PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Ahead of Peoria’s primary elections next week, WMBD’s continuing its coverage of the First District city council candidates.
Denise Jackson, an educator and former television reporter said she’s seeking the seat to bring structural change to the district.
Jackson is a native of Peoria, growing up on the southside, she said she’s witnessed the good as well as the district’s economic demise. She said the southside has seen years of disinvestment and she’s hoping to revamp it.
“We have some of the worst roads in the city of Peoria and we also have more vacant lots than any neighborhood in the city of Peoria and I’m talking about more than 200,” Jackson said.
She said in addition to focusing on the district’s infrastructure, she wants to help bring new affordable housing to the district and improve the area’s safety aspect. Jackson said there are areas on the southside that are so dark it’s scary to walk outside at night.
“That’s why I’m running for the First District city council,” Jackson said. “People that I’ve talked to have been waiting to see these changes.”
Jackson said, if elected, she has a three-step action plan that she will immediately start working on. This plan includes tackling safety, stormwater runoff, and illegal dumping.
“We can use Tax Increment Financing dollars, also known as TIF dollars, to help upgrade and put street lights in the areas where they’re out or there aren’t any,” Jackson said. “For the people who don’t live in the TIF district, we can use grant funds like Ameren Illinois Alley Lighting program.”
She mentioned creating rain gardens to help soak up the excess stormwater overflow and beautify the community. She also proposed implementing warning signs and cameras in certain hot spots to fix the illegal dumping problem.
“I have vested interest in seeing my community redeveloped and we owe it to the children and the families that live in the First District, we owe it to leave them a better community than what they currently have,” Jackson said.
Jackson said she’s already been speaking with groups and formulating preliminary committees and they’re ready to get to work.
Illinois voter registration information, including polling locations, can be found here.