Candidate Name: Allison Longenbaugh
Office Seeking: City Council
Campaign Website: www.allison4naperville.com
Subdivision/Neighborhood: Park Addition
Occupation and/or Professional Training: Vice President/Operations Analyst at J.P. Morgan
How long in years have you been a Naperville resident? 16 years
Service on Boards, Commissions, Task Forces, etc. with dates served (nonprofit too):
I was on Ellsworth’s Home & School board from 2015-2016.
The following answers have only been edited for formatting purposes.
1. Why are you running for City Council?
I started going to City Council meetings to advocate for Park Addition at the start of the 5th Avenue Train Station project, but I kept going to meetings even when the project wasn’t on the agenda. I want to be a voice for the neighbor who doesn’t have time to sit through long Council meetings and who feels like the City isn’t listening. I love Naperville and I think it should be home to people from childhood through the retirement years.
2. What is Naperville’s most pressing need?
COVID-19 significantly impacted Naperville local businesses, workers, and families. The mitigation strategies have suppressed sales and shifted consumer spending for local businesses, reduced hours for service workers and changed the needs of commuters, and created challenges for families who are struggling to juggle work, remote learning, and child care. City Council must focus on collaborating with all stakeholders to design and execute creative solutions to help our small businesses, workers, and families.
3. In your opinion, what’s the City’s most important private/public partnership?
Naperville’s desirability continues to attract a wide range of commercial development. As a resident of north Naperville, I am thrilled to see the NDP-led development along the Ogden Corridor, which will drive sales traffic and expand the tax base and enhance convenience for north Naperville residents. However, Naperville residents should always be able to easily determine how the City is spending money. Increasing transparency of the process of allocating funds will strengthen the community’s trust in these partnerships.
4. Name three policies that need review or immediate attention.
First, it is unfortunate that the Council voted down the mask ordinance, which would have required people to wear masks when it was impossible to maintain recommended physical distance. Given that vaccine distribution has started, it would have been a temporary measure to contain the spread as the vaccine is distributed to our residents. Second, Council put a temporary ban on short-term rentals. Given that most owners are not renting their properties as “party houses”, the City shouldn’t penalize them. Third, flooding continues to be an issue in many neighborhoods and modernizing the stormwater system should be a priority.
5. How often are you in touch with members of the current Naperville City Council of City Staff?
I have spoken at many meetings and email the entire Council when I have concerns. I spoke before Council 4 times during the 5th Avenue development, attended workshops and steering committee meetings, and had offline discussions with Council members to collaborate. Lately, I expressed my support for the Conflict of Interest ordinance by contacting the board directly, speaking at a Council meeting, and writing a letter to the editor which was published by the Naperville Sun on November 25.
6. What planned development will have the greatest impact on the City?
The 5th Avenue Train Station development will have a significant impact on the city and is the reason why I started going to Council meetings. With firms reassessing their office needs in a post-COVID world, thank goodness the project was paused and we are not building a parking deck. I appreciate the economic vitality this development will bring, both as a driver of employment and for the significant tax dollars it will generate. But when this comes before Council again, I want the proposal to be collaborative and the result to be in harmony with the surrounding neighborhoods.
7. What up-and-coming development is most important to the City of Naperville?
I am most excited about the development of the Ogden corridor. Not only is the north side of Naperville getting a Costco, but there will be a halo effect of new businesses filling empty storefronts along Ogden, bringing growth, jobs, and new revenues to the city. Additionally, Ogden has long been a major corridor for those visiting Naperville and increased investment will improve one of the entrances to the city.
8. How often do you patronize Naperville restaurants?
We love to cook, so Penzey’s may be my #1 food-related place to visit! Naperville has a number of fantastic restaurants and they have been among the most impacted during the pandemic. To support local businesses observing physical distancing requirements, we do takeout as a family at least once each week, and I always visit Kregers on Fridays for a brat.
9. When folks come to visit, where do you take them in Naperville?
My family has been visiting for 16 years and they all love our downtown. We usually walk from Park Addition, do a little shopping, and stroll down the Riverwalk. Our visitors often join us at various Naperville venues, including Park District facilities to watch our daughters compete in soccer, volleyball, and cross country.
10. How has the Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) Fund served the City of Naperville?
Cultural events are a way to attract visitors to Naperville and bring the community together, so SECA serves an important role. While it does provide funding for high profile events (e.g fireworks, Century Walk), its funding also supports lesser-known artists and performers (e.g. Men’s Glee Club, Neighbors United). Looking forward to 2021, SECA will be challenged with a smaller budget due to pandemic mitigation, but I hope to see them fund new events like Junteenth and Naper Pride to build an even more inclusive Naperville.
11. When was the last time you read the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights?
I reviewed it multiple times over the last three months.
12. What do you think is significant about Naperville’s council-manager form of government?
The City Manager can focus on making sure the policies put forth by the Council are working properly, freeing up the Council to make decisions. What’s also significant is that even though the Mayor leads discussions, his/her vote holds the same weight as every Council member.
13. What is a recent book, television program, or movie you have read/watched that you think everyone should read/watch to gain perspective on life?
Lack of commute cut into my book/week habit. I’m currently reading “Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage”, by Jason Kander. It provides valuable recommendations on bridging the gap between people holding different political views. “Ted Lasso” is a feel-good show with a positive message that we all need right now. “Be curious, not judgmental.” (Plus, it’s about the greatest sport– soccer!)
Anything else would you like to add?
I am an avid runner and am currently on a running streak of over 600 days. I use it as an excuse to explore neighborhoods and trails all over the city. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I am running for Naperville- literally!