I have been thinking a lot lately concerning what I as a city council member and citizen would like to see happen in 2018 in Janesville. These are strictly my personal opinions and not listed in order by priority.

Increased exercise and improved health. Janesville has many great bike trails and good walking neighborhoods and parks. Let’s utilize these amenities more fully. Rock County rates very poorly in health surveys statewide. Exercise would be a good step in the right direction to improve our rating and more importantly improve our quality of life.

I have taken up bicycling the last five years and find it to be a great form of exercise. I am very fortunate that I live in a neighborhood that I can walk on sidewalks and ride my bike safely.

I strongly support the participation of the city in the building of pickleball courts and other recreational facilities. We need activities for citizens of all ages.

We also need to be very proactive in solving the opioid epidemic. This will require a strong community effort.

More high technology and food manufacturing companies. A diverse economy is an asset. We are moving in that direction, but we should try to attract other high-tech companies, such as SHINE, to come to Janesville.

We need to make sure we have the skilled workforce to staff these companies. The city invested in a fairly costly pretreatment facility a few years ago to give an incentive to Seneca Foods. I fully supported this, but this facility was built with the idea of getting additional food processors here to use this facility. This has not happened.

I also would like to see more high-tech startup companies in Janesville.

More support for small businesses by the city and citizens. I have talked to many startup business owners that feel our permitting process is too unwieldy. We should work to simplify ordinances and do a better job communicating ordinances to small business owners. We have inactive tax increment finance districts in commercial zones, such as the Milton Avenue and Mt. Zion area.

We need to encourage economic development on the south side. We need to try to encourage more development in these areas. We need to encourage small businesses and provide mentoring for startups. Small businesses have not been totally forgotten by our city, but I believe we all can do more to help these businesses succeed.

Shopping locally is a good start. I have never had a bad customer service experience by a local business.

Increased level of maintenance of properties. I supported the approval of ordinances in 2017 for increased inspections. We as homeowners and landlords need to make sure we maintain our property.

We have also have the right and responsibility to report properties with vehicles parked on lawns, overgrown grass and other poor maintenance to our city neighborhood services.

Uncared-for properties are not benefits in attracting families and businesses to live here or to maintaining property values.

Jim Farrell is a member of the Janesville City Council.

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