ROSCOE TOWNSHIP—A slate of candidates known as the Roscoe Independents, led by Trustee Bob Nowicki who is running for supervisor, are vying against the Right for Roscoe candidates led by Republican Ryan Rydell who is running for supervisor.
Highlights of the race
Township Trustee Bob Nowicki (Independent) is running for Supervisor against Republican Ryan Rydell.
Township Clerk Gary Blascoe (Independent) is running for re-election against Republican Shelly Taylor.
Township Highway Commissioner Steve Schrier (Independent) is running for re-election against Republican Greg Ragan.
Township Trustees Elizabeth Lindquist and Pat Henderson are running as Independents alongside Phil Rhymer and Chuck Gilbert.
Republican Trustee candidates are Steve Connell, Irene Frazier, Scott Sallinger and Joseph Zammuto.
Township Assessor Cynthia Servant, a Republican, is running unopposed.
All Township elected officials are up for reelection every four years.
The two sides have their respective online presences – the independents website at RoscoeIndependents.com and the Right for Roscoe Facebook page.
Roscoe Independents interviewed—Nowicki, Trustee Elizabeth Lindquist and newcomer Chuck Gilbert—said they hope to continue what they consider the independents’ fiscal responsibility, transparency and development of the Founders Park property including the construction of a community center with money saved up for the project. However, Right to Roscoe Supervisor candidate Ryan Rydell said his slate wants to cut taxes in innovative ways and are against township taxpayers building or supporting what he considers an unnecessary community center or further development on the Founders Park site.
The independents said they have decreased Township and Road District property tax rates every year for the past two years, with Roscoe Township accounting for 3% of the property tax bill.
They also said they worked to have the township take over scheduling games at Cross Park in 2018 so they would be adequately spread out to make for sufficient parking and good traffic flow. The independents said people are happy with the arrangement presenting a statement of support for the field reservation process by the Stateline Sports Group.
Lindquist noted the independents have not taken pensions from the township, saving the township $50,000 over the last four years. If re-elected, the independents said they will continue to eliminate pensions for township elected officials.
The Roscoe Township Board, led by the independents, purchased the Robert J. Cross Homestead in December of 2018 and established the Founders Park development with the purchase of 17 acres and historic home for $277,000. The first step is to build a community center with existing savings. Once sufficient grant funds are obtained, they hope to develop the area including having space for a farmers market, pavilion with seating, vendor area for outdoor events, walking paths and community gardens.
On Tuesday, the Township was awarded a grant of $704,000 made available through the Park and Recreational Facility Construction Act (PARC) grant program, part of the governor’s Rebuild Illinois Capital Campaign. Funds will be used for a pavilion on the site.
To increase transparency, the independents started a website, Facebook page and have publicized meetings and say they have created a welcoming atmosphere with hearty yet respectful debate.
Gilbert said most independents are longtime Roscoe township residents, noting Rydell has just moved into the township.
The independents say they are a mix of Democrats and Republicans who work well together and don’t allow national politics to cause any divide.
Nowicki, who has been a trustee for 14 months, ran the Roscoe True Value Hardware store for 12 years and now runs a mini storage business.
Rydell, who is also president of Stateline Baseball, said people are not happy with the township scheduling sports.
“Prior to the current regime, there was a 99-year long agreement with non-profit community based programs so taxpaying families had access when they needed it,” he said.
If elected as supervisor, Rydell said he would reach out to all the entities and see how they can best be served and work to rebuild relationships damaged after the township took over scheduling.
Rydell said Right for Roscoe’s primary focus is to be smart money managers, decreasing taxes by 5%.
He said legal expenses would decrease with a more knowledgeable board and there would be more staffing efficiencies. The supervisor’s assistant job with a salary of $10,800 a year would immediately be removed. The Republicans are in communication with surrounding municipalities to find ways to improve buying power to save money.
Rydell said spending would only increase if a community center is built and the remainder of Founders Park is developed.
“Fix the roads and commit this area to what it’s known for, good recreation and not wasting money on a community building,” he said.
Although Rydell disagreed with the purchase of the Cross Homestead, he said it’s already done and he will remain committed to working with volunteers and the Roscoe Historical Society to make sure it’s a good asset for the community.
However, building the community center would not happen under his watch. He said it would take away business from other businesses in the area and there is no evidence the township ever wanted it.
“Who is going to manage it, and how much is it going to cost? You would have to raise taxes,” he said.
Rydell said his group are Republicans who have conservative values with strong support from the Republican Party. He said 78% of Roscoe Township are Republicans, who want smart money management, roads fixed, quality recreation and improved relationships with local municipalities. He said the independents don’t get along with each other as well as they say, often having heated arguments at meetings.
Rydell has lived in the Stateline Area for 11 years. He’s owned a home in Roscoe township since 2017 and runs a marketing agency Rycom.