OCONOMOWOC - Barring a successful write-in campaign, residents of the 2nd aldermanic district know the identity of their next alderman before the April 4 general election.
Lou Kowieski, 45, was the only candidate to file for the seat being vacated by Alderman Ken Herro. Kowieski, a member of the Community Development Authority, ran unsuccessfully for the Common Council three years ago.
"It's a bit less stressful," Kowieski said of running unopposed. He is a manufacturer's representative who has lived here for nearly 20 years.
"There's a sense of anxiety" among some residents about Oconomowoc's growth, which "continues to be both a blessing and a curse," Kowieski said. "We need to make sure growth is consistent with the family-friendly character of the community."
The prospective council member said growth has helped the downtown thrive, and praised recent rezoning there.
"We've grown a lot residentially," Kowieski said. "I'd like to see us be more business-friendly."
He suggested making efforts to attract research and tech employers to areas adjacent to I-94 a priority, pointing to Oconomowoc's location less than an hour from both Milwaukee and Madison.
"There's a lot of opportunity to capitalize on that" location, he said.
Herro joined the council in a 2014 special election and was re-elected without opposition two years ago,
The outgoing alderman, often critical of decisions made by city staff and previous councils, sued the city in 2015 for "just compensation" for a lot at 219 W. Wisconsin Ave. that was taken under eminent domain in 2013. The city paid just more than $300,000 for the lot and put in a parking lot.
Earlier this month the council agreed to pay Herro and his business partner, Jon Haas, an additional $195,000, bringing the total paid for the lot to $500,000.
"I think he's done a nice job for the city," Kowieski said of the outgoing alderman.