The Joliet City Council voted to pass the controversial rezoning of 103 acres of land for Northpoint Development on Tuesday night. The vote was an unusual 4-4 tie leading Mayor Bob O’Dekirk to break the gridlock and vote to approve the rezoning of the land located on the south side of Breen Road and one-half mile east of Rowell Avenue in Joliet from residential to light industrial.
Statement to WJOL from Mayor O’Dekirk;
“I campaigned on my record for 4 years of bringing in an unprecedented amount of economic development to Joliet (1.4 billion dollars in private investment in our city). With that we have been able to buy new police cars, new ambulances, new snow plows, expand our street improvement projects and invest 60-million dollars the last three years on new water and sewer mains without raising taxes in Joliet. I saw this development as being another small piece to what is happening in Joliet. I will continue to work with our state federal and county officials to improve the local infrastructure, but I think the recent capital bill which has over 1 billion dollars in road repairs to our city as being proof that we are moving in the right direction.”
The vote among the council saw Larry Hug, Pat Mudron, Sherri Reardon and Jan Quillman voting for the project while Mike Turk, Don Dickinson, Terry Morris and Bettye Gavin voted no. That tie led to Mayor O’Dekirk voting yes. During the voting only Councilman Dickinson gave an explanation for his vote, stating that he did not believe the project was right for the city at this time. A surprising moment came when Councilwoman Quillman’s turn to vote came around and she passed waiting for the rest of the council to finish voting before she made her official position known. After the rest of the council had finished with the vote she then asked the City Clerk what the official count among the council was, and when informed that it was 3 yes votes and 4 no votes then voted for the project. After the vote had concluded the crowd erupted in anger with one person yelling “you will have blood on your hands” while another yelled “you’ll lose in the next election.” It was unclear who the comments were directed at when they were made. When reached for comment by WJOL Councilman Larry Hug cited the Economic Development as his main reason for voting for the project. Councilman Pat Mudron said after the meeting to WJOL “I thought the North Point project for the change in zoning was a good option for Joliet.”
Statement from Councilwoman Jan Quillman:
“I voted for the development because it is different than the other warehouse projects. I did my homework. They will be working with the people that live there. The Mayor from Kansas City had nothing but good things to say about the Northpoint people they do everything they say they will. They gave a power point at pre council. Very impressive.”