FOX POINT - The two Fox Point trustee candidates elected to the village board in April will take on at least two major issues: a potential renovation of Fox Point Pool and The Mandel Group's Dunwood Commons proposal.
Incumbent trustees Christine Symchych and Terry McGauran are hoping to retain their seats on the board, but they are being challenged by newcomers Greg Ollman and Lorry Rifkin.
To understand how these candidates would tackle these two major issues as well as others, North Shore Now asked the candidates to answer the following questions in 50 words or less.
Why are you running for village board?
Ollman: I want to make board actions transparent and responsive by allowing residents to be heard and responding to their concerns. In the last three years, incumbents have rarely responded to questions or concerns of residents. I will be a trustee who listens and finds answers.
McGauran: Retirement brings time for reflection, and I decided it might be fun and fulfilling to give back to the community. It has been all that, and more. I serve with an open mind, a willingness to listen, contribute, and always be mindful of citizen concerns and the village mission.
Rifkin: The lack of transparency, waste, hidden agendas and failure to communicate by the board on the future of this village. One example is the $15,000 wasted on the small area study. Trustees West, Frazer, Symchych and McGauran refused to vote on a desired option for the three redevelopment areas, resulting in no direction.
Symchych: My experience as a municipal planner, six-year incumbent, and chair of numerous committees makes me uniquely qualified to continue being trustee. We have several major issues that we need to address. Reasoned and seasoned is the skill set we need to ensure sound process moving forward.
A committee is researching solutions for the aging Fox Point Pool. Do you think the village government should be in the pool business, and would you support renovations to make the pool more profitable?
Ollman: Surveys will be sent out to all residents about the pool’s future. This asset makes Fox Point unique among North Shore communities. I support keeping the pool for the future of Fox Point residents. We will need to be creative in finding new ways to support its maintenance and improvement.
McGauran: The Fox Point Pool served the community well for almost 50 years. This important village amenity needs to be preserved. A committee has been appointed and charged with identifying alternatives for offering a viable self-supporting entity, and with exploring alternative financing through private fundraising.
Rifkin: Fox Point should support village amenities like a pool, if enough residents want it. If rebuilt, design it to attract the maximum amount of usage. A fair fee for its use should be charged, to help offset some of the capital and operating costs.
Symchych: Yes, I would support more profitability. I am proud that as vice-chair of the committee I got the pool taken on as a free client by UWM graduate students as their masters in urban planning capstone for public policy analysis — the first step towards finding the solution that is right for the village.
Do you support The Mandel Group’s proposal to build 105 luxury apartments, a 80-unit memory care facility, a clubhouse and a community park on the former Dunwood School property? What will guide your decision going forward?
Ollman: The village has not received a final proposal from the developer. There are questions and concerns that will come out in forums, planning commission and village board discussions. When a final proposal is submitted and public hearings are held, I will weigh the options and decide my position.
McGauran: I neither oppose nor support this particular proposal, but rather support the process, now in motion with pre-plan commission meeting held on March 6. Proposals of this nature must be carefully considered and weighed, in regards to all citizen commentary, and in meeting all tests and requirements contained within our village code.
Rifkin: I will support developments incorporating attributes such as all-underground parking, berms, landscaping residents' lots and other measures that will help meet the village code's requirement to maintain "quiet, attractive, semi-rural living, and which will preserve the established residential values of existing development in the immediate neighborhood."
Symchych: The board acts in a quasi-judicial manner for any zoning change and as such needs to hear both the presentation and public comment before rendering an opinion. Both aspects will have enormous impact on what would guide my decision. I encourage citizen input and I expect a lively conversation!
Occupation: Retired deputy sheriff, 32 years, Milwaukee County
Education: Associate degree in criminal justice, MATC
Political History: None
Address: 308 E. Willow Road
Occupation: I retired in December 2010 after 44 years with Johnson Controls in Milwaukee.
Education: BS in economics from Bradley University.
Political experience: Village trustee since April 2014
Facebook: Terry McGauran for Fox Point Trustee
Address: 7821 N. Mohawk Road
Occupation: Financial and operational improvement consultant
Education: University of Illinois undergraduate finance degree; graduate masters in accounting degree; CPA
Political history: None
Phone number: 414-702-6845
Twitter handle: @LorryRifkin
Email address: Lorry@rifkinclan.com
Facebook: Lorry Rifkin for Fox Point Trustee
Address: 7240 N. Barnett Lane
Occupation: Municipal planner
Education: B.A. art history, Carleton College; master of architecture and master of urban planning, UWM
Political history: Six-year incumbent; chair of multiple village committees
Phone number: 414-403-7729
Email address: Christineforfoxpoint@gmail.com
Facebook: Christine Symchych for Fox Point