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Local

New mayor makes jump start on city improvements

Schamberger looks to bring YMCA to Amboy

John Schamberger swept the April mayoral race, garnering 64 percent of the vote in this town of about 2,500, unseating incumbent Tom Nauman. He isn't wasting any time rolling out a range of initiatives that includes bringing a YMCA to Amboy.
John Schamberger swept the April mayoral race, garnering 64 percent of the vote in this town of about 2,500, unseating incumbent Tom Nauman. He isn't wasting any time rolling out a range of initiatives that includes bringing a YMCA to Amboy.

AMBOY – The city’s new mayor isn’t wasting any time rolling out a range of initiatives that includes bringing a YMCA to Amboy.

John Schamberger swept the April mayoral race, garnering 64 percent of the vote in this town of about 2,500, unseating incumbent Tom Nauman.

The 31-year-old Amboy native was a Ward 2 alderman on the City Council for 4 years, overseeing the maintenance department and Park Board.

“I saw a lot of areas we could improve upon, and I decided running was the next step to make that happen,” Schamberger said.

One of those areas is the lack of a fitness facility for residents – those who want to work out at a gym must travel to Dixon or elsewhere, he said.

The city and the Dixon Family YMCA are forming an action committee to research and plan what it would take to bring a Y to town.

The committee will have a mix of about 15 community members and Y personnel, and they will gauge aspects like size of the venue, list of amenities and the like, Schamberger said.

The project is in its early stages; a location is yet to be determined.

“All of the things they could offer are endless,” he said. “This could benefit a huge spectrum of ages, from senior citizens down to grade school.”

Another project in the works is the revitalization of the Amboy Chamber of Commerce, which has fizzled down to about three members.

Schamberger said they are looking to bring the chamber back to life by having a membership drive, planning events and promoting more community engagement.

The city also is spending about $280,000 to resurface eight stretches of road and four alleys throughout town.

“We haven’t done larger road projects like this in 4 years, and we want to be actively engaged in getting our roads cleaned up,” he said.

Resurfacing work this year includes sections of North Jones, North East, North Davis, North Jefferson, North Josiah, South Appleton and Metcalf avenues along with West Bacon Street.

Improvements also include repairing and replacing about 3,000 square feet of sidewalk for about $12,000.

The city also is spending about $9,400 on bacterial pellets that will remove 8 to 12 inches of sludge from the wastewater plant lagoons and is looking to reduce midge flies in that area, which swarm adjacent homes.

Other projects the mayor and council are pursuing include forming a grant-writing committee, knocking down 48 trees infested with emerald ash borer, and taking legal action to clean up four or five derelict properties.

So far, Schamberger said the greatest challenge in his new role has been pacing himself.

“I want to do everything all at once, but we have to make sure we plan, research and approach these things the right way.”

Schamberger has worked as a ComEd supervisor for 3 years and has served in the Illinois Air National Guard for 13 years.

He and his wife, Meghan, married in May, and his parents are Rock and Joyce.

“We’re a small community, and we come together in times of need to help each other out,” he said. “We’re hometown-oriented.”

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