MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange’s last day in office before he hands over the reigns of the city.
After 10 years of leading the Capital City, Strange decided not to run for re-election.
“It’s bittersweet,” Strange admits. “I wish I had another year.”
He’s not really ready yet to walk out of that corner office, but Strange says he can look back over the last 10 years and see some very visible evidence of his leadership.
“Downtown now is being driven by the private sector,” the mayor explained.
The movement on the lower block of Dexter Avenue started almost as soon as he was sworn in.
“We’ve primed the pump, we’ve kind of turned the lights on,” Strange said. “For 40 years sat vacant and disrepair, because there was no disincentive to have property, there was no incentive to develop it. So we simply went and got some money to be able to offer 14 properties here on this lower part of Dexter Avenue to the private sector.”
The result: more than $25 million in private money invested in the Kress building alone; between $60-70 million invested in the Alley.
And while downtown is a source of pride, there are other projects, and moments of his term, he wishes he'd done better.
“It’s been frustrating that we’ve not been able to re-develop Cottage Hill quicker than we have, because it is just sitting there ready for the taking,” the mayor said. “The other big, big, big regret is that I didn’t start on education earlier.”
But Strange is stepping back from this position with his eyes on what’s ahead.
“I’m going to find fulfillment in doing things I’ve never done before. Like being able to sit at my table and enjoy a devotional and not have to run through it,” Strange said. “We’ll travel more. I’m going to be able to get back on some boards that I had to get off of because of conflict of interest. I’m going to be pulling for the next administration because I don’t want to see what we’ve accomplished do anything but continue to grow.”
Strange is leaving the office with a satisfied heart that’s full of appreciation.
“We’ll be forever grateful and it’s been the joy of our life," Strange said.
Mayor-Elect Steven Reed will be sworn in to office Tuesday.