By Nancy Price
Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley has decided to run as mayor for a third term.
“There are several young people that I want to groom to take over leadership of the city,” Buckley said. “This will give me the opportunity to work with them. I envision new leadership five to 10 years from now when my term is done. I want them to have the same, clear vision that I’ve had in the last 12 years.”
Buckley, a democrat, said that he will continue to focus on improvements in infrastructure this year, noting that the city has received more than $10 million in funding for these projects.
“We’re getting ready for Phase One of the Greenway,” he said. “We’ve installed sidewalks throughout the city and repaired sidewalks. We’ve made significant drainage improvements through the city. We still have a ways to go, though our road maintenance is excellent. We’ve paved so many roads.
We are working on a new concept: roundabouts at 26th and Churchman Avenues. We’re looking to get funding for a peanut roundabout to correct a series of dangerous intersections altogether. We’re looking to get funding for a sod grant on Main Street. Main Street has done really well and we want to spruce it up; we’re looking at improvements for some of these buildings. I’m really excited.”
Buckley noted that Beech Grove’s economy is doing well; property values have increased and the number of new businesses has grown tremendously.
“Since 2012, we have become home to more than 100 new businesses. Our value has assessed over $125 million. My property value has risen 16 percent in the last three years. Property sells really quick in our city,” he said.
Buckley said he will continue to focus on crime and safety in the community, although a high number of police officers and firefighters in Beech Grove has helped to reduce the city’s crime rate.
“Crime rate is down by over 5 percent from the previous three years,” he said. “We have more police officers and a more aggressive patrol. We (still) have to be very vigilant and ask the public to help us. Call when you see something (going wrong), say something. Turn the outside light on at night, lock your car. It’s a deterrent; all those little things help.”
Buckley is a lifetime Beech Grove resident and was a fireman for 30 years. His has been married to his wife, Patty, for more than 40 years. They have two children, Christopher and Lyndsay, and four grandchildren.
Rick Skirvin, a republican, has recently announced that he will be running against Buckley as Beech Grove Mayor. Attempts to reach Skirvin were unsuccessful.