Village Voice Party campaigns at Troost

Political events keep Lansing voters informed

by Jennifer Yos

LANSING, Ill. (February 25, 2019) – The Lansing Village Voice Party recently hosted an evening event at Troost Coffee & Tea, offering Lansing residents an opportunity to meet their three Trustee candidates, hear their platform, and ask questions before the April 2 election. About a dozen Lansing residents and supporters gathered to interact with candidates Saad Abbasy, Mike Fish, and Jerry Zeldenrust. Lansing’s Mayor Patty Eidam was also in attendance to show support for her party candidates.

After an introductory welcome from Trustee candidate Saad Abbasy, the three candidates shared their personal experiences living and working in Lansing and also their goals if elected. Current Trustee and 2019 Trustee candidate Jerry Zeldenrust spoke about the Village Voice Party’s goal to give “voice” to everybody in Lansing. He pointed out that the Village Voice Party kept their 2017 campaign promises: to repave roads, to fix sidewalks, to bring back the Santa Claus House, and to create the Human Relations Commission. Mike Fish spoke of his history of commitment to Lansing through his tenure with Public Works and his community service, and he shared his interest in helping Lansing seniors and in improving technology in the Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments. Saad Abbasy believes his current job in financial regulation, which involves working as a fraud examiner, will help him as a Trustee to look at issues with a critical eye.

Village Voice Party candidate Saad Abbasy (right) chats with supporters during the party’s February 25 event at Troost. (Photo: Jennifer Yos)

Afterwards, the three candidates took questions from the audience.

Economic growth

A couple of Lansing residents shared suggestions and concerns about economic growth in Lansing. One commented, “I’d like to hear some specifics on how you plan on attracting businesses, and what type of businesses you are trying to attract. “ Zeldenrust responded that with a full slate of 2019 events planned, Fox Pointe will be an economic hub for Lansing with future business opportunities. Abbasy added that the Village has tax incentives they can use to court the kinds of businesses that will attract more businesses. He mentioned a couple of big-name hotels—one of them Hilton—that have shown interest in Lansing. He also added that having successful businesses in town and promoting them shows prospective businesses that there’s a customer base willing to spend money. Fish mentioned the importance of Torrence Avenue as a route to Fox Pointe and how the current Village Board has plans to fix up and beautify the Torrence corridor. Zeldenrust added that they envision attracting upscale stores with adequate parking using TIF districts and Class 8 tax incentives.

Lansing Municipal Airport

Another resident asked if there were plans to revitalize the airport. Zeldenrust explained that previously the airport had leases on all of the buildings with county lease taxes that no one was paying. He said it took some paperwork, but they had the lease taxes removed from all but one property, and the arrangements are now concessions. They hope to get the Ford Hangar out of FAA control so that the Ford Hangar Foundation can revitalize the structure and turn it into an asset for Lansing. Midwest Aerospace is the airport’s fixed base operator that fixes planes, handles the full-service fuel, and caters to the pilots.

Environmental concerns

A fourth resident brought up environmental concerns, mentioning a Lansing school that does not have recycling program. Abbasy encouraged her to communicate her concerns to the School Board. He added that the Village recently worked with Homewood Disposal to offer an e-waste program, and that although the Village may not be able to address every environmental concern, they can be a resource for finding solutions.

Residential concerns

Another resident expressed a concern about rental properties in Lansing that are not being properly maintained, and asked how the Village intends to promote homeownership and beautification in the town. Zeldenrust explained that the Village administration had, until recently, held a partnership with South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority to take over titles, fix properties up, and sell them, but they became disillusioned when they saw that renovations were superficial, houses were more likely rented than sold, and renters were not invested in the upkeep. So the Village recently cut ties with South Suburban Land Bank and started an in-house program wherein Administrator Dan Podgorski will work with his contacts in real estate and with the Village Attorney to seek titles and demolish dilapidated properties or sell them to contractors with specific criteria for rejuvenation. Abbasy added that as Trustee, he would like to explore an incentive program for first-time home buyers in Lansing to promote homeownership in Lansing. He also feels there is a need to encourage the administration to increase code enforcement and go after repeat offenders of code violations.

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