OAK CREEK - The city's new mayor wants residents to have a sense of confidence in their community, despite the recent change at the top.
"The city of Oak Creek should know they're in good hands," said Mayor Dan Bukiewicz, the common council's choice to fill the seat vacated by Steve Scaffidi.
While Scaffidi is already in full-swing in his new role, as co-host of the radio show "Scaffidi and Bilstad" with Erik Bilstad on WTMJ-AM 620, Bukiewicz has begun his transition from 2nd district alderman to mayor, a role he will hold at least until the term's expiration in April 2018.
It's a job he had planned on seeking regardless in 2018, when he will ask voters to keep him in the position to which he was appointed on March 7. His interest in becoming mayor is what led to aldermen nominating him for the post.
"It kind of made sense. It was a smooth transition," he said.
One reason is because Bukiewicz, in his estimation, is similar in a lot of aspects to Scaffidi, such as the desire to search for meaningful partnerships.
Bukiewicz said he wants to continue many programs started under Scaffidi's watch, saying he likes to celebrate Oak Creek.
Additionally, he said he's very open to employee suggestion. "They're the heart of the city," he said.
Overall, Bukiewicz said the majority of the messages he has received regarding his new position have been positive.
After moving to Oak Creek in 1989, Bukiewicz said he discovered the city was "a really cool community" and "poised for development."
He said he always kept an eye on what was going on in the community, and then, during one a Fourth of July celebration, a few friends and neighbors suggested he get involved.
Bukiewicz said he felt he had skills that would benefit residents such as a good insight into building and construction being an electrician by trade. Additionally, Bukiewicz considers himself a student of history which he said can be beneficial.
For the past 10 years, he served as alderman, a seat which the city is in the process of filling, following his appointment to mayor. (Until the seat is filled, Bukiewicz said he will still take calls from residents in his district, which he called a "hotbed of development.")
"I was proud to represent the 2nd district for five terms," he said. "I'll continue to represent not only the city, but those who live in the 2nd district."
Adjusting to his new position has been a "blend of calendars," Bukiewicz said.
"As alderman, you get used to what you do," he said. "As mayor it's more watching of the email, trying to be responsive to people."
Calling the city a blend of new and old, with many families living in the community for generations, Bukiewicz said he wants to help direct the city to smart development. Part of that plan involves following the city's comprehensive plan, a 25-year vision for Oak Creek.
One of the first decisions in which he was involved was the Drexel interchange project off of Interstate 94.
Bukiewicz said it was that project that helped raise Ikea's interest in Oak Creek. (Ikea is set to open in summer 2018.) It also benefited one of the city's most well-known developments, Drexel Town Square, on land which the city rezoned when the need arose and which was developed "practically," he added.
Still, development shouldn't run rampant, he cautioned. With many new developments coming to Oak Creek on a regular basis, Bukiewicz said proposals must be taken on a case-by-case basis.
"You have to look at a proposal and see if it works," Bukiewicz said. "You don't have to say 'yes' to everything."
Bukiewicz said the biggest challenge in Oak Creek is keeping up with the growth in all aspects. He said he hopes to help the city grow in a positive manner by making responsible choices.
"There is a method to the madness," he said, smiling.