Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer closed out his final meeting on the City Council last night with this statement:
“I would like to begin these closing remarks by thanking the one person who has been my number one supporter from day one of this journey: my beautiful wife Cheryl.
It has been the privilege of my life to serve as Mayor of Apopka. I have been given a rare opportunity: to see and do things in Apopka that few people ever get to see. Whether it’s getting a behind-the-scenes look at the wastewater plant, or watching our firefighters train for competition or whether it is watching how the planning for our community comes together. It is all special, I can assure you.
I have gotten the chance to participate in the fabric of the life of our community in ways that few people get to see. From going around and to say thank you to all of the vendors at the annual Apopka Art & Foliage Festival to watching the Challenger Baseball League for kids with disabilities organized by the Apopka Little League to riding in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade to shaking hands with all of Apopka’s high school graduates – at both Apopka and Wekiva High Schools — I have a front-row seat to the slices of life in Apopka that make our community unique. I wish everyone who lives in Apopka had the same opportunity to see all of the wonderful things I have been a part of.
One of the rules that boy scouts learn is: “Leave your campsite better than you found it.” And I think we’ve done that in Apopka over the past four years.
- The Apopka City Center deal is in place and construction is slated to get underway later this year.
- The New Errol Project now has zoning approval and the development team is moving forward with the next step. Thank you to community development director Jim Hitt and City Attorney Cliff Shepard for protecting the City’s interests and shepherding that project forward.
- Our fire department has maintained its ISO-1 rating and is poised to keep that rating with our recent expansion that includes two new fire stations. Thank you, Chief Chuck Carnesale.
- Our police department is now accredited. Thank you, Chief Mike McKinley.
- A $60-million upgrade to the city’s wastewater plant is well underway and on track to open phase 1 in September. Thank you Jay Davoll.
- We also now have one of the most successful summer youth employment programs in the State of Florida, thanks to Shakenya Harris-Jackson and our partners at Career Source Central Florida.
- Shakenya also played a key role in another project, of which I am personally proud of: the re-building of Lake Avenue Park.
As I close out the past four years of my life, I would like to thank all of the 440 men and women who work hard every day at the City of Apopka. In particular, I would like to thank my executive assistant, Merry Lovern, the first person to join my team and who helped me tremendously throughout my time in office. I also would like to say thank you to Glenn Irby, our City Administrator, who stepped into a tough role and accomplished a great many things.
Next week, I will return to private life, and I can assure you that I look forward to the next chapter that life brings to Cheryl and me. I wish good luck to Mayor-Elect Bryan Nelson and to the next Apopka City Council.
I’m very grateful for all of the opportunities – and the challenges – that come with this job. I am better for it.
Thank you very much and we are adjourned.”
Stay with The Apopka Voice for more details today and in the coming days on Kilsheimer’s term in office, as well as Commissioner Diane Velazquez, the retirement of Commissioner Billie Dean, the swearing-in of Mayor-Elect Bryan Nelson and Commissioners-Elect Alice Nolan and Alexander Smith.