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Dailly taking charge in Schaumburg: Carry on Larson's legacy 'but tweak it to 2019'

by Eric Peterson, Daily Herald

Schaumburg Mayor-elect Tom Dailly didn't run on a platform of change, but he said Wednesday that some aspects of the village will naturally evolve even as he remains true to the principles established by long-running predecessor Al Larson and Larson's mentor, Bob Atcher.

"I'm just excited," the 25-year village trustee said the morning after his resounding Election Day victory over first-time candidates Nafees Rahman and Matthew Steward. "It's a great, wonderful opportunity to carry on Al's legacy but tweak it to 2019."

Among such tweaks are the planned appointment of younger and more ethnically diverse voices on Schaumburg's commissions and recommending panels. While not looking for clones of himself, Dailly said he also doesn't want people clearly at odds with the direction he promised to take the village.

"Businesses were terrified of my opposition getting in and disrupting the way things work in Schaumburg," he said.

Appointment to village commissions traditionally has been part of a grooming process for potential village board members. But Dailly said he doesn't necessarily expect that process to last a decade or more, as it did for Trustee-elect Brian Bieschke.

Another possible change was a talking point in the recent campaign -- reconsidering Schaumburg's ban on video gambling. Dailly said time has shown that communities allowing it have not experienced problems, and some small businesses in the village may be getting hurt by the ban.

Nevertheless, Dailly said he's sensitive to the reality of gambling addiction and would like to commit a percentage of the $500,000 to $750,000 the village would likely collect from gambling to an appropriate program to help addicts.

While not a change of direction, Dailly said he plans to intensify the village's efforts to fill the former Dominick's in Town Square with a new business -- preferably another grocery store. He expects to begin stronger negotiations with current owner Tony's Finer Foods.

Dailly also plans to spend more on road improvements after seeing and hearing about deteriorating conditions during the campaign. But he does not expect that to stand in the way of his planned 5 percent reduction of the village's property tax levy in December.

Dailly plans to maintain and pass on the dedication to design and the arts that Larson created. While he concedes he doesn't share Larson's passion for design and the arts, Dailly said he's seen undeniable evidence of how they uplift a community.

"It improves the quality of life in the village," he said. "That draws people to the community."

As such, he retains hope a performing arts center could become a part of the entertainment district planned near the Schaumburg Convention Center if the village can find a business partner in the theater industry.

The key, Dailly said, is to choose the right size of the venue, which he estimates to be about 2,000 seats.

Dailly said he further plans to maintain Larson's good relations with other local governments in Schaumburg, and even strengthen ties to neighbors Hoffman Estates, Elk Grove Village, Roselle, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Hanover Park and Streamwood.

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