HARVARD – A 36-year-old Navy veteran will challenge Mayor Jay Nolan in one of two contested elections April 9 in Harvard.
Ward 3 Alderman Scott Logan faces Raul Meza in the other. City Clerk Andy Wells, Treasurer Deb Szczap, Ward 1 Alderman Chuck Marzahl, Ward 2 Alderman Phil Ulmer and Ward 4 Alderman Carl Opper are unopposed to retain their posts.
Will Parker is a lifelong Harvard resident, except for his eight years in the Navy. An employee of Kikkoman Foods in Walworth, Wis., he said he decided to run for mayor to better the community in which his 1-year-old twins will grow up.
“Harvard is a good town. I’m not saying anybody’s doing a bad job,” Parker said. “I would like to try my hand at it. I think I have some great ideas that would help the community.”
Nolan, who also grew up in Harvard, is seeking his third term. He was first elected in 2005 after two years on the City Council.
“I’m proud of what we did with our Main Street. We redid our Main Street with streetscape,” he said. “Another accomplishment with the economy the way it is, is trying to keep everything in a balanced budget, which we have.”
Nolan also pointed to creating an events committee and advancements at Milky Way Park as successes during his tenure.
In the fall, the city entered into a perpetual lease agreement with Landmark Dividend for property on Harvard Hills Road. The agreement granted possession of the lease to Landmark in exchange for a lump sum of $322,000.
The money will allow the city to pay off the Milky Way Park loan, with a surplus that can be used for improvements, Nolan has said.
Parker said he wasn’t ready to reveal specific plans for the city should he win the election.
“I’m a hardworking, caring, honest individual,” he said. “I love my community, and I love my town. I just want to try to build it to grow and make it a better place for my kids and other children for the future.”
Scott Logan, opposed by Raul Meza, is seeking a third term on the City Council. Logan helped create and now heads the events committee and serves as chairman of the Finance Committee.
“I think so far we’ve done a pretty good job,” Logan said. “I know, unfortunately, property taxes have gone up. We’ve cut out expenses for services as much as we could without diminishing those services to the point most people would notice it.”
Logan moved his company, which manufactures safety equipment for underground mines, to Harvard in 2003.
“I’ve really adopted Harvard as my hometown even though I grew up elsewhere,” he said. “As alderman, I’ve tried to be as accessible as possible. People know my phone number. Most of them know my name.”
Meza is a 26-year-old lifelong Harvard resident with a business degree from Rockford College.
He said he would speak freely and offer a fresh perspective from a younger generation.
“My family is known in the community, and I feel also more Hispanics would go to them and feel welcomed, feel comfortable approaching me,” Meza said.