bond.
PENSIONS FOR POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS/PARAMEDICS
-Pension funding for the City’s Police and Fire Departments will be a priority. The plan will be to stay on mark to meet the pension funding requirements set by the state. The pensions need to be 80 percent funded by the year 2050. The city’s funding mechanism could eventually come from a cannabis tax and a portion of the ¼ percent increase in sales tax.
-Improve racial diversity within our departments and volunteer committees. Strive to increase the percentages of minorities who work for the City of Edwardsville. Work on a cohesive plan to increase our percentages to match or exceed the demographics of our City. In addition to hiring practices, focus on racial diversity within our volunteers and committees. Encourage people of all races, ethnicity, and backgrounds to volunteer and appoint them to committees. I would like to see a renewed commitment to the Human Relations Committee. Continue to work on the position of a racial diversity officer and partner with the Edwardsville School District to ensure this position is one that is effective and helpful in opening up lines of communications between people of all races. Continue having open discussions similar to the open forums that Mayor Patton and Chief Keevan have had in reference to equality and race relations.
-Continue to work on public infrastructure. The Aldermen are keenly aware of the continued need to focus on our aging streets, sidewalks and roads. Continue to look at funding mechanisms that will allow us to move forward with more projects to improve our community. Work with state officials to obtain additional funding for projects related to infrastructure. Continue to look for grants to increase road and street projects.
WATER QUALITY AND PRODUCTION
-Expansion to the existing water treatment plant consisting of new filters and softeners. In the next 6 to 8 years we will need an expansion to the water treatment facility to ensure it has a capacity of 2 to 3 million gallons. Plant 1 is old and aging and parts of the plant date back to the early 1900s. The cost of this expansion will be between 4 to 5 million dollars. Start now to prepare for the future project.
MANAGED GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
-Develop the I 55 Corridor. The recent investment in this area by Anderson Hospital in my opinion will spur further interest and development in this area. We need to make sure this long term development has zoning guidelines in place that ensure a positive outcome. I anticipate high quality residential developments and businesses in this area that will meet the needs of our residents and larger commercial entities that fit the aesthetics of the I-55 corridor. I anticipate sometime in the near future new hotels and other developments in this area to spur additional growth.
-Continue our focus on developing North Main Street. All of the Alderman agree that Main Street is very important to the success, appeal, and draw of our City. We are currently working on zoning modifications to ensure the continued success of Main Street.
PARKS AND RECREATION
-Improve the City’s older parks. The Mayor has done an incredible job increasing the number of high quality parks within our City. Now it is time to circle back and make sure the older existing parks meet the expectations of our residents. We need to have a consistent level of quality at all city parks. There are many things to fix. The fountains are not working at City Park, Glik Park, and the Leclaire Baseball field.
Hoppe Park needs a sidewalk that leads to the playground. Vadalabene Park needs new fencing for the back stop. Tower Park and Winston Brown Park need new playground equipment. There are many needs for our parks and some of our new parks like Drda Woods will need lookout stations created and brush cleared. The needs are great but we can get there. A comprehensive plan will be needed to ensure the quality level meets the needs and expectations of our residents.
We also need to continue to financially support our special parks such as the Stephenson House, Children’s Museum, Nickel Plate Depot, and the Watershed Nature Center. All of these special parks are in need of more funding. Our goal is to support them to ensure ongoing success. The hotel/ motel tax will continue to support these special parks and will be an ongoing life line for their success but they will need more support.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, BUSINESS RETENTION AND OPPORTUNITES
-Support our local businesses. Focus on encouraging people to shop, eat, and spend their money locally. Without these small businesses we cannot survive. We need to partner with our local businesses so they feel we are an important pathway to their success. Expand our support of local business through our cities social media, the City’s website, and on- going support from the tourism bureau. If our local businesses are successful we win as a City!
-Focus on environmentally friendly practices whenever possible. Care for our environment, take care of our City, and ensure developments are meeting the codes and standards to keep our carbon foot print scaling downwards. Let’s do our part. Continue to look at solar options like the restrooms at City Park, continue our greenspace initiatives within our developments, and encourage recycling and less use of plastics. Create a sense of volunteerism that focuses on keeping our City and neighborhoods clean. We need to keep our City clean of trash and debris that negatively affects our lakes, streams, and wild life. Let’s create a sense of awareness in our neighborhoods and create a monthly clean-up day that encourages our residents to get out and keep our City clean. Look to high school and college students who need community service hours as a resource while expanding the scope of the Cool Cities Committee.
-Continue to devise a plan to expand downtown parking. Parking needs to be more attainable for our residents and those who work downtown. Look at the feasibility of a parking garage or other possible options. Look at funding mechanisms and partnership opportunities for parking.
-Continue to focus on not raising property taxes. Over the last 10 years that I have been Alderman, we have not raised property taxes. Stay focused on not raising property taxes.
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