Mayor David prepares to leave office April 15
Things take time. As Mayor John David reflected on things he’s worked on while in office, he expressed it takes time to make big projects happen.
“I’ve always told people I’m not a sprinter, I’m a plotter,” he said. “I was a lineman when I played football. I wasn’t very fast and I’m not very fast at this stuff, but I think if you take your time and you make your case, you get a lot more support.”
David’s last day as mayor of Watertown is Monday, April 15. Even as the day creeps closer, he still has a pretty busy schedule.
David was voted into office as mayor in April of 2013, serving two consecutive terms. He also served as mayor from April 2001 through 2007.
David was alderman on the Watertown Common Council from April 1996 through April 2001 and April 2011 through April 2013.
One memorable project for David was working through the process for the downtown redevelopment.
“I think that has such great potential to reinvigorate the downtown but it all takes time to happen,” he said, adding he is confident it will happen and it will be good for the city.
Other accomplishments he’s made throughout his time as mayor over the years include reorganizing the Park and Recreation Department, the Streets Department and the City of Watertown Water Commission.
When asked what he wished he would have accomplished as mayor, David said he would have loved to have been able to fix more streets in the city.
“Our streets really need a lot of help and we just don’t have the funds to do as much as what needs to be done.”
Another thing David said was important is acquiring more industrial land, which the city is lacking.
“That is partially my fault, I’m going to say,” he said. “We did have some land available on our industrial park, but now it’s really all spoken for by the businesses that are out there.”
He mentioned there is some land that is suitable for industrial purposes at the edge of the city and the owners are interested in selling. He said he has talked about this with Emily McFarland, the city’s newly elected mayor.
In regards to McFarland taking office on Tuesday, April 16, David believes she will do a wonderful job.
“She certainly has the desire, she has the intelligence,” David said. “She’s going to have a learning curve; I had a learning curve. As matter of fact, I still have a learning curve. Every day I learn something. But she is a willing learner and I think she will do a super job.”
One thing David said was important when being the mayor is to be aware of all of the departments because he believes they all are important to Watertown.
He directed his attention to his office door, which he said was about 42 inches wide.
“When you get past that door, your field of vision needs to broaden because there’s all kinds of things in the city that the mayor has to be aware of,” he said.
David’s vision for the future of Watertown is having a completed and redeveloped downtown and a more promoted and featured Rock River.
″(The river) is a hidden gem,” he said.
David said the river walkway needs to be expanded and there are plans in the future to work on making the river a more attractive feature in the city.
“And again, those things take time, they take money and hopefully that will happen,” he said.
One thing David said he would miss about the job is working with all the people in the city departments and citizens.
“Overall the people of Watertown have been wonderful to me,” he said. ” ... That is our strength in this city and that strength is the people here.”
David is not exactly sure what he will do when his term ends.
“I tell everybody I got a big basement that needs to be cleaned,” he said.
He hopes to travel more with his wife during the winter to warmer places. He said he will still be active in the community by being part of a few committees in the city and volunteering at the Watertown Food Pantry with his wife.
The public is invited to Mayor John David’s open house for his retirement from office at the municipal building on Thursday during office hours of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.