In 1982, Gail moved to Brookfield, Illinois and resided there with her family for over 20 years. During that time, she took notice that the original charm and character of the historical brick buildings in the downtown business district had been altered and covered up with various cladding materials. Moreover, the downtown district had lost its vitality with the disappearance of most of its retail business. This took place during a time when many other communities, that had undergone similar trends, were starting to turn their attention back to their Main Streets.
Applying the strategic plan developed by the Illinois MainStreet Program, Gail participated in an awareness campaign promoting the concept that historic preservation/restoration and economic development go hand in hand. As part of the mission to restore the vibrancy of this small downtown district, she created and presented a Façade Improvement Presentation to the business community. She also assumed a number of municipal and community leadership roles that included:
Gail’s interest in community involvement began early, after spending a summer working as a volunteer candy striper at a local hospital. It was a rewarding experience that taught her how much fun it could be to lend a helping hand. She has continued to serve as a volunteer in a variety of roles that include:
HOMELESS SHELTER: Working in the kitchen and serving guests at a temporary shelter for the homeless (B.E.D.S. Program) from 1992 to 1998. This experience helped encourage her interest in both politics and architecture as it fueled her passion to improve the housing situation and public policy.
VILLAGE OF BROOKFIELD: Various volunteer municipal and community leadership positions in the Village of Brookfield from 1997-2003 (see Municipal Service above)
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION: Teaching others how to garden through the University of Illinois’ Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteer programs. She also had the opportunity to teach children the rewards of gardening, while contributing to the design and construction of several school gardens.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY: Worked alongside other architects and volunteers to construct a home with Habitat for Humanity this past summer