Lisle trustees candidates differ on development
by Bob Sanchez, Daily Herald
Candidates in Lisle's crowded village trustee race sharply disagree about whether the town is doing enough to spur development in downtown and along the Ogden Avenue corridor. Seven candidates are running for three seats on the village board. Three of the candidates -- Kelly Dixit, Albert Lazaro and Marie Hasse -- are members of the Prosperity For Lisle slate. Three incumbents -- Anthony Carballo, Brad Hettich and Christy McGovern -- are hoping to keep their seats in the April 4 election. The seventh candidate, Kristy Grau, is running as an independent. During a Thursday night candidate forum, Hasse said one of her goals is for the village to attract more shops and restaurants. "I want to support our local businesses and bring in new businesses that will increase our tax base so that people living in Lisle can afford to stay in Lisle -- not have to move due to high property taxes," she said. When asked about downtown and Ogden Avenue, Hasse said Lisle needs to become more business friendly. Grau said the village board should be focused on economic development -- and increasing the town's tax base. "The Ogden Avenue corridor between I-355 and Naper Boulevard consists of one vacant business after another," she said. "The absence of development puts a greater burden of taxation on the individual homeowners." To attract new businesses, Grau said elected officials first must demonstrate that small businesses are important to a community. There also needs to be effective communication between the village and the small business community. Dixit, meanwhile, said the village should create new incentive programs to encourage businesses to locate and expand in Lisle. Hettich, who was part of the Ogden Avenue Corridor Commission from February 2009 to March 2010, acknowledges there are challenges to redeveloping parts of Ogden because of lot depths and environmental issues. But he says Lisle has a plan for Ogden and has staff working to attract more businesses to the village. The master plan for downtown also is being updated. "Could we do more? Of course," Hettich said. "You need to continue to reach out to the business community. But I do feel a lot has been accomplished." He said Ogden has its highest occupancy rate in years. McGovern said she believes more businesses will be encouraged to open along the Ogden corridor after the completion of two multistory buildings on the former village hall site at Main Street and Burlington Avenue in downtown. The $50 million development by Naperville-based Marquette Cos. will include apartments, stores and a restaurant. Carballo said the project "has already fostered a lot of other interest and development." "Contrary to what has been said here, Lisle is business-friendly," Carballo said. "Our staff and our board is business-friendly."