EDWARDSVILLE — This spring, Edwardsville will have a new mayor for the first time in 20 years.
Mayor Gary Niebur has announced he will not run for a sixth term. "The time has come for me to focus on other things," he said. "It's been a great run."
Niebur, 56, said he made the decision not to run this summer, after discussing it with his family.
"It is truly an honor to serve this great community, but the time has come to dedicate my time and energy to my family and other endeavors," Niebur said. "My desire to have a positive impact on this community has remained strong and unwavering from the day I first took office and will continue beyond my tenure as mayor. I am extremely proud to have played a role in the success of this thriving community."
Niebur is also executive director of the Edwardsville YMCA, which he intends to continue. "The mayor's job is a part-time job with full-time responsibilities," he said.
Four people have already picked up petitions to place their names on the ballot. They include aldermen Barb Jurgena-Stamer, Art Risavy and Janet Haroian and Hal Patton, who was just re-elected to the Madison County Board last week.
Niebur was first elected mayor in 1992, preceded by eight years as an alderman -- the longest-serving mayor in the city's history and the first to serve more than three terms in a century. He said when he was first elected to the City Council, his oldest child was an infant, and over the years since he and his wife Debby had three more children.
"Just as my own family grew, I witnessed and treasured being a part of the remarkable growth of the city of Edwardsville," Niebur said.
In most of his races he was uncontested; in 2009, he easily defeated a challenger with the support of nearly the entire council and other city leaders.
In Niebur's tenure as mayor, Edwardsville nearly doubled in population. The city also saw extensive growth in residential construction, including a spike in 2006 with nearly 800 building permits issued.
There also was a boom in economic development, including the renovation of Main Street, the rebirth of the Wildey Theater, the construction of Governors Parkway and the Edwardsville Crossing shopping center, which was developed via a sales tax surcharge instead of a tax increment financing district.
Niebur said he feels he has done his best to serve the people of Edwardsville.
"As mayor, I witnessed countless accomplishments resulting from people working together to make Edwardsville a great place in which to live, work and raise their families," he said. "While my family has always been my highest priority, this community has been, and will continue to be, a significant part of my family."
Petitions for the spring ballot must be turned in Dec. 17-24. The election will take place April 9.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@
bnd.com or 239-2501.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at email@example.com or 239-2501.