OWOSSO CITY MANAGER DON CRAWFORD (left) is shown beside then Mayor Ben Frederick, on Monday, Aug. 16, 2010 in council chambers, after his job description had formally been changed from ‘interim.’ The ceremonial photo was taken during the regular Owosso City Council meeting. At the time, Crawford had agreed to give the city a minimum of three years. Seven years and numerous city council meetings later, Crawford is announcing his retirement.
(Independent File Photo/Bill Constine)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
Owosso City Manager Don Crawford, who formally stepped into the position in August 2010, has acknowledged that he plans on retiring next year, though Crawford also stated that he doesn’t much care for the word “retire.”
“There will be things I’ll stay involved in. I’m not exactly sure which ones just yet,” Crawford stated. “I’m not one to sit on the front porch and watch the cars go by. I’ll stay active.”
When asked about his position with the city, Crawford stated, “Owosso has turned out to be such a wonderful place. This ranks among the top communities. This is a pretty superior community. And as far as city operation is concerned, we have wonderful operators. They are faced with the age-old problems of having to do more with less, with tight finances, and not having all the resources… One of the most positive things happening, with the current strength of the economy, is the downtown area is pretty much filled up with businesses of one sort or another, creating a central core of strength that reflects on the entire community.”
Crawford said that retirement has been a subject he has been considering for two years. At this time, as he nears retirement next year, he is very pleased with the ongoing street and related infrastructure construction. “Dealing with that hidden, underground infrastructure as we are going along because many of the old ones are in very bad shape, and as we’re completing this process, we’re now getting a real understanding of what needs to be done.” There are locations in Owosso where the infrastructure dates back over a century. Owosso City Council has developed a plan to rebuild the underlying infrastructure so that the more obvious areas of above ground construction will not deteriorate so rapidly and have to be repeatedly replaced. Ultimately, this should save property owners in the future.
“I’m really proud we’ve been able to squeeze necessary projects out of limited resources,” Crawford said. As for Owosso? “I have no hesitancy walking down any street in town. Anything you need is within walking distance of Main and Washington streets. Theater, arts center, hardware stores; plenty of places to keep you busy.”
From the Owosso Mayor
Recently, Owosso City Manager Don Crawford advised the City Council of his plans to retire in February 2018.
Over the past seven years, Owosso has benefited greatly from Don’s 40 plus years experience and his service to our city. He came along at a crossroads in Owosso; on one hand there was an emerging energy coming from a new batch of enthusiastic leaders and developers seeking to reinvent Owosso’s success. On the other, the city seemed beset by problems. Gradually, I witnessed Don make many of those problems into issues of the past. I am grateful for his many contributions and his friendship. His leadership will be sorely missed.
Leaving these successes to the past, the City Council must now turn to the future. In the next several months the council will deliberate on a process, collaborate with the public, and perform the single most important task to which we are entrusted; selecting a new city manager. We look forward now, as ever, to hearing from our citizens and stakeholders during this time. It is vitally important that whomever is chosen that the public be involved, and we look forward to rigorous participation. I am firmly confident in the skills and abilities of this council in making a wise decision that will secure the safety and prosperity of our city’s future.
Christopher T. Eveleth
Mayor, City of Owosso