Bradfield Talks Tax Base, Business Expansion In Third Bid For Mayor
Next week’s mayoral election in Urbana marks Rex Bradfield’s third bid for the office. He’s twice lost to current mayor Laurel Prussing (in 2009 and 2013), but this time, the Republican engineer and land surveyor faces Democratic Alderwoman Diane Marlin. Bradfield says if he’s elected next week, his top priority is expanding Urbana’s tax base. He says there’s been no stability in what developers can expect when they pitch projects to the city council in recent years.
"The way other developers are being treated, is an indication that Urbana is not real friendly to developers," he told Illinois Public Media's Jeff Bossert. "And when you have that, it's hard to get people to invest their money in Urbana."
Bradfield wants to form an ad hoc committee to lure in large-scale developers.
He's cited concerns about the latest plan to redevelop the Urbana Landmark Hotel, calling it "a waste of money." Bradfield also wants to revive Lincoln Square by offering high quality office space to high quality tenants.
He agrees with Marlin that Urbana should restore Urbana's vacant position of chief administrative officer.
"The administration office is the stability of the city," Bradfield said. "That person is the one that developers can go to, and regardless of the politics, regardless of who the mayor is, that person is the one who is running the show for the developers."
Bradfield says he’s opposed to the recent placement of bike paths on busier streets, saying motorists no longer want to deal with the delays that have resulted.
He contends they have led to the closing of businesses along Philo Road, like County Market.
“First thing I would do is I would take those bicycle paths off those main thoroughfares, put them onto the side streets with dual purpose streets, lower the speed limits on those streets so the speed limits are 25-30 miles an hour, and let the bicycles go where it’s safe, they can drag their kids along with them," he said.
Bradfield says bicyclists don’t use those paths on busier streets - saying the white lines separating them don’t provide adequate protection from larger trucks or buses.
Marlin says the biggest concern around Philo Road is crime, and dealing with landlords who allow crime on their properties.
In addition to his two mayoral campaigns, Bradfield also ran unsuccessfully for the Illinois House in 2006, losing to retired representative Naomi Jakobsson, and in last spring’s primary for Champaign County Recorder.