Two candidates from different backgrounds have a similar vision for Rockford's 11th Ward. A recent crime spree in that area has them focusing on making the ward safe.
Both Independent candidate Jaime Salgado and incumbent Democratic Alderman Karen Elyea say residents in those neighborhoods need to feel secure, but they differ on the severeness of overall crime in the 11th Ward.
"With the stabbings, shootings and robberies, this has been occurring for the last five years." -says Salgado.
Elyea disagrees, "I've lived at the corner of Broadway and 9th Street since 2004, so going back that far it has gotten a lot better."
Salgado is new to that neighborhood. He's only lived in the 11th Ward for one year, but he says it's clear there's something missing in the aldermanic position.
"There needs to be a voice, I hear complaints as I've been talking to people as I'm walking through the neighborhood knocking on people's doors, the main concern is that they feel they don't have a voice." -he says.
Karen Elyea says the 11th Ward has its problems like prostitution. She's working to fix it.
"I'll continue to ask the police to do reverse stings to arrest solicitors, the Johns that are cruising around endlessly."
Salgado's main focus is getting more officers on 11th Ward streets and making education more available.
"My ultimate goal is to somehow bring a Rock Valley College mini-campus kind of like at Samuelson if we can do that in this ward, you'll bring revenue in, businesses in, people will want to move to this area."
Both candidates say the 11th Ward needs small business development, but that'll only come after safety issues are taken care of. Elyea adds she'd like to see abandoned buildings get taken down to eliminate some of the ward's blight.
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