Election Preview: Oak Creek Common Council (1st District)
Incumbent Alderman Dan Jakubczyk faces challenger Steven Kurkowski in the April 2 general election.
Voters in Oak Creek's 1st Aldermanic District will head to the polls April 2 in the city's only contested aldermanic race.
The 1st District encompasses the northeastern part of the city, with borders of roughly College Avenue on the north, Pennsylvania Avenue on the east, Interstate 94 on the west and Forest Hill Avenue on the south. Click here for a map.
To provide residents with the most information on where they stand on the issues facing the city, Oak Creek Patch asked the candidates questions about key issues in the race.
|Why are you running for alderman?|
|Dan Jakubczyk||Since moving to Oak Creek, I have seen Oak Creek grow from a population of 15,000 to over 34,000. When I first took office, the city controller took me for a tour of the existing city hall. He explained all the problems with the existing structure. He told me it was a question of what kind of structure we were going to have and where it was going to be built. I asked about expanding the current structure. He told me it was built in the early 1960s and was not designed to be expanded. At that time the city was involved with Wispark about a partnership in building on the old Delphi property. After hearing about the benefits to city in added jobs and tax revenue, I became more interested in this plan.
I would like to see the Drexel Town Square to completion.
|Steven Kurkowski||I am unhappy with the almost 100% "yes" voting record of my current Alderman. Many times, I feel, he should have voted no or asked more in-depth or relevant questions before just siding with the majority/previous mayor and voting yes, especially when it came to decisions for the Drexel Town Square project. One "no" vote he did cast, however, was against the city paying their share of the Drexel Ave. interchange...he was the only no vote, yet he voted yes on everything related to the biggest development project in recent Oak Creek history - that would desperately be affected by that freeway interchange.|
|What is the biggest issue facing the city, and how would you deal with it, if elected?|
|Dan Jakubczyk||The city is going to continue to expand regardless of what some people would like. Oak Creek is one of two municipalities in Milwaukee County that has room for expansion. The future is bright if we follow the current expansion plans. I believe we are not so much doing this for the current generation. We can do this for our children and grandchildren. I believe that ten years from now the future generation will look back on what we did at the Drexel Town Square and compliment us for our foresight. We still need to go into partnership with industry in our expansion.|
|Steven Kurkowski||The biggest issue is the Drexel Town Square plans. We need to stop the train...we need to show more details to the citizens to let them see how and why this is so important to the city. When it comes to the buildings, all we've seen are drawings, no floor plans, and certainly no list of who the developers have talked to or who might be interested in moving there....until Meijer came in and saved their butts.|
|What do you think of the proposed Drexel Town Square plans, including Meijer as the anchor of the site?
|Dan Jakubczyk||This is a golden opportunity for Oak Creek to grow in size and stature. I believe in ten years this going to be the crowning jewel of Oak Creek. There exists the ability for the city to add to its tax base and to create over 1,000 jobs in the process. Some people wanted us build on the current site. A city hall on that site would not contribute to the tax base. The opportunity to go into a pact with Wispark could not be passed up. As far as having Meijer as the anchor for that cite, other people who rely on that believe it is a good idea. My daughter who lives in Normal, Illinois, speaks highly of the store by her.|
|Steven Kurkowski||Meijer was the developers' "knight in shining armor" because they had nothing beforehand. I want to see detailed floor plans for city hall, the library, the apartments, the small offices, before this project moves any further. I am not happy with the lack of detailed information that my alderman has asked for but has wholeheartedly supported. I'm afraid it will be built and will be mostly empty...not like Oak Creek doesn't have recently built office buildings with empty spaces.
Before Meijer, the developers had NOTHING. Meijer is a nice alternative, and while many may not like the idea, thinking the area is already saturated with similar stores, Meijer has all that anyone could want, more that other nearby stores, and it is not a WAL-MART! Had Meijer not shown an interest in building there, the entire project would be on shaky grounds, and my alderman would just push forward without any plans or ideas.
Meijer will be a nice addition to the stores already in the area. I believe Meijer will bring in occupants to the other offices if built (don't hang your hat on medical offices - need to think about other types), and will play a big role in helping fill the proposed apartments - which are not planned as low-income/subsidized, but market-rate apartments.
|Where should lakefront redevelopment be on the city's priority list?
|Dan Jakubczyk||Since the lakefront is not in my district, I mostly relied on those people that will benefit from redevelopment for beliefs on how the expansion should continue. If you look at eastern Wisconsin from Racine to Fox Point, Oak Creek is the only municipality on the lakefront that has not taken advantage of the benefits in redeveloping this area. The way it was explained to us is we are not taking advantage of what could be extremely beneficial to the city in the future. I believe this development can only be good for the city and the future generations.|
|Steven Kurkowski||Two separate parts of the city, two separate needs, equally as important at the Drexel Town Square project. But I want detailed plans, not speculations and empty dreams like what we are being handed for the Drexel Town Square project.|