VILLAGE OF ELM GROVE - Four candidates but three seats.
When the votes are all counted April 4, one hopeful public servant will be left without the means to fulfill that aspiration as a part of the Elm Grove board of trustees.
Incumbent trustees Thomas Michalski, Patty Kujawa and Katy Cornell will be joined by Jim Koleski on next month's ballot.
If elected, what is your vision for Elm Grove over the next few years? Would you like to see noticeable growth, or do you want things to stay the same for the most part?
MICHALSKI: Both. We can grow the village center, by responsibly developing the Reinders property and daylight the creek under the Park & Shop parking lot. Making our downtown area desirable for business and a destination for our residents to enjoy a walk or bike ride while keeping the small town feel.
KUJAWA: We need to continue moving forward while not forgetting who we are. We all work together to make this village special. I’d like to continue with new events that bring us together like The Village Market Nights and Oktoberfest. The more we involve residents, the better our village becomes.
CORNELL: I believe that downtown development is of the utmost importance. It will ensure that our community continues to thrive and be a wonderful place to live and raise a family. At the same time, development must be carefully considered so as to maintain and preserve the essence of our community.
KOLESKI: I will encourage community engagement to be further embraced by the Board of Trustees, opening up dialogue so that all voices are heard before decisions are made that impact Elm Grove residents. I want to see measured growth, with density and projects aligned with a long-term vision for the community.
It has been plenty talked about that the village does not lack for people willing to step up and volunteer their time, whether it be through the government or other means. What makes you want to take on this purely-volunteer position?
MICHALSKI: In addition to being a trustee for the past six years, I’m also a firefighter in Elm Grove’s Volunteer FD, serving for the past 11 years. I was raised to give back to the community and I get a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction by serving my friends and neighbors.
KUJAWA: My husband Joe and I are volunteer people, having worked on several boards and committees. For us, volunteering helps strengthen our community. I have always been interested in government and feel the trustee position aligns my interests with my strong desire to give back to our village.
CORNELL: My passion for our community is why I should be elected. I was raised in Elm Grove. I believe I am a true representative of many women and mothers in this community. I can’t think of greater work to be part of than continuing to make our Village great.
KOLESKI: I want to use my skills to secure a bright future for my neighbors and for the future generations of Elm Grove residents who will come to love this community as much as I do. I am volunteering because I want to give Elm Grove a choice for this election.
Wangard Partners recently withdrew their plans for a large-scale redevelopment project at the Reinders property. What were your thoughts on that project and its withdrawal?
MICHALSKI: It is regrettable Wangard did not wish to continue working with the village. While the process is slow, I am reminded of the Watermark’s condo project that went through a similar process. What resulted is a pride to the village and a testament to the fact that the process works.
KUJAWA: I’m excited about the potential for the Reinders property. I had some concerns about the specifics of the project, but am hopeful that the right fit will come along. The ad hoc committee did a great job and has given the village a solid road map when considering future proposals.
CORNELL: I believe that development must be carefully considered. The proposal was just not quite right for the village. There were portions of the proposal that would have been wonderful additions to our downtown. That being said, there were also design details that did not preserve the essence of our community.
KOLESKI: Public records show I was against the original proposal; the density and the height of the development was not the right mix for that area. I am not opposed to development – I’m in favor of responsible, sustainable development that will benefit all of Elm Grove today and for the long-term.
Address: 1785 Wedgewood Drive East
Political History: Elm Grove village trustee, 2011 to present, Waukesha County supervisor (District 8) 2016 to present
Phone Number: 262-641-9202
Address: 1685 Lindhurst Drive
Political history: Village trustee since 2011. Current committees: Recreation (chair); Finance and Licensing; Library Board (liaison). Past committees: Public Safety; Public Works; Elm Grove Foundation Committee (liaison); Administrative and Personnel. All village board members sit on the Board of Review
Phone number: 414-331-7720
Address: 835 Morningside Lane
Political history: N/A
Phone Number: 262-391-4044
Address: 940 Katherine Drive
Political history: Has not run for political office previously
Phone number: 262-923-7450