Rogers selected as ‘Mayor for a Day’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 8, 2001

News Editor

Some people dream of serving their community as a member of the local government, but that dream only comes true for some people.

But this year seventh grade students at Charles Henderson Middle School and Pike Liberal Arts School got the opportunity to run the city of Troy for one day by participating in a new program called "Mayor for a Day."

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Once the "votes" were counted Chase Rogers of PLAS was "elected" as the mayor of Troy on Nov. 13. The city council will be made up of Julea Maestri, president, of CHMS; Cole Mitchell, president pro-tem, of CHMS; and council members Dominque Wilson, Hannah Lee and Denise Cain, all of CHMS.

The new juvenile mayor and city council members weren’t chosen by their peers, but by a panel of judges that selected a mayor, president of the city council, president pro-tem of the city county and three council members based on essays submitted by the students.

Seventy-three essays were submitted.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford visited PLAS and CHMS Wednesday to announce the winner of the "election" and speak to the students about their essays and future plans for Troy.

"Many of you mentioned needing a mall or a better place to shop in Troy," Lunsford said to the students about the submitted essays. "But you didn’t say we just needed them; you gave reasons why. That means you understand what you are being taught."

Lunsford explained the process of recruiting new businesses like department stores to the area and told the students that the big retail stores look at the population of a city when they are deciding where to locate. He said he is working with the economic development team and pledged to the students that by the time this year is over Troy will have an upscale department store.

The mayor mentioned the desire of the students to have more places to eat in the city.

"We’ve got to have an Applebee’s," Lunsford said, drawing a round of applause from his young audience. He told the students Applebee’s had been to Troy several times and looked, but had not made a decision to locate here.

Lunsford said the students also wrote about wanting something like a YMCA and bigger recreation facilities including a track, indoor pool, racquetball court and more basketball courts. Lunsford told the students about the 70 acres the city recently purchased beside the Troy Sportsplex and the plans being made for a facility like the one mentioned in the letters.

"The essays you wrote were not a waste of time," Lunsford said. "It helps us to hear from you. Your essays are a reflection of conversations around the dinner table with your parents."

On Tuesday, Nov. 13 the selected students will spend the day as the mayor and city council. Their day will begin at 8 a.m. with breakfast at city hall. The students will tour an industry in Troy, visit the fire and police departments, have lunch with the mayor and city council, visit the waste water treatment plant, attend the executive council work session and have an active part in the Troy City Council meeting that evening.