Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Previous political experience: None
Previous community experience:
Currently serving as an appointed commissioner and co-chairperson for the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Commission. I have been an active volunteer in our community, volunteering for Project N.I.C.E, Adopt-A-Spot, coaching Greater La Grange YMCA Sports, Chicago Sunday Baseball League and Managing teams in Brookfield Little League Baseball and Softball. I have served on the Faith Lutheran Church council including the Vice President and Facilities Maintenance chairs and volunteered with the Share Food Share Love food pantry located at Faith Lutheran in Brookfield.
Current: Senior Member Technical Staff Corporate Engineering Security and Compliance at Verizon. Previous: Electronics Technician U.S. Navy.
Technical Schools – Naval Basic and Advanced Electronics and Electricity, UHF Satellite Communications repair AN/WSC-3(V), Naval Modular Analog CommunicationsAN/NAVMACS(V2,V3), Naval UHF DAMA Satellite Mulitplexer/DeMultiplexer Repair.
What should the village board’s role be in promoting economic development? What are the best tools for doing so and what else can the village board to help recruit new businesses and maintain the ones already here?
The Board should continue to evaluate recommendations and set policy in order to establish a long term sustainable economy. The Village has done a good job thus far with the establishment of TIF districts, a storefront improvement program and the street improvement referendum. The board must actively manage the existing TIF districts and provide information on how these benefit Brookfield. I would like to look into expanding the Planning and Zoning commission or creating an Economic Development Commission so we may leverage the talented residents in Brookfield. Their responsibilities would include:
- Advise the board on the impact existing and future developments would have on the community and its economy
- Continue to hear matters and make recommendations concerning land use and zoning in Brookfield
- Establish and maintain relationships with current business and the chamber of commerce thus identifying strategies to retain businesses and improve the marketability of Brookfield
- Coordinate an economic development outreach program
Development along 47th Street in McCook has produced a recreation complex, including The Max and a new aquatics center that draws thousands of families each year? Is there any way Brookfield can leverage that traffic on its side of the border?
The Parks and Recreation Commission is currently investigating opportunities with the new aquatics center to extend benefits for Brookfield residents. The real question is how to market Brookfield. We have several nearby areas including the Zoo where we want to draw visitors. Brookfield was recently featured in Crain’s Chicago Business as one of top five suburbs in home sales. This is occurring for Brookfield has become a very attractive place to live. Forward progress in Brookfield has brought Brookfield in the forefront as we see in Crain’s. This type of positive attention and focus leads to more visitors to Brookfield as proven by our steady rise in new families choosing Brookfield as their home. We can definitely add to this with an advertising campaign to target those visitors who arrive via public transportation. It is all tied together: positive perception, growth and economic success.
For the past several years, the village has focused on addressing flooding through a new storm water management ordinance, a village program reimbursing residents for costs of home flood-control systems and the construction of a pump station at Washington and Forest. How have those efforts succeeded and should anything else be done?
I believe this has been successful and the current village board has laid down the ground work for moving forward with storm water control. They have created several green projects for the distribution of flood waters. The permeable pavers, bio-swales and detention basins are a great start. The village also enacted a rain barrel program which contributes to storm water management. They distributed over $68k worth of barrels at no cost to the village or its residents. We can continue down this path exploring green alternatives for long term flood control options.
The village in 2016 was successful in passing a referendum to address road improvements during the next decade. The village’s alleys, meanwhile continue to be a constant source of complaints from residents. What can be done to address alley improvements? Is there a better way to do it aside from the present petition system?
The Village just passed $23M on upgrading the streets in Brookfield. The Village researched the cost of upgrading the alleys without the petition system and the cost was close to $45M. This is too much of a burden to ask residents to take on. With this said, there have beenstrides in other cities and towns where green alleys have seen some success and they have been able to fund some via various grants. Not only could this help our alleys but also contribute to storm water management.
Are there areas where the village could be providing better service to residents? How?
There are always improvements which can be implemented in regards to communications and transparency. I believe we should look into the ability to broadcast all village board/commission meetings.
What other issues do you feel will be important for the next village board to address? How should they be addressed?
The village board has accomplished a lot over the last 4 years. I believe sometimes the full story can be lost and the details misrepresented. I cannot stress how important transparency is. Whether we broadcast meetings or entertain more town hall discussions, we need to improve the communications flow in Brookfield.