New Lake Forest Mayor Looks to Continue Cowhey's Legacy

An Alderman since 2010, Don Schoenheider recently replaced former Lake Forest Mayor James J. Cowhey Jr. The new mayor hopes to maintain the city's "strong fiscal profile."

Third Ward Alderman Don Schoenheider was appointed the acting mayor of Lake Forest at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

An Alderman since 2010, Schoenheider replaced former  Cowhey, who has been hired as CEO of WCA Waste Corporation in Houston, Texas, reached out to Schoenheider last December to see if he was interested in becoming mayor.

"I was hoping I'd have a little more time to get my feet on the ground, but we have a terrific staff," Schoenheider said.

A professional real estate investor, Schoenheider is running unopposed for the April 9 mayoral election. He has a BA from Valparaiso University studied Public Administration at the University of Illinois/Springfield, according to the City of Lake Forest website.

The new mayor told Patch last week that he is hoping to continue the Cowhey's work, by focusing on maintaining the city's fiscal profile and bond rating.

"Jim was a great mayor, a great representative for our community," Schoenheider said. "A lot of [my agenda] is continuing with what we've been doing."

Schoenheider wants to focus on keeping Lake Forest commercially viable, despite the difficult economic climate. Part of this effort includes recruiting new businesses with the help of the city's full-time economic coordinator, and by making Lake Forest an easy place to set up shop.

"We try to make doing business in the city as easy and hassle free as we possibly can," Schoenheider said.

The new mayor also wants to look for opportunities to create efficiencies in the way the city provides services. For example, Lake Forest is participating in a task force with Highland Park, Lake Bluff and Highwood to explore the possibility of consolidating their paramedic services.

"That's probably the most critical service we provide our residents, and we need to deliver it in highest possible fashion, and economically," Schoenheider said.

A Lake Forest resident for nearly a decade, and the vice president and manager of Liberty Property Trust, Schoenheider told Patch that his goal is to keep Lake Forest a special place to live.

"Lake Forest is a very unique and special place to live, so maintaining that will be important."

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