Lifelong Benld Resident, Lindsay Bearden, 35, is challenging current Benld Mayor Jim Kelly in the upcoming consolidated election scheduled for April 6. Lindsay is the daughter of Kent and Nancy Bearden of Benld.
Kelly, who was alderman of Ward 3 at the time, was appointed mayor of Benld in September 2016 succeeding Gloria Sidar who resigned her position. Kelly was re-elected to the mayor seat in the 2017 election after running unopposed.
Bearden describes herself as a “newcomer to public office” in her press release. She has been working for Blue Cross Blue Shield for the last 15 years. As an appeals specialist, she works from her home in Benld where she also raises her 13-year-old daughter, Ceanna.
Her priorities for Benld include revitalizing the city’s veteran’s park, developing the vacant land once home to the Benld Elementary School, luring businesses to Benld by creating a revolving loan fund, explore creating a district along Central Avenue to revitalize downtown, and utilizing the manpower of the maintenance department to its full capacity.
“The years of neglect [Veteran’s Park] has endured is unacceptable. I live across the street from Veteran’s park and nothing has been improved or updated there since I moved near it. Not only do we owe it to our kids and community, we owe it to our veterans,” Bearden commented.
She plans to work with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Captial Development Board, private sponsors, and Anthony Kravanya to develop the old school property.
Bearden would like to make a revolving loan fund to provide loans to qualified potential businesses with a portion of the $250,000 class-action settlement the city received years ago. She also wants to explore revitalizing downtown but acknowledged it’s going to cost money to accomplish everything.
“Granted, these things are going to cost the city money; however, if we continue to do what we always have done, we will get what we always have got,” Bearden justified.
As for the maintenance department, she said she plans to make a plan for the maintenance department to make Benld look better and said she will work closely with the Laborer’s International Union of North America Local #338 to accomplish those tasks and goals within the department.
“We have a hardworking 3-manned, year-round, union-waged maintenance department; however, under my leadership and guidance I will ensure tasks are met and goals are accomplished,” she added. “It does not cost much to make things look nice. I believe potential businesses will take notice and decide to invest in our community.”
Bearden said she looks forward to speaking with Benld residents about city issues in the coming months.
The election for Benld Mayor will take place on April 6, 2021, at the Benld Civic Center from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Or you can request a vote by mail ballot by calling the County Clerk’s office at 217-854-3214 or go to https://www.macoupinvotes.com/voter-information/voting-by-mail/online-vote-by-mail-application/ to apply directly online to have a ballot mailed to you.