New Mequon mayor wins race involving differing plans for city

CREATED Apr 3, 2013

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MEQUON - To people who live in Mequon, this mayoral election will define the direction of the city for years to come.

At the core of the race were the candidates’ plans for development -- and how they could change the landscape of this suburb.

They voted in long time alderman Dan Abendroth over incumbent Mayor Curt Gielow.

Patricia Hillard made sure she had a say.

“I believe in growing, growth and getting better but not making a whole drastic change," said Hillard.

She and an above average amount of voters turned out for the spring election.

The mayoral job was up for grabs on the ballot, the two candidates had very different ideas of what Mequon could look like.

“I think it impacts the aesthetics of the city, it impacts the tax-base of the city, what the space in the city looks like green space versus development,” explained voter Jeff Bahr about what impact the election results would have.

Under incumbent mayor Curt Gielow's plan, the city's tax revenue would grow through mixed development: projects involving retail, industrial, manufacturing and with a focus on high density, affordable housing for young families.

He's argued it would offset operating costs in the budget and increase school enrollment.

Resident Tom Parks disagrees.

“For instance, right next to where we live the mayor is looking at putting in a high density project that goes against their own zoning laws. Dan (the opponent) I think has always tried to be more reasonable about what works in certain areas.”

Challenger Dan Abendroth believes Mequon should stick to the course it has plotted, with a more rural setting, open space and low-density development, a plan he says works.

“Whether or not you agree with that or not is really what this election is about,” said Bahr.

The city clerk told TODAY’S TMJ4 that two hours before polls closed, the turnout was roughly 40 percent.

“I think a lot of people think this is a real important decision.”