RENSSELAER, Ind. (WLFI) – Rensselaer Mayor Stephen Wood was the latest mayor to appear on News 18 This Morning’s Mayor Monday segment. Wood, a Democrat, took office in 2012 and had previously served one mayoral term back in 1992.
During his latest time in office, Wood was elected immediately following an annexation. He admitted there were some so-called bumps in the road from that annexation, but that those had been straightened out. One of the biggest challenges following the annexation was the sewer system for a group of businesses by Interstate 65.
“There’s some places out there by I-65 and 114 that were in danger of their septic system getting in the way. So we did run a sewer. Those businesses are paying a surcharge plus a flow charge, and they’ve covering most of the billing on that. So, it wasn’t a burden on Rensselaer residents,” Wood said.
The city recently received a $5.2 million grant and a $1.8 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mayor Wood reflected on this and commented, “We consider ourselves very fortunate to get that, otherwise we were facing a big rate increase. Rensselear is sort of unique in the fact that we own all of our utilities. We have electric utilities, gas utilities, water, sewage, and even have our own garbage pickup.”
Rensselaer was also one of the many cities impacted by the news of AMTRAK’s Hoosier State Line coming to an end. However, a coalition of local leaders, including Mayor Wood and Lafayette and West Lafayette Mayors Tony Roswarski and John Dennis, were able to reach an agreement with the AMTRAK and the Indiana Department of Transportation to extend that route for at least one more year.
Wood said there’s also been focus on improving the city’s parks, particularly Potawatomi Park.
“We had a bridge that was across the Iroquis River south of town. We took that bridge and rehabbed it. It’s going to hook in to our trail system,” Wood said. “The park is being utilized. The other night we had movies in the park. We’re planning another one of those, plus we’re gonna have Rock the Arts in the park on July 26th.”
To see the full interview with the mayor, click the video above.