SALEM LAKES — Candidates for the Salem Lakes Village Board recently shared their vision for the area as part of their campaigns.
Voters will select three trustees in the April 4 general election to serve their new village, a merger of Salem and Silver Lake.
The slate includes former Salem supervisors Dan Campion, Mike Culat, Dennis Faber and Ted Kmiec, and former Silver Lake trustees Eric Ericksen and Pat Dunn, who are serving as de-facto trustees on the Salem Lakes Village Board.
A brief introduction to the candidates and their ideas about the future of the village are capsulated below in alphabetical order:
A Trevor resident for eight years, Campion was a Salem supervisor since 2011. He served on the Administration, Communication and Public Works committees. He was also the board liaison to the County Board and Voltz Lake Protection Committee.
"We need a comprehensive plan developed by a professional for the complete village," Campion said. "This plan will direct us to the areas that are best suited to move forward with."
Over the next decade, Campion said he believes Salem Lakes will see investment in residential building, saying a streamlined zoning and building process will be attractive to developers. As this occurs, he said the impact on local municipal services and schools needs to be considered.
He said he also supports studying the feasibility of a "self-supporting recreation facility" that includes, but is not limited to, an Olympic-size swimming pool and regulation-size hockey rink.
He said financial support for these facilities could be solicited from the local high schools, businesses and private donations, and a management company could start the process.
A Salem resident since 1997, Culat was a town supervisor for the last five years, proposing the idea for the PumpkinDaze festival. He has served as the chairman for that event since its inception.
He said he envisions the industrial parks in Salem and Silver Lake attracting new businesses and "continued growth along the Highway 50 corridor going west from Paddock Lake."
"There is a huge opportunity in Silver Lake along Cogswell Drive," Culat said. "At one time this was a thriving retail area, and by all accounts should be again."
Culat said, with the major investment in Wilmot Mountain by Vail Properties, a hotel could be in the area's future. He added "that a healthy village has a good mix of retail, industrial and residential offerings.
"Retail and industrial provide needed jobs for residents, and help ease the burden of taxes on homeowners," he said. "There are areas that will lend themselves to this type of development while keeping our rural roots in tact."
A Silver Lake resident for 12 years, Dunn has served on the Village Board for the last six years and was chairman of the Public Works, Police and Fire and Emergency Services committees. He was also a coach for the Bulldogs football club and is the assistant trap coach for the Wilmot High School Shooting Club.
Over the next 10 years, Dunn said he envisions a mix of corporate and residential growth.
"Although, personally I would like to remain small, I know that cannot happen," Dunn said. "We need to grow in order to provide for those who wish to enjoy what we already have here."
Dunn said investing in infrastructure will help make the village more attractive. He said residential sidewalks in the Silver Lake area "are a mish-mash of patchwork" and are not effective, leading to a proposal to remove them and replace them with grass.
"I would agree with the proposal to remove all residential sidewalks," Dunn said. "The sidewalks in the business districts will need to be replaced or repaired as the area is regenerated."
A resident of the Salem Lakes area for 17 years, Ericksen is completing his first term as a village trustee. He is on the Finance and Ethics committees and was involved in the downtown redevelopment study for Silver Lake. He has also volunteered at various Parks Department events.
"I am always willing to lend a hand when needed because I enjoy seeing the community come together to work as one," Ericksen said.
He said he supports each of the unincorporated hamlets within Salem Lakes establishing its own identity.
"I would like to see downtown redevelopment studies done on all of the other hamlets in the village of Salem Lakes (Camp Lake, Trevor, Salem and Wilmot)," Ericksen said. "I would encourage the development of town squares in all of the hamlets in the village of Salem Lakes to bring attention back to downtown areas."
He said he believes the village "can bring interest and vitality back to the downtown areas by attracting unique businesses and developments to draw people" to the area.
A lifelong resident of the Salem and Silver Lake area, Faber served as a Salem supervisor from 2003 until the town's dissolution. He was the board liaison to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and the Camp and Center Lake Rehabilitation District, for which he wrote several successful grants. He served on the committees overseeing ordinance enforcement, water patrol, and communications, as well as the Board of Review.
He does not believe a new comprehensive plan is needed, as Silver Lake and Salem each have 2035 Smart Growth plans. The Salem plan includes 11 distinct "neighborhood plans."
"Silver Lake should simply become neighborhood No. 12," Faber said. "Building on what we already have is the logical way to proceed. We do not need to reinvent the wheel."
He said areas designated for residential growth are covered in Salem's 2035 plan. He said Silver Lake "is virtually built-out so residential development potential is minimal" unless it were to occur in the "blighted downtown business district."
He said he is "not in favor of spending tax dollars to implement a TIF (tax incremental financing) district to develop downtown business without concrete assurances from a business or developer that they will be able to repay the financing."
A full-time resident in Salem since 1986, Kmiec was a town supervisor from 2011 until the town's dissolution. He is on Christ Lutheran Church Board of Directors. He also served as a youth baseball and soccer coach and as a coach for the Kenosha Komets and Pleasant Prairie Patriots hockey teams.
"I would like to encourage smart business development in downtown Silver Lake as well as along Cogswell Drive — perhaps storefronts with nice apartments above them,” Kmiec said. “It would be great to see retail stores, coffee shops and restaurants in that area."
He also envisions development of downtown areas in the other hamlets.
"I would like to see more businesses open on Highway 83, Highway C and Wilmot Road," Kmiec said. "Again, retail stores, restaurants and perhaps some professional services such as doctor or dental offices would be great at these locations."
He supports a feasibility study done on a "smaller version of the RecPlex to provide recreational opportunities to our citizens, young and old" and as a way to "generate income from those outside the community" who use the facility.