STRUTHERS, Ohio (WYTV) – Tuesday afternoon at Struthers City Hall, Mayor Terry Stocker handed over the keys to his office to Cat Cercone-Miller, who takes over at midnight.
Stocker has been the mayor for 12 years. Before that, he was a councilman. He has 30 years in Struthers politics.
“If we stay in shape, we keep ourself mentally healthier, I think,” he said.
On his last day — Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019 — Stocker sat at his desk reflecting upon all of his accomplishments as mayor. His briefcase was packed and ready to be carried out for the last night.
“It’s time to go. I’ve done everything I could. I wish I maybe could have done a few things differently, but I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Stocker said.
He leaves Struthers with a $1.3 million surplus, up from $143,000 when he started.
“Every employee always got a raise every year that I was here,” he said.
Stocker is also proud of getting the grant money to build the lower connector bridge over the Mahoning River, on land that was once part of Youngstown Sheet and Tube.
“To eliminate some of those traffic tie-ups and make it a lot safer for our safety forces responding to the other side of the river,” he said.
Stocker is concerned about the downtown area, though. Two popular restaurants, the Cene Park baseball complex, Astro Shapes and the Castlo Industrial Park have kept it from collapsing, but there are also too many vacant buildings.
“We believe if we can raise those buildings downtown it’s going to allow new businesses to come in and have a place actually to construct something new,” he said.
If Stocker had one regret, it’s that he didn’t address the problem of rental properties. He says there are good landlords, but there are bad ones, too.
“Council currently is putting a plan together to address the slum and blight issues — something that I wish I could have got accomplished under my tenure. But we believe we have a good plan in place that’s going to address the landlords that don’t want to take care of their properties,” he said.
Stocker had a list of other accomplishments, things like the demolition of 200 substandard structures, the resurfacing of 25 miles of city streets and construction of a new salt storage facility. Also, renovations to the wastewater treatment plant and to Mauthe Park, along with the construction of the north side green space gathering area.