|Mayo reflects on mayoral term, public invited to reception|
|December 04, 2014 Jerry Purvis|
“It’s been a hoot” is how outgoing Gering Mayor Ed Mayo described his one term in office. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s been a privilege and an honor to have been elected and to serve the community that has afforded me so many opportunities.”
On election night four years ago, the newly-elected mayor said one of his first duties would be to put an end to the ongoing controversial discussion of merging the Gering and Scottsbluff Police Departments.
“Although the council tried to backdoor that in, I said I would veto the proposal, which I did” he said. “I was the first mayor in the history of Gering to veto anything.”
He added that with the proposed police merger and the successful communications center contract with the county’s municipalities, he always tried to keep politics out of public safety.
Also standing out in Mayo’s mind was the former McKinley school property. “That building had been a disaster from the day the school sold the property,” he said. “It fell into a state of entropy it was never able to recover from. We started trying to clean it up when I was still on the city council.”
But it was during Mayo’s term as mayor when the city was able to purchase the property and clear the land for 10 new homes in the residential neighborhood.
“The McKinley project is also a lasting memorial to the Gering schools,” he said. “The high school construction class built several of those homes.”
The property, which used to be about $130,000 in assessed valuation, has gone up to a little over $1.5 million.
Also during his term, the city was awarded a $350,000 downtown development grant to enhance the downtown area. “Economic development is largely an attitude,” he said. “In the last four years, there are 35 new and expanded businesses in Gering.”
He said the project to bring the Fresh Foods supermarket to Gering almost didn’t happen. After years of malaise, the supermarket finally opened in March 2013 and provided a shot of economic growth for the area.
Mayo said he was also pleased to be a part of the regional comprehensive plan for economic development. “Hopefully the new mayor will continue that work and appoint some of the business owners along North 10th Street to be part of expanding business opportunities in that area of town. There are some ag related companies that would fit well in that corridor.”
When asked about the joys of being a small town mayor, Mayo quickly said “How many small town mayors can say they had dinner with Miss America?”
Gering native Teresa Scanlan was chosen as Miss America in 2011.
After serving on the Gering City Council, Mayo made an unsuccessful run for county commissioner before being elected Gering’s Mayor in 2010.
“I’m a firm believer that no one should run unopposed for any political seat,” he said. “I’ve always had an interest in politics since I watched the Kennedy-Nixon debates.”
He said this was his last political campaign unless there’s a compelling reason for him to run again. “In the final analysis, my faith is in God, not politics.”
The public is invited to a reception to wish Ed Mayo well on Thursday, Dec. 4 from 2 – 4 p.m. in the council chambers at Gering City Hall, 1025 P St.