Leaving aldermen focus on upgrades

Kelly Bauer

Third Ward Alderwoman Kristen Lash and 5th Ward Alderman Ron Naylor plan to use their last eight months in their positions to push for road improvements and airport expansion.

The City Council members do not plan to seek re-election when their terms end in April, with Lash announcing her plans not to run at Monday’s council meeting. Lash started her first term in 2011, while Naylor was elected to his first term in 2007 and started a second term in 2011. Naylor has served in the public sector for most of his life, including working as DeKalb’s public works director.

Lash

Lash will focus on the city’s comprehensive and strategic plans, which go “hand in hand” and outline DeKalb’s long-term goals “so the city can be proactive to where they want to be instead of reacting to current issues,” she said. The plans call for development that creates a range of housing options for residents and making communities “walkable,” among other things.

One area of the plans Lash will focus on is changes to the city’s infrastructure as she pushes for local roads to be repaired, saying there is a “humongous need” for upkeep.

“And it’s not just roads — we have bike paths and bridges and failing buildings that all need to be looked at as a comprehensive goal to make the city a better place,” she said.

Those changes are “incredibly vital,” but “not very many” will probably be executed during the remainder of her term, she said.

Lash doesn’t wish to pursue another term on City Council because her “life is going in a very different direction than [she] thought it was going to four years ago” when she was elected. She is “very busy” with a full-time job, master’s degree classes, volunteer work and membership in the Kishwaukee Community Band.

Naylor

Naylor plans to help in the possible expansion of the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport, 3232 Pleasant St. The airport sits on a 920-acre property and houses 51 city-owned hangars, one corporate hangar and 16 privately owned corporate hangar, according to its website.

The city will look at the “vitality of the airport, the economic impact it has upon the community” as it tries to regionalize the facility and expand its benefits, Naylor said. He said the airport’s director, Tom Cleveland, is looking at how the airport can work with NIU to bring in more traveling sports teams when the university hosts games.

Traveling teams have used other airports — like the Rockford Airport about 40 miles from campus — but officials wanted the university to be able to use the airport for sports teams by August, according to a Dec. 9 Northern Star article. Working on the airport has interested Naylor for 35-40 years, he said.

The alderman will not run for re-election as he said he said he’s a “believer” in politicians sticking to two terms in office. He hopes to travel more frequently with his wife when his term is finished. Naylor said he would not comment on his accomplishments until he finished his term in April.

“Maybe at that time I’ll look back and see what the accomplishments have been,” Naylor said.