RIVER HILLS - A developer's informal presentation pitching luxury apartments on Brown Deer Road has certainly sparked conversations in River Hills.
Village officials are discouraged from pre-judging such development projects, especially because no paperwork has been submitted to the village at this time. But that has not stopped apartments from becoming a campaign issue in the upcoming village trustee election.
Incumbent trustees Kurt Glaisner and Willard T. Walker, Jr. are seeking re-election to the board, and political newcomers Ashok Kumar and Elfriede Engling are hoping to join the board for the first time. Voters will choose two of the four candidates to represent them in the April 4 election.
To help inform voters about the candidates, North Shore Now asked them to answer the following three questions in 50 words or less.
Why are you running for the River Hills Village Board?
Glaisner: I am seeking re-election to offer my 30 years of experience as a former successful small business owner. Our village operations, budgeting, HR, capital expenditures and future planning have much in common with running a small business. As president of the North Shore Library Board, I believe our library is a community asset that has been sadly neglected. My re-election will allow me to continue to serve River Hills in these capacities.
Walker: I am running for re-election because I enjoy serving the community and believe my 27 years of business experience and my background in law has enabled me to make a unique and worthwhile contribution. I want to do my part to keep River Hills a great community.
Engling: I'm retired. I have time to devote to village decisions or problem solving.
Kumar: To actively participate in the governing of the village
What do you think is the most important issue facing the River Hills Board, and what do you think should be done to address that issue?
Glaisner: Our 80-year-old Range Line Road bridge reconstruction is the village's most pressing capital improvement. The initial DOT-approved design estimates were grossly underestimated and the village is pursuing other approaches. Additionally, debt management is an ever-present concern of the board. Potential interest rate increases will be continually monitored.
Walker: Since becoming a village trustee in 2011, my objective has been to protect, preserve and enhance our unique and special community. With that objective in mind, we are always focused on the big issues of controlling taxes, public safety, and preserving our environment. All of these issues are important.
Engling: Try to keep the village as is, but address improvements. Discreet commercial buildings are OK. No apartments or high-rise buildings. Residents are very happy here and very private.
Kumar: Communication with the residents of the village so that in a timely fashion they can give input. Respond properly to the questions and concerns of the residents in timely fashion. To improve and preserve the village and work with the county supervisor.
Do you support the construction of apartment buildings in River Hills?
Glaisner: No apartment buildings projects have been presented to any board in River Hills during my term. The recent Mandel proposal presented to concerned River Hills citizens has generated mostly negative comments. I view my role as trustee is to reflect the views of our community and I appreciate input and support on any topic as they arise.
Walker: No proposal to construct apartment buildings in River Hills has been submitted to the village board. If a proposal is submitted, we will initiate a transparent process of public review that will afford every village resident an opportunity to be heard. The village board will listen to residents.
Kumar: I do not believe in the construction of apartments in any part of the entire village. We need to preserve and protect the last oasis and bastion of peace, rustic and tranquil area close to the urban chaos.
Address: 945 W Calumet Road
Political History: First term River Hills trustee
Willard T. Walker, Jr.
Address: 2400 West Fairy Chasm Road
Occupation: Chief Executive Officer, Walker Forge, Inc.
Education: Bachelor of Arts (Economics) University of Wisconsin – Madison; Juris Doctor, Northwestern University School of Law
Political history: Village of River Hills Trustee (2011-2017)
Phone number: 262-331-3110
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 1201 W. Brown Deer Road
Education: Two years of high school
Political history: None
Phone number: 414-352-8371
Address:1440 W. Dean Road
Occupation: Vascular surgeon
Political history: University School of Milwaukee board of trustees, 9 years
Phone number: 414-352-9005