It all started in the Mayor's office 16 years ago. Mayor John Robert Smith says he and CAO Ken Storms would look through his office window and dream of a new life for the downtown area, but today the pair took a final tour of the old city hall.
"It really drives a stake in the downtown saying this municipal structure and this municipal government are important to each generation of Meridianites," said Mayor Smith standing in front of city hall. '
Mayor Smith admits its hard to let go of leadership after so many years of pushing forward his vision, but now he's looking back and enjoying the many changes he feels have added to the beauty of his home town. He mentions the Hope Six project that gives local families the chance to buy their own home while at the same time creating strong neighborhoods that residents can be proud to live around.
"But you can see the bulk of the homes are done. We have sidewalks to put back in and street lighting to do," said Smith.
Mayor Smith also wanted to discuss Bonita Lakes Park. It is.a place that has plenty of personal significance to the four term mayor. It is a place he hikes every Saturday, where he plays with his grandson and where he went on his first date with his now wife. During his first term as mayor, Smith and the council worked to turn it into the park it is today with walking trails, plenty of lights and playgrounds.
"We've opened it up for use for the people in a way that it never was before. I'm very pleased with that and pleased with how the public has taken to the park. Its not just city people.. it is people from this entire region," said Smith.
But it appears Smith's desire is for the vision he has shared with the community for sixteen years be not just his but that of the entire community.