Rock Island aldermanic candidates focused on issues affecting the adjacent 1st and 5th wards at a candidates forum Thursday night in the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.
The April 9 election will see Ald. Terry Brooks, 1st Ward, vie for his fifth term on the city council against newcomer Ivory Clark, principal of Quad City Seventh Day Adventist Junior Academy in Davenport.
Mr. Clark said he hopes to draw more retail and commercial development to the ward than Mr. Brooks has brought.
"I see this ward progressing and moving forward," Mr. Brooks countered, saying his achievements include expanded social services, such as the women's shelter, and affordable housing. Large-scale developments such as those proposed by Mr. Clark would sacrifice the existing housing, he said.
Mr. Clark dismissed the claim, saying Rock Island can plan development in areas that will not interfere with housing.
"There's room in the 1st Ward for development," he added.
Also at Thursday's forum were David McAdam,Margie Mejia-Caraballo and Kate Hotle who are seeking Rock Island's 5th Ward seat. A fourth candidate, Anthony Heddlesten, did not attend the forum.
Current Ald. Jason Jones, 5th Ward, is not seeking re-election.
Mr. McAdam, who owns a demolition company, said his business background, along with his experience and commitment to the 5th Ward, gave him an advantage. He said his priorities include economic development, improving streets and replacing the city's aging sewers.
Ms.Mejia-Caraballo, a government employee who was 5th Ward alderman from 2006 to 2009, also cited infrastructure was among her priorities. She said she hopes to address the water main bursts that have racked up expenses for the city. Her experience on community boards, on both sides of the river, will be to her benefit, she added.
Ms. Hotle, community service coordinator with Project Now, said she hopes to bring a fresh, new perspective to the council. The youngest candidate in the race said infrastructure repairs require more revenue, and she hopes to bring new businesses to vacant buildings throughout the ward.
All of the candidates, except Mr. Clark, backed the city's decision to buy 90 acres at Illinois 92 and Interstate 280 for future development.Mr. Brooks said he had confidence in the decision, saying the city was acting proactively by seizing an opportunity for growth, much like the planned Walmart development in the city.
"If you don't go forward, you aren't going anywhere," Mr. McAdam said.
Mr. Clark said he did not have enough information on the subject.
Today is Wednesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Soldiers from the barracks on the Arsenal manage to elude the vigilance of the guard nearly every day and come to town armed. In the hands of excited and perhaps intoxicated men, these weapons are dangerous. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Manufacturing's merchants and professional men of Moline were petitioning the Western Union Telegraph company to establish a telegraph office in the business area of the city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Three Rock Island students, the Misses Eleanor Cleaveland, Dorothy McCabe and Ruth West, escaped injury when fire destroyed College Hall at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave a party for William H. Stremmel, the only survivor of John Buford Post 243, GAR. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The East Moline Grade School Board of Education last night granted salary increases totaling about $47,000 to teachers and staff members. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Five champion spellers from the Rock Island/Milan School district were selected after competition this week at Modern Woodmen of America. Winners are Sarah Cottay, Christopher Gilbrich, Jared Vogele, Kedric Roper and Kenny Stevenson.