Meet the Candidate: Lawrence Steingold
Editor's note --This is the eighth in a series of profiles of candidates for Buffalo Grove Village Board positions. Candidates for Village Trustee will be featured first followed by candidates for Village President. All candidates received the same questionnaire. Their answers appear verbatim without any added editorial comments or interpretation. This is done so readers can read direct answers from each candidate. Profiles will be posted in alphabetical order.
--- Stan Zoller, Content Coordinator, Buffalo Grove News and Information.
Village Board Trustee
How long have you lived in Buffalo Grove?
Please provide brief background information.
I live in Buffalo Grove with my wife Eva, our three daughters, and dog Gizmo. I have a degree in Biochemistry (Indiana U.), master’s in chemistry (Washington U., in St. Louis), and Law Degree (Chicago Kent College of Law). I have been a practicing attorney for close to 16 years, Prior to law school, I was a nuclear chemist. Currently, as an attorney, I negotiate and deal with retail property development on a daily basis, including leases and build out of properties. In my free time, I tutor high school students in Chemistry, Physics, Math, Biology, ACT and SAT.
Have you served on a village committee or commission before? If yes, which one and how long did you serve?
I have served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for about 2-3 years.
What other civic activities, if any, have you been involved with?
I served on the Board of Directors for the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Board of Directors for JCYS. In addition, I was the past president of my local synagogue.
Why are you running for a Village Board position?
I am running for Trustee to bring experience, knowledge, and direction to the Board. I have experience and direction on retail economic development. I believe that spending millions of dollars to redesign a flood plain does not make economic sense, so keep the golf course green. Finally, I have the legal experience and knowledge on how to effectuate the economic development the village needs.
In general, what do you see as the most pressing issues facing Buffalo Grove?
The most pressing issue currently is the village's future economic development. I anticipate the increase in tax revenue with help ease the property tax burden. The village has a plan but needs a trustee with experience and direction on how to place the plan in action. I believe my experience in retail development can help the village.
There has been considerable discussion for years about economic development in the village. What kind of economic development (retail, commercial, industrial) do you think should be a priority and why?
The recent trend around the country is towards mixed use development. Mall foot traffic is substantially down for a number of reasons (internet sales and mixed-use developments). As an attorney, I work for retail development and negotiate against property management. I hope to bring experience, knowledge, and direction on dealing with the three vacant property sites to the Trustees.
Which business development plan do you think should be a priority? Lake-Cook Road corridor, Dundee Road, Milwaukee Avenue or the Prairie View concept?
The initial focus should be the Lake-Cook Road corridor. This can set precedence for the remaining locations. We need to negotiate from the strongest position and use the momentum of one location to influence the others. Granted each location has its own issues, the overall direction of economic growth starts at the center of our village, Town Center.
How do you think the village should encourage redevelopment of existing retail areas that are struggling?
As an attorney, I have knowledge of the legal resources available for redevelopment, including business district redevelopment laws. We should consider using the taxation power, and even eminent domain. When negotiating with property management and owners, the village must negotiate from a position of strength. Once you reduce your options, you negotiate from a weaker position.
Should the village limit development to preserve green space?
I am against any development on the BG golf course. The cost to redirect the flood plain is too substantial. The potential benefit is minimal compared to the costs involved.
Some of our volunteer groups (commissions, committees) have seen shrinking membership. What would you do to engage the community on a broader scale? What would you do to encourage broader demographic participation?
Inclusion and diversity is an absolute necessity for our village to run. I believe we should start with the high schools and become more cooperative with the schools and entice students and their families to become involved.
There is a proposal to add a "Community Engagement Director" to the village staff. Do you think it is needed? Explain why or why not.
The village must consider the salary, description of job, and expected results. There is a purpose and benefit of a community engagement director but needs to be defined and within a reasonable budget.
Do you think the Village communicates well with residents? If not, how can it be improved?
I believe we should have a broader use of social media can help communicate more information with residents.
Final thoughts -- Add any information or comments about your candidacy.
I am running because, after 30 years, I want to see economic growth in our village. When I went to Stevenson ('92), Town Center was still Town Center. I am running to use my knowledge, experience, direction, and love for Buffalo Grove to build a community my children to call home.
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