As mayoral tenure ends, Lincolnshire's Blomberg preparing for life after politics
Brett Blomberg has never taken a dime for the 22 years he's given the people of Lincolnshire.
Ten years as a trustee. Twelve years as a mayor. All of it as a volunteer.
But the 63-year-old Blomberg didn't get into municipal politics for the money, or for fame, or for any of the other less-than-honorable factors that sometimes lure people to run for office.
For Blomberg, it was all about serving the community and making Lincolnshire a great place to live and work.
"It's been an honor to serve," said Blomberg, who will turn over the gavel to Mayor-elect Liz Brandt at the village board's May 11 meeting. "It's going to be tough to step away, but I think it's the right thing to do."
The Oak Park native and U.S. Navy veteran has been Lincolnshire's mayor since 2003. He opted not to run for a fourth term this year.
Blomberg has lived in Lincolnshire since 1987. This actually is his second stint in town, because his parents moved to the village in 1966.
In between, he lived in Arlington Heights.
Blomberg joined the village board as a trustee in 1993, the same year the current village hall opened. The meeting at which he took the oath of office was the first in the large brick building on Olde Half Day Road.
In the ensuing years, Lincolnshire has blossomed as a community, with corporate centers, a bustling retail corridor along Milwaukee Avenue and schools that are known nationally for excellence.
Village Manager Brad Burke noted that all three of the town's most high-profile retail developments -- City Park, Lincolnshire Commons and Village Green -- came to be during Blomberg's tenure.
"He's really been part of a major transformation of the community," Burke said.
Blomberg won't take credit for any of it.
"A lot of people have pitched in," he said. "It definitely has been a team effort."
Still, when he's asked about his accomplishments and his legacy, there's one project Blomberg is happy to talk about: North Park, the roughly 63-acre compound on Riverwoods Road.
Developed in the late 1990s while Blomberg was a trustee, the park land initially was eyed for a residential development. Instead, the village bought the site, dedicated more than half of it as an Illinois Nature Preserve, and turned the rest into sports fields and other amenities.
"It has become a premier park," Blomberg said. "To put all that together and fight the urge to develop that -- that definitely turned out quite well for us."
Professionally, Blomberg is a mechanical engineer who owns a company, B-3 Building Solutions, that's based in the village. He's also a regional director for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps, a nonprofit program that teaches children and young adults about teamwork, discipline, volunteerism and service.
Blomberg will continue with both of those jobs after his mayoral tenure ends.
"It'll be business as usual," he said. "I think I need to stay focused on work."
Blomberg expects waking up May 12 as a nonelected civilian for the first time in 22 years may be challenging.
"That'll be a little tough, I think, not to be in the thick of it," he said.
Blomberg is confident in Brandt's abilities, however.
"She's very smart," he said of Brandt, a trustee since 2001. "She can see what needs to be done. She anticipates problems ... and comes up with solutions."
Brandt said officials will miss Blomberg on Monday nights when they gather for board meetings.
"He's been a very dedicated (and) committed volunteer for our community," she said. "I think he just loves Lincolnshire."