MINOOKA — All three Minooka Village Trustee incumbents — Ray Mason, Rudy Martin and Terry Houchens — are running for re-election; and one newcomer, Yolanda Wilhelm, has dropped her hat into the ring.
Wilhelm is employed by Minooka Community High School District 111.
She sees slowed growth and development as a challenge facing the village, she said. While the economy has played a part, she believes trustees should focus on new ways of generating revenue.
“Instead of traveling to other communities for our needs, we need to bring businesses and activities into our community,” Wilhelm said.
Minooka has a “hometown” vibe and a reputation for drawing families to the community to settle, she said.
“Along with my colleagues on the Minooka Village Board, I will work vigorously toward improvements and enhancements benefitting all members of our community,” she said.
Wilhelm’s community involvements include volunteer at St. Ann’s Church, fundraising chair for Chanooka Braves, architectural review board member of Lakewood Trails homeowner’s association, committeewoman of the Aux Sable Township Democratic Party, treasurer of Grundy County Central Democratic committee, Minooka High athletic booster volunteer and member of Channahon/Minooka Chamber of Commerce.
Mason has served as a village trustee for eight years. He has been on ordinance, public works and parks and recreation committees and the Board of Local Improvements.
Additionally, Mason has been on the Minooka Planning and Zoning board and is a member of St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus.
Mason wants to see industrial growth continue in the new Brisbin Road corridor.
“I still feel I have something to contribute to the community and I want to continue helping guide the village in future growth,” Mason said.
Incumbent Rudy Martin has served four years as a village trustee. He has served on the economic development, public safety and ordinance committees.
He is a current board member of the Grundy Economic Development Council, past president and current member of Minooka Lions Club and former board member of Lakewood Trails Homeowner’s Association.
While serving on the village board, Minooka has embarked on a plan which has kept taxes and spending low while maintaining a high level of services to residents, Martin said.
“We have done all this and at the same time managed to bring economic development to Minooka,” he said. “We have established a plan that has broadened our tax base and decreased the burden on our homeowners.”
Martin pointed to 1,000 new jobs in the village, coming from Grainger, Electrolux, Trader Joes, Metal Stamp and many new small businesses.
Some of the village’s challenges — annexing the Brisbin Road industrial area and widening of the Ridge Road railroad overpass — are coming to fruition.
Martin would like to collaborate with local businesses and foundations to start a community youth center in Minooka.
“I feel strongly that providing our youth a place to go with activities as an alternative to getting into trouble is important,” he said.
Houchens has a long record of service with the village, including 16 consecutive years as village trustee, five years on the Parks and Recreation Board, and service on the parks, finance, budget and public safety committees and on the Board of Local Improvements.
Houchens also served as the director of Lions Park for nine years between 1989 and 1997. He is a 25-year member of Minooka Lions Club as former assistant Scoutmaster for Boys Scout Troop 464.
The last four years have been difficult for the village in this economic climate, Houchens said. Minooka has moved forward to lower the tax burden on residents by lowering the tax levy, keeping the budget balanced and securing grants to develop parks.
“I am only one part of the Minooka board,” Houchens said, “but I am extremely proud of the accomplishments we have done in the last four years.”
Houchens sees the challenges facing Minooka as maintaining high services while staying within budget constraints, aggressively pursuing high quality industrial and commercial companies to help all taxing districts and continuing to seek outside resources to fund open space and develop parks.
“I am extremely proud that since I have been on the board we have received well over $1.3 million in grants to develop park and recreational opportunities for the citizens of Minooka,” Houchens said.