HUNTLEY – Sun City, Huntley, resident Noel Keinath had just one lament after the Huntley village trustee candidate forum ended Monday night – that too many chairs in the Prairie Lodge’s spacious Drendel Ballroom were empty for it.
About 130 people attended the forum hosted by the Sun City Civic Committee. They heard from candidates John Piwko, the only incumbent running for re-election, as well as Jay Kadakia, a former trustee who served from 2007 to 2011, J.R. Westberg, who ran but lost in 2011, and Ronda Goldman, a first-time trustee candidate.
The four candidates are running for three open seats in the April 9 election.
Keinath, who attended with his wife, Barbro, said Kadakia’s emphasis on water resources particularly resonated with him.
“Water is a very important part of our growth,” Keinath said. “Without water, we are not going to have growth.”
The forum, moderated by Civics Committee volunteer George Sebastian, lasted a little more than two hours.
While Kadakia emphasized the importance of seeking out and conserving water resources, Piwko’s greatest emphasis was on ensuring a smoother flow of traffic from north to south, as well as a greater “walkability” throughout the village.
Westberg said he is a family man with two young daughters and he is running so that his children and all children in the village can “grow up in a quality and safe environment.”
Like all of the trustees, Westberg noted that the village likely is on the verge of another growth spurt as the Route 47 widening project is complete or nearly complete and the I-90 interchange project is on the horizon.
“I think the village should focus more on light industrial and medium industrial,” Westberg said.
Goldman, a retired Chicago Public Schools administrator who lives in Sun City, Huntley, noted her longtime involvement in community groups and organizations, including the Huntley Historical Society and the Huntley Civilian Police Academy, as among reasons to vote for her.
“Huntley is a growing area, and I want to help shape the housing, retail and commercial growth,” she said. “I don’t want Huntley to lose its charm and emulate some of the communities near O’Hare.”
Questions from the audience included the topics of home rule, video gaming and possible expansion of the Grafton bus service.
One thing all of the candidates agreed on was that proceeds to the village from video gaming in town are a boon to the village’s budget.
They also supported home rule as a means of affording the village greater access to state dollars and greater latitude in deciding the villages’ fate.
They also agreed that the village should continue to support the bus service. The village has for several years provided $10,000 annually toward it, Piwko said.
Keinath said he appreciated the Civics Committee’s efforts in organizing the forum and the candidates’ attendance.
“It’s informative,” he said. “It gives us a chance to see and meet these people face to face rather than just looking at a piece of literature.”