Lesch excited about next four years

As Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch heads into her second term, she's both concerned about the economy and optimistic about the city's future. "I had a lot to learn,' Lesch said about her first four years. "But I had really good people teaching me.'
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


As Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch heads into her second term, she’s both concerned about the economy and optimistic about the city’s future.

“I had a lot to learn,” Lesch said about her first four years. “But I had really good people teaching me.”  

Lesch was sworn into her second four-year term on New Year’s Day.

The mayor cited the city’s comprehensive plan that came after months of working to get the input of hundreds of people as the biggest accomplishment of her first term.

“It gave the community the chance to take part in city government,” she said. “It really began to guide the city even before the plan was finalized. It is something that charts the course for us for the years ahead.”

Lesch hopes one of the hallmarks of her administration is collaboration.

“We’ve worked hard to create an open administration and work collaboratively with others,” she said, including collaboration between city hall and city council and with county departments.

Even with the successes, Lesch’s first four years haven’t been without disappointment.

“My biggest challenge was the situation with Aldi’s,” she said.  

The city wanted to use part of the parking lot owned by the food chain for an extension to Cline Street and the possibility of the city’s forcing the issue by taking the property by eminent domain was raised.

“In the end, it all worked out,” Lesch said. “Progress happened, but it wasn’t the easiest thing.”

Work on cleaning up the old Norwalk Foundry has also gone slower than the mayor hoped.

“We’ve made some significant progress,” she said.

Hopefully, Lesch added, foreclosure proceedings now in process and the work of both a state and a federal grant to clean up the property, will make it attractive to a buyer in the next year.

“The new buyers won’t have unknown liability,” Lesch said.

Other government mandates have challenged Lesch in her first term. She said $15 million dollar requirements for water treatment and combined sewer overflow systems have not been easy to handle. The city is now completing $8 million of mandated improvements to the water treatment plan and will now work on other Environmental Protection Agency mandates.

In the plus column, Lesch said, is the work by Norwalk Finance Director Diane Eschen.

“Because of her good management, we’ve been able to get some really exceptional loans through the state,” Lesch said.

Another bonus for Lesch is the people working on economic development for the area.

“The biggest challenge for my next term is concerns about economic development — what’s our economy going to look like in 10 years?” she asked. “We’ve been hit so much with the loss of automotive jobs. We have to be creative to attract new businesses. We have to do our part to ‘incentivize’ a new economy.

“There are exciting possibilities out there , but its going to take work,” she added.

“What we have is a good collaborative of folks working together,” Lesch said, calling Norwalk Economic Development Director Bethany Dentler “one of the best folks in the state understanding economic development.”

“We do have a diverse group working on it and they all represent their own interests, but its also important that we work collaboratively and we work together,” Lesch said.

The mayor’s New Year wish for all of her constituents: “jobs like we used to have that a family could live on and that afforded benefits.”

Her pledge to residents: “The cost of living hasn’t gone down, but many families don’t have benefits and have lower wages. We have to fight to make sure they (employers) are looking at Norwalk when they’re looking for a place to come.”

City council will hold an organizational meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Norwalk Municipal Court.


aw shucks (Anon...

Cripes mayor I feel for you. You've got a great task to perform. You get to listen to everyone tell you everything. Mr Lesch be nice to your wife , she's a babysitter. Take her out to eat once in awhile - just don't go to Berrys, I think Doug is still mad at her.

re:also (Anonymous)

and Mr. Rupp is heard from.

re/Rupp (Anonymous)

Yikes, cripes, & geez.

Mike (Anonymous)

When is the next council meeting? I'd love to come down and take it in.

Norwalk Reflect...

Norwalk Reflector, I have said it before and will again. Why do you have a comment area where bloggers do not have to identify themselves and they can slander businesses, business people and politicians. There is obviously a person who dislike some people and local businesses and continues to spread negative vibes. I used to live in Norwalk and my opinion is being lowered of a place I used to call home everytime I read the paper and see the negative comments generated by these low life scum suckers who thrive on negativity and lies about other people. PLEASE STOP THIS COLUMN Mayor Lesch and City Council - it is characteristic of low life, low class and it makes me never ever want to come back to Norwalk.

Dear Norwalk Re...

if you dont like it..dont come on here and read it. why dont YOu identify YOURSELF...oh i know you, you're a crybaby. whaaaaaaaa

it is true (Ano...

That people don't have to sign their name. Just like you did & I will do shortly. The same goes for the paper itself. You might not like it but that's how it is.

it is also true...

