GENEVA – Michael Bruno, a member of the Geneva Historic Preservation Commission, formally announced his candidacy Wednesday for 1st Ward alderman.
Zac Ploppert, former 2nd Ward Alderman William Barclay and Stockholm’s owner Michael Olesen have said they will seek the seat to be vacated by Alderman Sam Hill. Ploppert and Bruno are the only two to make formal announcements.
The consolidated election is April 9.
Bruno said it would be difficult for him to give up his seat on the commission, but he wants to increase his contribution to the city.
“My roots in Geneva go back to 1903, when my great-grandparents Paul and Anna Berrettini moved ‘out to the country’ and settled on North Sixth Street for Paul’s health,” Bruno said in his formal announcement. “I began visiting Geneva in the late ‘60s when my grandparents, Frank and Ida Bruno, moved back to the place where Ida’s parents had settled generations earlier.”
Bruno recalled trips in the family station wagon from Streamwood to Geneva, which “seemed in the middle of nowhere.”
Bruno began working at Burgess-Norton in 1979, where he would stay for 21 years. He met his wife, Debbie, and they moved to a house on Richards Street, where they raised their son, Adam.
“Geneva is not just a place to park your car at night,” Bruno said. “Geneva is a rare gem amongst a backdrop of withered small towns that succumbed to urban sprawl. Geneva is no longer in the middle of nowhere, but it is a place to know your neighbors and a place to identify with.”
Bruno has served on the preservation commission for 11 years. He noted surveys show the city’s residents identify historical preservation and the downtown as central to Geneva’s identity and vitality.
“It is a complex and important symbiosis between our downtown merchants, our downtown residents and our historic identity,” Bruno said.
As alderman, Bruno said he would use his training as an engineer to rely on evidence and fiscal pragmatism so the city’s resources are used wisely.
“My thinking will always include the metric of, ‘How will this affect the city tomorrow and in five, 10, or 20 years down the road?’ ” Bruno said.