Elwood Mayor Ron Arnold Working to Improve Quality of Life
By Katelynn Thys
ELWOOD, INDIANA (NEWS) - Elwood Indiana Mayor Ron Arnold said he has used the relationships he made while being campaign manager for Governor Mike Pence to help aid and improve the city in the 21-months he has been in office. According to Al Jordan, The Computer Dude, the mayor has grown the reserve fund $1.2 million.
After spending 10-years with Governor Pence, Mayor Arnold moved back to Elwood and started a consulting business. Upon his arrival to the city he began to look for someone to run for mayor.
“I wanted to help more of the good guys elected so I went to look for them,” Mayor Arnold said. “Somehow the conversation always got turned back to me, so I ended up running in 2011, which is something I never thought I would do. “
Al Jordan said the mayor has always done what he could to make Elwood a better place to live.
“So far that’s all I see is him making it better,” he said. “When he first took office, the only reason he was doing it was because the city was in crises.”
On his first day in office, the Mayor immediately began work on an Indiana Department of Environmental Management Agreed Order and began using his resources to find the cheapest but most efficient way of fixing the water and waste problem. Elwood’s current system is similar to Indianapolis because it combines storm water and sanitary water. The last time the plant had work done was in the early 90’s.
The initial cost of fixing the plant was $35 million. A heavy-burden for the taxpayers and 3700 customers the plant services, to pay. The special committee was formed and accepted a bid from an outside engineering firm for $7 million. This would be the entire cost for building a new plant that increases the amount of water it can process per day from 3.2 to 15 million gallons a day.
Mayor Arnold said to improve the quality of life in Elwood he wanted to focus on two aspects of the city -Parks and Recreation and abandoned properties. He helped raise $80,000 from private funds to re-open a pool house that had been closed for 5 years. To ensure there were no “children standing on the outside of the fence looking in” the pool was sponsored by local businesses and churches so kids under the age of 18 did not have pay. This created summer jobs for high school and college kids.
The administration owns 50 of the 500 abandoned properties, but the mayor says they will continue to tackle this issue until there are no more left. In the beginning of October, Mayor Arnold took a trip to Japan to meet with Sakamoto company officials to further seek out possible inhibiters of these abandoned properties.
The mayor has also made a lot of little improvements here and there, like getting a new flag and replacing lighting around the city.
“ I’ve been here 15 years and it’s the first time I seen a street sweeper – may not be big news but a lot of little things add up,” Al Jordan said.
For more information on updates on what the Mayor is doing, visit the Elwood Indiana community website.