By Russell Stokes, Cherokee Mayor

Thanks to everyone who entered the Christmas lighting contest sponsored by the Village Pride Committee and the Mayor. The displays were fantastic and reflected lots of work by their owners. Cash prizes were awarded for three places in each ward plus city-wide businesses. The prize amounts were $100 for first, $75 for second, and $50 for third. These lights in addition to the display at Town Center added to our celebration of the season in the city.
At the December City Council meeting the budget for 2023 was adopted plus confirmation of appointees to the Planning Commission. Authorization was given to the Police Department to secure a contract for purchase of two new vehicles in 2023. Funds for this purchase will be paid from ARPA monies the city received via the American Rescue Plan Act. Council member Chuck Kristopeit submitted his resignation effective at the end of the year which was accepted by the council. This creates a vacancy in Ward 1 Position 2. If any resident of that ward is interested in applying for the position, contact City Hall for further information about the requirements. The council also accepted the legislative audit report for 2021.
As this is the last column I will be writing as Mayor, I want to thank the council and city employees for their work during my two terms as Mayor. Also, I appreciate the support of the citizens of our city and wish all the best as we move forward into 2023 under a new Mayor. I have served 18 years in municipal government with 10 years as a council member and 8 years as Mayor.
During that time I had the opportunity to be involved in many things which have affected the growth of the city plus the challenges that impacted us as well. I am leaving office with the city on a sound financial base which did not exist when I entered my first term as Mayor. However, if Cherokee Village wants to continue to grow and most importantly retain quality employees additional revenue must be forthcoming.
Unfortunately, I am leaving office with some unfinished work to be completed. First, is the low water bridge project at Town Center. According to ARDOT work should commence on this project in May of 2023 unless it gets pushed back on the project list. It’s interesting to not I started working on this project 15 years ago and it has taken us this long to be where we are today. Second, is the installation of the playground at Tohi Trail. The equipment is in and with appropriate weather conditions erection and installation can be concluded. The equipment for this project was completely funded by business and personal donations. The playground will be ADA accessible. Last is the Tohi Trail extension where ground breaking occurred at the end of December. When the extension is finished another scenic vista will be available for exercise and viewing. This project is being funded through a grant from ARDOT.
Finally, I thank all the volunteers who helped the city to progress and who realized without volunteer assistance progress would not be made. There are two volunteer groups I wish to acknowledge for their work and they are the CV Volunteer Firefighters and the Village Pride Committee. And a Happy New Year to all and let’s continue to work together for a quality city.