Naperville mayoral candidates concerned about teardowns, infill development?

A quick overview of the six candidates interested in running for mayor in Naperville suggests at least a few are concerned with teardowns and infill development:

Councilman Doug Krause, a 66-year-old real estate broker, has been serving on the City Council since 1989 and ran unsuccessfully for the city’s top spot in the past. He said the city needs to be careful with infill developments, “making sure (they’re) compatible with the surrounding neighbors.”…

Retired Carol Stream firefighter Marty Walker agreed, saying the city must support both large and small businesses. Walker, 62, has been volunteering with Naperville events like Ribfest and Last Fling and said taking on the job of mayor would be a way to “continue to help people.”

Jim Haselhorst, a 54-year-old dental office manager who volunteers through the Naperville Jaycees, said he is entering the race because he feared several of candidates may not be as committed to the job as Pradel has been. He too, listed development as a major issue, especially in light of teardowns and rezoning in recent years.

“It’s a challenge to maintain a family-friendly environment in a way that keeps the nature of the city, the character of the city, intact,” he said.

While it is still early in the process, I believe these comments are quite indicative of the state in which Naperville finds itself today. It is built-out, meaning that there is little to no open land available for development. The city is large but has a high quality of life, as indicated by its recent ranking as the 33rd best place to live in the United States. The downtown is quite attractive – with plans underway to expand across to the south bank of the DuPage River – and there is still a thriving high-tech corridor along I-88.

Given these conditions, the statements by the mayoral candidates make a lot of sense: how can a mature community encourage growth (enough to pay for the good quality of life without having to raise taxes too much, keep its reputation as a thriving place) in such a way that its good character (wealthy, lots of good-sized single-family homes, family-friendly) is preserved? This will be a delicate balance but one that will go a long way to determining the Naperville of the next 50 years.

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