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posted: 3/19/2013 5:09 PM

Downtown development, Lake Michigan water keys for Lake Villa, candidates say

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  • Kathy Battistone

    Kathy Battistone

  • James McDonald

    James McDonald

  • Joyce F. Frayer

    Joyce F. Frayer

  • Kevin Kruckeberg

    Kevin Kruckeberg


Candidates running for three, 4-year seats on the Lake Villa village board agree that plans for downtown redevelopment and Lake Michigan water are evolving issues that should benefit the community.

The race features four candidates who may be familiar to many residents and voters.

Incumbents Kathy Battistone, Kevin Kruckeberg and James McDonald are running on the Lake Villa 1st slate. They are joined on the ballot by Joyce Frayer, who served 26 years on the village board, including 12 as mayor.

The following information is from candidate interviews and answers to a Daily Herald questionnaire.

Battistone, a housewife, was elected in 2009 and is seeking a second term. She said continued marketing of the village to new businesses is a priority. The village's revamped website is a "great tool" to do that, she said, by touting the downtown's small-town feel and location near a Metra station.

"The website is key in drawing them in initially," she said.

Meanwhile, the village needs to make sure roads and sidewalks are in shape, zoning is in place and aesthetic improvements are made so the area will be ready for development.

Frayer has been out of office since losing a bid for trustee in 2007. She said she decided to run because she has the time and wants to become involved again. Keeping village finances in order was her top goal.

"I'll do what I want with my money but I won't do that with taxpayers' money," she said.

As for the ongoing downtown plan, Frayer said some property owners have been unwilling to sell, which can impact the development process. She added she was open to the possibility of incentives to spark development.

Kruckeberg, a construction manager, was elected in 2011 to fill an unexpired two-year term. He said downtown redevelopment is "very important" to the village. A grant is being used to study the possibilities and the plan is a work in progress, he said.

Promoting business growth to enhance revenue is McDonald's top issue. The residential property manager has served on the board since 1993 and is seeking a sixth term.

He said a marketing study has been done and a community meeting held. Some sites are shovel-ready but some need stormwater work, he added.

"Hopefully we're ahead of the game by having everything in place," for when the economy improves, he said.

All the candidates agreed bringing Lake Michigan water to the community was needed.

McDonald said neighboring communities already have had wells go dry and Lake Villa has had to dig deep wells. He said customers will pay "a little more" for Lake Michigan water but the quality will be better.

Kruckeberg said village officials are excited about the new water source.

"We're backed into a corner," he said. "Our deep wells are becoming radon contaminated and our shallow wells are drying up." He added that it is expensive to pump and treat well water, and the Lake Michigan water "should not be a major increase in cost," for consumers.

Frayer said getting Lake Michigan water is worth the cost.

"It's going to be costly but it's something that we need," she said.

Battistone said the village is studying the steps involved with bringing Lake Michigan water, including the financing.

"Certainly, there needs to be some education," she said.

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