On Monday, Dec. 10, a retirement party was thrown for Auburn Mayor Dewey Roche, which drew many supporters, friends and family.
Roche will be leaving as Auburn’s mayor come January and it will be a bitter sweet departure as serving the city has been his life for the past 26 years.
Roche decided not to run this time around. He began his service for the city as a councilmen serving 14 years before becoming mayor in 2001. Roche decided to become involved in government because he wanted to give something back to a city that gave him and his family so much when they moved here from Illinois.
“People were so welcoming to me and my family when we came here,” said Roche. “I just wanted to repay them for what they did. The pay for a mayor is not much, but the opportunity to give back to the community is priceless.”
A lot has been accomplished over the past two and a half decades since Roche came on the scene. He said it has always been a group effort with the council and the employees who work for the city. It is everyone that makes the city a success, he says, as well as all the people who live here.
“We’ve been blessed with a good council and employees, whom without we could not have accomplished what we have.” said Roche.
Some of those accomplishments that have stuck out over the years include the purchase of the new city hall, several police cruisers, mobile date terminals, video cameras, playground equipment, and a fire truck. The city has refurbished the camping area at the park, obtained a grant to build the skateboard area at the park, and completed a water line and meter replacement. There are now apartments for the senior population, including a senior center which is scheduled to be open the first of the year.
The senior center is one of Roche’s biggest dreams come true while in office. He said it was something he wanted to get done when he first came on board as mayor and now it has become a reality. The city received a $500,000 grant from the state to build the center.
“Mayor Roche has been a well-known face in Frankfort from where he has meet with legislators keeping Auburn in the fore-front,” said State Representative Martha Jane King, who was at Roche’s farewell party.
The experience as mayor has been 95 percent positive, said Roche. Of course you always have bad times, but we don’t dwell on them. We’ve been able to help a lot of people.”