Mayor won't seek seventh term

Tim Orendorff/Photo Editor HAPPY TRAILS: West Lafayette Mayor Sonya Margerum announced Wednesday afternoon her intentions to not run for re-election at the end of her term at the West Lafayette City Hall. Margerum will have served as West Lafayette mayor for 24 years.

Mayor Sonya Margerum will not seek a seventh term as mayor in November.

Margerum made the announcement as some people cried during a press conference at City Hall on Thursday.

"At the end of 2003, I will have served 24 years and the time has come to move on and to turn the reins of government over to the new administration," she said at the press conference.

Margerum, 72, has been serving as mayor since 1980 and was first elected in 1979. She has been re-elected five times. Previous to serving as mayor she served on the West Lafayette Common Council.

She said there is no one factor that led her to her decision, but part of the decision comes from being "satisfied and comfortable" with her years as mayor.

"I've been elected six times," she said," and a lot of the goals I set out have been accomplished."

Among her proudest accomplishments Margerum lists developing the city's strategic plan — which has since been updated several times — in 1987 and building the partnership between the city and Purdue.

She said she is looking forward to the rest of the year in which the completion of the West Lafayette Police Station, Lindberg Road construction and several other projects are scheduled to be completed.

In recent years Margerum has overseen numerous projects including the $57 million Wabash Landing — which saw the completion of the parking garage and Riverside Skating Center at Tapawingo Park last year — and the expansion of the Purdue Research Park, which is about to enter its second phase of development and provide more jobs for the city.

In 2001 Margerum and Purdue president Martin Jischke formed two community issues committees comprised of University and West Lafayette representatives to address issues common to both. Issues addressed in the committees range from housing to communication between the University and the city.

At last week's State of the City address, Margerum announced that the city's budget is healthy and the city is about to draft a new strategic plan.

City council member Jan Mills, D-2nd, said she is sad to see Margerum step down from the position

"She's a great mayor, a fabulous mayor," she said. "She's been absolutely wonderful to work with."

Mills said the greatest thing Margerum brings to the position is her vision.

"Vision for the community and how she wanted it to grow," Mills said. "You can list off all the projects but you have to have vision."

After her term is up, Margerum plans to do some traveling and visit her children and grandchildren.

Margerum's announcement comes on the eve of the February filing deadline for mayoral candidates. No names have been announced yet as to who will succeed Margerum as the Democratic candidate for mayor or for the Republican candidacy, but announcements are expected soon.

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