Poised to take the development bull by the horns, Lakemoor has hired a planning professional with close ties to the community to take it to the next level.
Matt Dabrowski not only lives in town but is a village trustee. He becomes Lakemoor's first director of community and economic development.
"It's an exciting opportunity to be able to master plan and see the community grow from the ground up," said Dabrowski, who moved to Lakemoor in 2001.
Site selection, planning and design for a municipal building will be a priority, he said. Updating the village codes, extending sewer and water lines to the busy Route 12/120 intersection and developing a Town Center also will be areas of focus, he added.
The position, which was officially created two weeks ago, was not advertised. But officials said Dabrowski's expertise as a development planner with the village of Arlington Heights the past 14 years, and his knowledge and involvement in the Lakemoor made it a logical choice.
"With his experience and education and commitment to the community, it's a shoe in. It totally makes sense," Village Administrator David Alarcon said. The new position pays $85,000 a year.
"I don't think you'll ever find anybody who will work harder," Mayor Todd Weihofen said. The village received a legal opinion in advance of making Dabrowski an offer, he added.
Dabrowski, 42, was elected to the village board in 2011 and has two years left on his term. He said he'll resign after the July 11 meeting. Candidates to fill the unexpired term will be sought, Weihofen said.
Officials say they have been laying the groundwork to be ready when opportunities present themselves to the village of 6,017, and also want to actively court new businesses. One action involved a yearlong collaboration with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning that produced a revised comprehensive plan, a process in which Dabrowski was closely involved.
The description of the new position lists 14 "essential duties" and requires a minimum of 10 years in planning, building and zoning code interpretation and economic development. Dabrowski also served as a planner in Bolingbrook for three years.
The village had been contracting for planning service. Dabrowski was given time to wrap up work in Arlington Heights and will start full-time in Lakemoor on Aug. 5.
As director, he will be "wearing a lot of hats", according to Alarcon, including actively selling the community to developers.
Key areas include the four corners at the intersection of routes 12 and 120. Seventy-four acres at the southwest corner, for example, is being offered for sale or lease.
"The goal is to make sure we have a strong tax base so we can continue to improve," Weihofen said.