They also discussed whether Rockford should take advantage of the Interstate 90 tollway expansion by investing more in the area around this road to riches.
Small business owner and republican candidate Michael Kleen believes Rockford has been too focused on downtown development.
"There's been a lot of money that's been spent on economic development downtown while the rest of the city areas seem to be ignored," said Kleen during his interview.
Winnebago County Director of Development and democratic candidate for Rockford mayor, Jim Hughes, pointed out the success of Perryville Road.
"$30 million in revenue coming in off that because of one road," said Hughes who wants the city to expand Perryville Road as a revenue generator. Hughes also raised the idea that should a casino ever come to Rockford, it should not be be built near the river.
Rockford's current mayor Larry Morrissey argued in his intervew, the city pushed hard for tollway expansion.
"Myself I don't remember any other mayors around this area lobbying with me in the tollway authority board meetings for the expansion of I-90," said the mayor during his radio interview.
Morrissey added the city is working to reap the rewards. For example, they're looking at a Spring Creek interchange on the tollway to allow greater access to the city. However, they're still trying to value engineer the project to make sure they have something financially feasible.
The mayor believes investing in downtown in still critical to making Rockford an attractive city.
Kleen said development hinges first on crime.
"We have to get this crime problem under control and we've got to do something about reviving our economic prospects because what we've been doing has not been working," said Kleen.
Hughes however thinks the efforts are wasted if the city doesn't do more to become a transportation center.
"I think it's very important we conenct ourselves with the Rochelle hub and building that rail to the airport to ship goods out. That again will create thousands of jobs. Those are things we should be doing and putting money into our infrastructure," said Hughes.
The three candidates will face off for Rockford mayor in April.