Northwest Herald Campaign Questionnaire
Name: Lisa Lohmeyer
Office sought: City Council
Occupation: Independent Insurance Agent
Education: Woodstock High School graduate, Illinois Wesleyan University graduate, Illinois Independent Insurance Agent
Elected offices held: none
Social Media: Facebook page @lisawithwoodstock
1. What is your largest priority for Woodstock if elected?
I’m running for office because I believe deeply in Woodstock’s potential and want to be part of a new season of growth and economic development. I am confident I can add the perspective of a different demographic; as a homeowner invested in this community and as a member of the small business community. Continuing with the right leadership, I am confident the city can be competitive in increasing employment opportunities in Woodstock. We need input and feedback from new families, empty nesters and young singles for the future of housing, unique business opportunities, innovations in technology and education, and entertainment opportunities. Not only is it important to understand what draws these demographics to Woodstock, but how and why we should keep them in Woodstock as a place to live, work, and raise a family.
2. What changes should Woodstock make in the future?
I’d like to see Woodstock think more cohesively in regard to the downtown area and the Route 47 area. I would like to continue the efforts of the staff and council in expanding Route 47 through town while at the same time respecting the businesses’ needs and concerns. Accessibility from our downtown should be a top priority, including pedestrian walkways and bike paths (a safe connection to the Prairie Trail path and schools). I would also like to work with Metra toward getting the full train schedule for the City of Woodstock. An increase in public transportation options would aide in attracting people from metropolitan areas, to visit, but also for those who would like to live here and not rely on owning multiple vehicles.
3. How do you feel about Woodstock’s video gambling?
Some citizens are very passionate about the issue of video gambling. Aesthetically, I appreciate the city’s stance not allowing signs to advertise gambling. However, I absolutely want Woodstock’s entertainment venues, restaurants, and businesses to remain on a level playing field with other communities in McHenry County. It is my understanding business owners feel they could potentially lose customers to surrounding towns if the city were not to allow video gambling, so from that perspective I’m generally in support of video gaming licenses.
4. How do you feel about Woodstock's TIF district?
I am excited about the potential that the TIF district could bring to our city. The goal of the TIF is to improve underutilized and underdeveloped areas of the city. The incentives available via this program will attract development of areas that have sat idle since the economic downturn of 2008 as well as encourage updating, improvement, and expansion of existing businesses and properties. In continuing to improve the infrastructure and the visual aesthetics of these areas, it will be a main focus of mine to obtain new and retain current employers. I would have voted in favor of the TIF district because, overall, I think it will help the city be competitive in attracting new opportunities.
5. How do you feel that Woodstock should work with the school board on housing within the TIF district?
D-200 is such an integral part of Woodstock and the high quality of our schools is of utmost importance. I would like to be a part of the continued collaboration between the city and the school board. The TIF requires an open working relationship which will require seasons of compromise on both ends. If job opportunities, new businesses, retail, and housing are all increasing within the TIF, that growth factor will spread to the rest of the community. Infrastructure (buildings and facilities) for more students within the district is already in place. The success of the TIF will in turn spur business growth outside of the TIF and improve the value of non-TIF areas which will increase the school district’s tax base without adding additional students. I’d be interested in evaluating with the school board on annual basis to monitor growth and discuss the impact of the TIF.
6. What should Woodstock attempt to do with the Old Courthouse?
The Old Courthouse has immense value and incredible potential to the right entrepreneur. It is a historic landmark and a city treasure. My vision for the Old Courthouse is a combination of day-time functionality, evening usage, and weekend events - not necessarily executed by the same entity. In fact, use of the space for diverse purposes, managed by people with expertise in their respective area could be an interesting model for this unique building. The City of Woodstock’s pride in its historic roots and creative community is one of it’s greatest strengths. As opportunities arise, this mentality should be at the forefront while we work on shaping the best use for the building.
7. What else should voters know about you?
I am deeply invested in Woodstock and promise to approach issues with a willingness to study, listen and deliberate in good faith with a creative eye toward the best possible future for Woodstock. Having lived in another country, working across multiple states and ultimately choosing to return to Woodstock has prepared me to understand complexities of different cities and provided me a unique perspective. In reading the packets and attending the city council meetings, I am prepared to discuss other equally important topics. Running a city is inherently complex, and I fully plan to continue to learn these intricacies. I am excited and energized by the opportunity to serve the community and plan to do so to the best of my ability. For more information regarding any of my responses please feel free to contact me via my website; lisawithwoodstock.com