MOUNT VERNON — The Kiwanis Club of Mount Vernon held a luncheon honoring Richard Mavis, the soon-to-be-retired mayor of Mount Vernon.
The club thanked Mavis for his service as mayor and handed out cake in celebration. Mavis was asked to reminisce about his time as major and spoke about several big projects and the stories that go along with them, that he oversaw while in office.
“I had to go back and think about campaigns and I really have been in 17 campaigns,” Mavis said. “And I’m 14 and 3.”
The three losses come in the form of running for mayor for the first time, running for state representative in 1983, and for running commissioner again. He joked about his track record, saying that at “Ohio State, you get fired for that.”
The main topic, though, was several big projects and the long process of getting them done. This included the widening of Coshocton Road, the Kokosing Gap Trail, the cross-town bike trail and several others.
“If you’re in the office, you get phone calls about concerns,” Mavis started, telling about a phone call he received back in 1996 as the city was figuring out how to widen Coshocton Road. This call, in particular came from a mother. After seeing an older couple nervous and frightened when she honked her horn to make a left turn out of Wendy’s, she told Mavis that he had to do something with that road.
“I said ‘we’re working on it.’ It took us three to four years to do Coshocton, which turned out to be a great project,” he said.
The next story Mavis told was about the creation of a bike path that would run from Mount Vernon to Gambier, which would become part of the Kokosing Gap Trail. Talks about the trail started in 1990 and took several years of talking before actually completing it. Mavis said that he wanted to be supportive but had to deal with the people who didn’t.
“Like everything else you don’t want, you think of all the reasons you don’t want it,” he said about the people who didn’t want the trial. He gave several examples people came up with like rouge groundhogs, skunks, cattle roaming the trails, and, of course, litter. He gives credit to Phil Samuel who, along with first opening talks about the trail, helped get the money together to build the trail to Gambier before a lot of grant money was available.
Mavis talked about several other projects and eventually got around to the topic of overseeing marriages. Over 24 years, Mavis oversaw 1,533 marriages and had a few stories to tell about those as well. He said he always told the couples that the marriage license is suitable “for framing or putting into the dresser drawer never to be seen again.”
“This young man jumped up and snapped it out of my hands. He said ‘I know just where I’m going to put it,’” Mavis said. “I said ‘where would that be?’ (He said) ‘Right on top of my dresser which is over my boa constrictor’s cage.’”
The meeting ended with a short question and answer session with Mavis. He did say that he wasn’t sure what he was going to get into after retirement, mentioning that his wife is a little concerned that he will just hang out around the house. He joked that he might join the Kiwanis Club to take up his Mondays. The club responded to that by giving Mavis an application.
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