Name: Mike Terson
Wife - Nicole
Son - Jack
Community Involvement: I work fulltime for the community as the Public Relations and Marketing Manager at the Buffalo Grove Park District. I also served on the Village of Buffalo Grove’s 50th Anniversary Committee, and I am currently on the Village’s Bicycle Ad-hoc Committee. I also volunteer at a variety of community and school district events, such as emceeing for Buddy Baseball and the Longfellow School Family Bingo Night, and announcing for the television broadcast of the BG Days Parade. I have also volunteered as a guest speaker to business students at Stevenson High School.
Why are you running for a Village Board position?
I am running for Village Trustee because I feel I have a combination of knowledge, experience, temperament, and communication skills to represent my fellow residents well. I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to do what they can to make their community a better place, and this is a way in which I can do that.
What are the key issues that the village will have to address in the next four years?
The economy is the obvious big issue, and with that, the Village will have the challenge of retaining businesses, as well as further development and the recruitment new businesses to Buffalo Grove. I think the other key issues will be the Weiland Road/Lake Cook Road expansion project, and making updates to the fence and sign codes. It is my opinion that digital, interchangeable copy signs, like the one along Milwaukee Avenue at City Park in Lincolnshire, make commercial property seem more modern and attractive to businesses. I think that a sign like that along Lake Cook Road at Town Center might help revitalize what is the perception of that property. One of my campaign issues when I ran for Trustee in 2009 was the fence code. I said then, and I still feel, that Buffalo Grove should allow its residents to construct a 6 feet high fence if they choose. Most of the surrounding communities allow for a 6 feet fence, so there is already precedent that it is an acceptable height. Since then, the Village has recently brought up the issue and is seeking feedback from residents. I think that the Village spends too much time listening to people’s request for a 6 feet high fence, and personally, I feel that people should be able to build a 6 feet high fence if that is the level of privacy they prefer.
What are your top three goals as a board member?
First, it is to ensure that we maintain the level of fiscal strength and responsibility that we have already established. Next, to try and create as much dialogue as I can between the Village and the community’s school, park and library districts to try to come up with as many ways as we can to partner on projects that will benefit everyone in the community. Finally, one thing that I would like to accomplish is to eradicate bullying from our community. Buffalo Grove has been recognized in recent years by a number of publications as one of the best communities to live in and raise a family. While we already have such an excellent community, I feel that one way it could be better is by making a concerted effort to create a community in which our children are free from bullying. I would like to see us create a group of community leaders from our school districts, park districts, village and police department, whose goal is to come up with methods to eliminate bullying. I think that if a group of citizens, elected officials and professionals collaborate and regularly communicate, we would see this problem decrease, and maybe one day not exist.
What are some of the village’s strengths?
Buffalo Grove has so many strengths. We are a community with strong leadership and talented professionals running the Village’s daily operations. When you combine that foundation with a diverse population of people that have a strong sense of community, along with great schools, beautiful parks, and many wonderful recreational opportunities, you get a community like ours.
What do you think can be done to improve the village?
Things I think would improve the Village would be if we had a downtown, as well as a new community center. Being that the Village’s golf course along Lake Cook Road is within walking distance from thousands of homes to the north and south, I have felt for a long time that the golf course is worth considering for such a site to develop a downtown Buffalo Grove that would include open space, higher end retail, restaurants and housing above storefronts. I realize that there are many difficulties with this, such as the current economy and engineering issues, as that area is also used for flood control. But I think it is at least worth considering and discussing. The economy will eventually improve, and I think we need to be prepared with plans in place for when that happens. Also, the Village owns 2 golf courses and together they are not profitable. I feel that it might be a better use of that land to create a downtown area that all of the community can enjoy, than it would be to continue to subsidize an activity at the expense of the taxpayers that a small percentage of the population takes part in, especially when we have another golf course, that also might become profitable if the second course in town isn’t competing with it. I am not saying that turning the golf course property into a downtown is a good idea. What I am saying is that I think it is an idea worth discussing and considering, and if at the end of the day there are too many negatives and/or the residents say no to the idea through a referendum, then it isn’t a good idea.
What distinguishes you from the rest of the Village Board members?
I think there are more similarities between me and the current Board members than there are differences. Like them, I care a lot about my community, am not afraid of hard work, and can work well as a member of a collaborative group for the betterment of everyone in the community. Things that make me unique are that I would be the youngest member of the Board, I might be the only Trustee who lives on the Cook County side of Buffalo Grove (depending on the results of the 2-year term election), I graduated from Buffalo Grove High School, and I would be the only Board member whose fulltime career is working for the community.