That if you don't like Berrys restaurant you don't have to eat there.

Yes it is true ...

I don't like it and I don't eat there like 3/4 of Norwalk!!!

Lesch Watch (An...

What about the coming crisis of Norwalk Furniture LEAVING TOWN?????? You can bicker about Berry all you want but we have an economic development disaster coming our way. WHAT IS YOU ECONOMIC PLAN LESCH?

I have lived in...

and have been hearing this same thing how Norwalk Furniture is going out of business. How long have they been in business?? Are you really sure they are going out of business?

What about... (...

...Teneco (spelling?) in Milan? I hear they may as well close...nobody shows up for work anyway.

YEP... (Anonymous)

we can all see the handwriting on the wall, Norwalk Furniture's days are numbered,and i say good riddance. the people out there think that their stuff don't stink,and that is just the workers.the company people are a bunch of lying, sneaky, back stabbers,who will twist things around to get everything into an uproar.the woman in charge of human resources out there is the same woman who sits on the board over in Monroeville,and why do you think that Monroeville is going backwards,just like Norwalk Furniture is.

they are already setting up a new factory down south,and have even moved some of their "team leaders" down there, secretly,to gets things set up.the story is that when the new contract comes up for renewal, the company will try to take away benefits from the workers, and the union will tell the workers to go on strike,and the company will just move down south,where they already have things set in place.

why do you think that the Gerkens have stepped away from the business? this way,it won't be their fault when all of the local people lose their jobs

to Lesch watch ...

Okay mayor I'll take this one. He pushes mayor to the side. Doug you no good &%^#%$ just because you didn't get your way with booze quit trying to scare everyone. He takes a step closer to Doug. Because you are losing in your business there is no reason under the heavens to try disturb this peaceful town. He stares deeply into Doug's eyes. We have had just about all we are going to take. He shoves his plate away from him. This food is like you Doug - terrible!! We all want a re-fund.

did you (Anonymous)

See earlier posts? Keep your eyes on the old foundry location.

Native (Anonymous)

Common sense tells us that some of you are former employees who have been fired and now spend your time trying to destroy the business that you once worked for.Were you stealing from your employer? Were you using drugs at work? Some people see through you.

Jobs Found (Ano...

Look on the shelves at wallmart, most of the products are where are jobs went, blue and white collared alike. we cant compete with low payed child labor cost.

Its not a resession its the new great depression.

re: native (Ano...

I have to agree with you. Everyone likes Berry's but the one person who posts here under different names. A business doesn't thrive for over 60 years by doing things wrong. Same for Norwalk Furniture.

public works (A...

hey where is the new public works director? must be hard to find a yes man

Hey, Jobs found...

No, we can't compete with educated foreigners that can spell.

to 1:00 am post...

You are thinking. Good. The same applies for the mayor. Stop tearing her down Lesch Watch Doug, & others might get off of your back.

Yes I agree (An...

I think he is on here trying to defend himself instead of taking constructive critism and improve his business.

Wait another th...

maybe it really isn't him defending his restaurant maybe it is his cook who is trying to defend the slop he makes.

hmmmm sounds li...

lets see..... run the local businesses and the people who have been the mainstay of the community out of town.... Norwalk Furniture, Berrys etc.... I am sure that all the out of town businesses moving in like Walmart, will become big supporters of our community. Surely they will become active on the council and bring high paying jobs to support our schools etc. Yes, I can see your point.... run everyone out of this town who has given to the community for years and see where you are in 5 years.....

1rst off (Anonymous)

To come into a business already established helps a business longevity. 2nd we need all the jobs we get get. It helps small businesses thrive, barbers small shops, restaurants,etc.3rd Doug the democratic process denied your request for alcohol; please ease off the venom.I know that there are various posters here because I work with them at the factory.

There are diffe...

cause I work in the health care profession and I am one of the posters that states I do not care for the food or the rude service and offered constructive critism like change, cooks, your attitude and get better servers. I never said run him out of business. If he chooses to run his business into the ground then that is his choice.

I think (Anonymous)

That there is only 1 person posting in a negative fashion here. I also think the same person hates the mayor.

Re: I think (An...

I think you are probably right and it is probably the same person that half of Norwalk hates because of their snobby "I am rich therefore I am better than you attitude".

43 (Anonymous)

Why bring other businesses in the topic about you. You began this thread with hostility.

I think (Anonymous)

Can money buy a good name?