DANVILLE — The departure of a longtime alderman in Ward 2, Lois Cooper, has a left her former seat up for grabs.
Retiree Darrell Heath, 57, has held local office previously, as a county board member for less than a term but never Danville alderman. He said he's running for Ward 2 alderman because he believes he can bring a common-sense approach to the city. He said residents in his neighborhood, which is just south of Memorial Bridge on South Gilbert Street, have encouraged him to run. Heath said he knows the community well, has been very involved in activities and organizations through the years, and knows how to talk with people and understand their problems, and if there's something that can be done, he will surely try.
Hoskins, 52, a business representative for the International Union of Operating Engineers, said he also wants to bring a common-sense approach to the city council and likes to think outside the box when necessary. He said Danville and Ward 2 are a great place to live, and he wants that to continue.
Hoskins said his top three issues are jobs, perception of the city and government funding.
He said more jobs will create a bigger tax base, so the city needs to work with various entities, including state officials, to bring more business to Danville.
Heath also said Danville needs jobs, and the city should consider assistance to new businesses on an individual basis, but the city should not assist all of them. He said when there aren't jobs, there's more crime, and the city is doing some good things to bring more jobs and businesses, but there's more that could be done.
Hoskins said the perception of the city needs to be addressed, and city government can do that by getting the word out that Danville is a good place and by meeting with various groups to promote the city and all the positive things here.
In regard to local city funding, Hoskins said the city needs to work with state and federal officials to get as much funding as possible and try to find ways to create new revenue sources. In addition, the city needs to look at what it can live without financially, both long-term and short-term, finding areas of the city government where it can be more conservative and efficient. He said the Danville school district's efforts toward energy efficiency is a good example.
Within their ward, both Heath and Hoskins say they are concerned about an old concrete bridge that runs from Logan Avenue to Oakwood Avenue and spans the North Fork River on the north end of Ellsworth Park. Both said chunks of concrete are falling from it, and it needs to be demolished.
Heath said other issues specific to Ward 2 include creating a neighborhood park for the kids, because there isn't one currently, and the streets and sewers always need improvement, especially sewers in the Vermilion Heights area. Also, he said, he agrees that the dams on the Vermilion River and the North Fork River in Ellsworth Park need to be removed.
"They are dangerous. There's no doubt in my mind," said Heath, whose house overlooks the low-lying area where the dam sits on the Vermilion River.
Address: 40 N. Jefferson St.
Occupation: Retired after 30 years as Sears Service Dept. technician
Education: Some college credits at DACC; technical schools through Sears
Political experience: Former Vermilion County Board member
Address: 439 Ave. C
Occupation: Business agent, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399
Education: 1978 Danville High graduate
Political experience: None