Endorsement: Lentz for Mundelein mayor
The race for Mundelein mayor is a four-way contest among veteran elected officials.
Steve Lentz seeks a third term, and faces formidable challenges from longtime trustees Dawn Abernathy and Robin Meier, and Mundelein High School District 120 Vice President Thomas Ouimet. All bring a wealth of experience in shaping the community.
The mayor's job is about leadership, and Lentz has shown that in qualifying for another term.
He worked with the village board and administration to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Steps included: blocking off part of Park Street for restaurants to offer outdoor dining, a program to be extended to 2021; earmarking federal funds for local restaurateurs and tavern owners buying gear for winter outdoor dining; splitting work shifts and upgrading air filtration systems in village buildings to protect employees; and posting weekly videos to update residents.
Under Lentz, the village responded to devastating flooding in 2017 with a $10 million flood-control effort.
Downtown redevelopment is a work in progress interrupted by the pandemic, but residential projects have been added or in the works in a push to de-industrialize downtown.
Abernathy and Meier have stressed fiscal responsibility and criticized Lentz on spending issues, notably the decision to buy and demolish eyesore buildings near Diamond Lake to make way for a new park since scuttled by the board. Ouimet said he offers a fresh perspective.
Challenges ahead include operating in the post-COVID world and heading a village board with three rookie trustees.
Lentz is the right person to meet those challenges and others. He is endorsed.