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Trustee candidates share future visions

March 17, 2009

Germantown trustee candidates discussed their five-year plans for Main Street and Mequon Road, among other topics, during a March 10 forum.

About 20 people gathered for the nearly hourlong forum at Village Hall.

The Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event, which allowed residents to get to know the candidates for all four district seats up for election Tuesday, April 7. The winners will serve three-year terms.

In the 1st District, former Trustee Bill Steitz, 62, and Terri Kaminski, 54, are vying for an open seat; Kaminski was unable to attend the forum because of a work commitment.

In the 2nd District, incumbent James Langer, 50, is facing challenger Daniel Wing, 37.

In the 3rd District, incumbent Al Vanderheiden, 51, faces challenger Dennis Myers, 65.

In the 4th District, Trustee Art Zabel, 59, is running unopposed.

Steitz, a former police officer who represented the 1st District for six years before losing his seat last April, said additional parking could enhance Main Street. The future of Mequon Road should include allowances for better business signs and an overall business-friendly attitude from the village, he said.

Langer, a Plan Commission member who has been a trustee for six years, said he would like to maintain the "quaint" atmosphere on Main Street. A more business-friendly approach could bolster Mequon Road, Langer said.

Wing, also a commissioner, said it would be his goal to eliminate the industrial "steam and smell" that has reduced visibility and otherwise compromised his neighborhood; Wing lives on Main Street.

As for Mequon Road, Wing said he would like to see more small businesses and fewer empty strip malls; a goal he feels could be accomplished by involving businesses in the village's planning process.

Vanderheiden, who worked for seven years as the Village Board camera operator before becoming a trustee six years ago, said additional parking would benefit Main Street businesses. On Mequon Road, Vanderheiden said he would like to see the village capitalize on the existing mix of businesses, churches and retail and grocery stores.

Myers, a retired Milwaukee Public School district teacher, said he hoped Main Street would remain as it is. Reviewing signs restrictions on Mequon Road could entice businesses, Myers said.

Zabel, who served as a trustee and village president for nearly 10 years before rejoining the board in 2006, said finding ways for businesses and residents to better co-exist would be his goal for Main Street. On Mequon Road, Zabel said he would focus on attracting customers to businesses.

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