FORT LORAMIE — Fort Loramie Mayor Phil Eilerman was defeated in November’s election, following his filing as a write-in candidate.
Eilerman, who has been mayor for 10 years, and on the village council for six years before that, is proud of what he got to accomplish in his time as mayor.
“One of the things I am proud of is when I started in politics we didn’t have a grocery store. So I was able to get with Wally Wagner in Minster and he was very interested and that’s how we ended up getting the commercial lot there right across from the industrial park. That was a very well needed addition there,” he said.
Eilerman grew up five miles outside of Fort Loramie and moved into town when he married his wife Carolyn. He and his wife ended up having four children, and now they have three grandchildren and one on the way. He retired from Honda in June of 2014.
Eilerman was proud of many things he got to do as mayor, including when the industrial park grew and they had to end up buying additional ground. They were able to almost double the size of the industrial park.
“That was probably one of the times I was the most nervous because I had to sign for a three quarter of a million dollar type of loan, so when I put my name down on that it just made me kind of nervous,” Eilerman said. “And a few years ago we purchased ground for a new water field and was able to put up a new water treatment plant.”
He said the village is growing, “We’re the fastest growing village in Shelby County in the last two decades. We’re trying to keep the balance of industrial and residential growth equal. We’ve been very successful with that too.”
Going through ‘08 was tough because of the recession, he said. But Fort Loramie didn’t get quite as hard as other villages in the county.
The biggest challenge for Eilerman as mayor was before they had a village administrator.
“The previous mayor had worked as the administrator and the mayor. When I took over the position, I was working in Indian Lake at the time, and on my entire drive home I’d take call after call and be on the phone into the evening,” he said. “I didn’t realize how many small little problems he dealt with.”
Eventually council brought on an administrator and Eilerman could deal with more bigger picture stuff.
“I love the planning. When I first started, the town pretty much operated year to year, and maybe looked out two years, but not much further than that. Now we’re starting to look out five years,” he said. “We know what streets we’re going to re-do five years from now.”
Eilerman said they have a plan in place for how the park is going to develop.
“We have a main street project that is going to be the biggest project the town is ever going to take on,” he said. “That planning and type of stuff is what I enjoy. Seeing the town grow is fun and has been fun for 16 years.”
“One of the neat things that has happened was recently when we re-did the downtown park. It was so neat to see the town come together and you see all these volunteers come up and ask ‘what can I do to help?’ I thought it was so heat to see something like that,” Eilerman said.
Over the 16 years of being on council it was mostly Eilerman’s generation calling the shots, but over the past few years a new generation has started to get on council and have input. Eilerman enjoyed getting to work with them and getting their ideas.
Eilerman looked up to the previous mayor. He said, he liked to do things the right way, it may take a little longer, or cost a little more money, but he liked that about him and used that same sort of philosophy as mayor. “He would listen, then give his honest opinion, and that’s what a mayor should do,” he said.
With his free time, Eilerman is looking forward to traveling more. “It’s a big beautiful country. I love getting to sit behind a wheel and drive and seeing what this country is all about,” he said.
As for the new mayor and council, Eilerman wishes them all the luck. “I know there are some major projects coming, so it’s going to be stressful for them,” he said.
“We’ll see in a couple years if I’m interested again, it’s hard to say what I’ll do, but I haven’t really thought that far ahead. It’s a neat town. I loved serving for it,” he said.
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN