ANNA — Bob Anderson’s time as the mayor of Anna has come to a close after serving a combined 10 years on the village council and as mayor.
“My reasons for not running for mayor again are my age, I’m tired and I want to enjoy a few good years of complete retirement. I’m 80 years old, and I’m starting to feel like I’m 80, I haven’t much before … it’s time for some young blood,” he said. “If I was younger, say 70, I wouldn’t even think about quitting.”
Anderson has been a resident of Anna for almost 60 years.
“I just love the whole community and the people. I was successful, but mainly because great kids and tremendous parents – that’s what it takes. They were all for their kids getting a good education and being successful in sports, and that was right up my alley; that’s what I wanted too,” he said.
“Where is there a better place to raise kids?” Anderson asked. That was our main objective in finding a place to live, he said. It was a very comfortable place to live. No one locked their cars or houses (in the early 60s). There couldn’t be a better place to raise kids. I absolutely love that town and the whole community. It’s not just Anna, but the whole school district is great, he said.
Anderson attended college at The Ohio State University and, soon after, started teaching school in Anna, and did for 30 years. He spent time as the athletic director and a basketball coach, and even drove a school bus half a day for 19 years.
One of his favorite things to do as mayor was marry people. Anderson married 37 couples of all ages in the five years he was mayor and he loved that.
“I’ve always had a very successful married life, and maybe I’ve passed that on. I’ve only heard of one couple that I’ve married in those years separating – and I think that’s a pretty good average. Of course, I don’t know about all of them,” he said. “It’s a very rewarding thing, and it’s exciting; it’s fun.”
The Anna Park is one of Anderson’s most notable accomplishments while mayor. He calls it one of Anna’s most precious and outstanding landmarks.
“It’s very important to the community and we’ve accomplished a lot of things. It’s a continual thing. It just keeps getting better and better,” he said.
It got it’s start back in the middle 70s. The Anna Ladies League came up with the idea that Anna was lacking a nice park which could be developed on some land on the west wend of town. Hundreds of people have had a hand in the development of the park over the years. Last summer, two former Anna residents donated the money to extend the park walking path from six-tenths of a mile to a full mile.
The extension was dedicated to Anderson, back in October, for his many years of service to the community.
Other improvements to the Village of Anna have come with the now 35 businesses the village is home to.
Anna has a small, five-business strong, professional mall, and a Family Dollar store now. Anna IGA is doing a wonderful job updating their produce to combine with their excellent choice and quality of their meat counter, he said. In the accompanying information box, Anderson lists more of Anna’s recent progress.
They have a population around 1,600 people and have 1,300 children in the school system. Anderson said, we need a police officer on duty 24 hours a day to keep the growing amount of people safe.
“After seeing our additional income tax levy defeated by a margin of nine votes in the November election, the council is contemplating putting the same levy on (the ballot) again in 2016. This money would allow us to hire a second full time police officer and maintain our auxiliary police pool,” Anderson said.
He is also hoping a new sidewalk from Pike Street to Interstate 75 will be put in place soon. The only way for kids to get out that way is to walk or ride their bike in the street or in people’s yards, Anderson said.
“The people along 119, going out to the interstate, will have to pay for the material, at least, for the sidewalk that goes in, but they’re all for it,” he said.
Anderson noted how he enjoyed the mayor meetings on “Blue Moon Monday’s”. The meeting of all the mayors in the county have been extremely popular and helpful to us all, he said.
“I am so pleased to have Mike Barhorst as well as the other mayors as personal friends. Sidney is so fortunate to have Mike as their leader and I wish him the very best for years to come,” he said.
Our current village council is the best one we’ve had in the years I’ve been associated with Anna’s town government, he said.
“Our main objective as a governmental body is to do everything we can to insure that we are working with the majority of the Anna community in mind. We as council members or mayor, have no room for personal or political agendas which will only benefit us or a few of our friends,” he said. “We have been and I hope, will be concerned about the well being of our citizens and first and foremost our children.”
In his retirement, Anderson plans to do some more traveling. He has been to every state in The United States except Hawaii. He’s also been to Canada, all over The Caribbean, and to Europe three times.
“I just love to go places. … And of course I’m a basketball and football nut. I am a season ticket holder to Ohio State and have been for about 30 years,” he said.
Anderson wished the new mayor, Mark Pulfer luck, when he takes office Jan. 1. “He is young, strong, a hard worker and just stubborn enough to be a good mayor,” Anderson said.
He said he has learned a lot by being involved in local government and for the most part it has been a blessing. He wanted to thank everyone who has supported him and the council in the past 10 years.
“I wish you all the very best as we continue to live in one of God’s special places,” he said. “For everything I am, or have, as well as the friends around me; I owe it all to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He deserves all the honor and glory.”
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN