WHEATON – Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk said he is optimistic about the city's future as he winds down his last term in office.
Gresk, who has served as mayor since 2007, is not running for re-election. Prior to being elected mayor, he was a Wheaton City Council member from 1995 to 2003.
"It's just time to be done," said Gresk, who turns 69 next year. "Twenty of the last 24 years I've spent on the Wheaton City Council. Prior to that, I was president of the Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Wheaton Association."
City Council members John Prendiville and Phil Suess have announced they are running for Wheaton mayor in the April 2019 election. A third candidate also has emerged, Gresk said, although that person hasn't publicly announced his intent to run for mayor.
"I don't know if he's pulled a packet yet," he said. "He's a younger guy, a 19- or 20-year-old college student. He grew up in Wheaton and wants to give back to the community, which is wonderful."
Gresk said he doesn't imagine whoever takes the reins as mayor will make many changes.
"I wouldn't anticipate a huge change," he said. "Wheaton has been a very stable and prosperous community during my 12 years as mayor."
Gresk lauded the city's longtime staff for helping contribute to the health and stability of the community.
"We have people who once they come to work for us, they don't leave," he said. "There's a continuity there, and I think that the city is in fine hands. Whoever wins, Wheaton will still continue to be the wonderful, award-winning city that it is."
Gresk noted Wheaton has been named one of the top 100 places to live in the country twice in the last 12 years.
"And just last year, we were named the sixth safest community in the country for our population bracket," he said.
Gresk is choosing not to endorse a candidate because of the friction that could cause on the City Council. However, he said both Prendiville and Suess are highly qualified.
"They both have fine qualities," he said. "And they both have experience, too. Either of them would be a wonderful mayor."
Prendiville was first elected to the City Council in 2007, and Suess has been on the council since 2005.
This is Prendiville's second attempt at winning the mayoral seat. He ran against Gresk in 2011 but lost the election, in the process losing his council seat. He regained his seat in 2013.
Prendiville is an at-large councilman, and his term on the council expires in May 2019. Suess represents the North District, and his seat on the council doesn't expire until May 2021.