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updated: 3/26/2021 11:44 AM

East Dundee village president candidates differ on downtown visions

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The candidates for East Dundee village president -- two-term incumbent Lael Miller and four-term trustee Jeff Lynam -- have been around long enough to understand the dynamics of downtown.

In recent years, it's developed into a quaint area for residents and visitors to get a bite to eat or check out some of the small local businesses.

Lynam and Miller agree the downtown area has more than its share of bars and restaurants, but their visions differ slightly with what they'd like to see beyond dining options along the Fox River. Both visions aim to attract more people downtown.

Miller, co-owner of the Midwest Retro shop in downtown East Dundee, wants more diverse shopping options and service businesses that would add workers and encourage visitors to spend a few hours in the area.

"I have people that stop into my business every day and they want to know what other stores are in the area and where they can shop," Miller said. "And we just don't have that. I would like to see a much more diverse type of business down here."

Lynam, a retired financial analyst, sees opportunities on the more-vacant south side of downtown where he envisions multiunit housing as an option. But whatever East Dundee decides for the future of downtown, Lynam knows the difficult parking issues must be a focal point.

"We've talked about that in the past as a board, a two-level parking deck that I think can happen," Lynam said. "For whatever reason, it hasn't happened, and I think it really needs to be addressed."

Lynam has other development goals, such as the River Valley Square Shopping Center at the corner of Route 72 and Route 25. The village has struggled to fill vacancies there ever since the Dominick's grocery store closed in 2007.

"I've got an idea about how we can go about bringing a grocery store in, which I think would be a big shot in the arm for the rest of that shopping center because there's a lot of vacant space in that shopping center," Lynam said.

Miller sees the area south of Route 72 as a major growth sector in East Dundee as the development at and around the new Altorfer Cat facility makes the region more attractive to future development and added roads create better access.

"I tend to look at the whole village," Miller said. "There's a lot to it other than just the downtown."