By Mayor Eileen Bulan
I started writing this column in April of 2010. It is hard to believe that it has been eight years. It is also hard to believe that this is my last column.
I began my journey with the City of Vermilion in 1980 as Clerk of City Council. The City Council members at that time were Margaret Shafts, President of Council, Tom Hale, Dean Rapprich, Martha Long, Jim Reese, Jean Stemple and Sue Stempowski. The city was much different than it is today. Many of the residents worked at Ford Motor Company and all you saw on the roads were Ford vehicles. The City of Vermilion and the Vermilion schools were really growing. Also, new on the horizon were fax machines and computers. I was the first one in the city to have a computer. Bob Martin was the Finance Director and he thought it would be a good idea. His plan was to save all the discs so we would always have a permanent record. Of course, what we did not know is that those machines would be completely outdated in a few years and the discs would be obsolete.
I worked for City Council for fourteen years and served with eight different City Councils. In 1994, when Elizabeth Sheehe became Mayor, I went to work for her as her assistant. In 1996, I was appointed Director of Public Service and served in that position until the end of 2005. Then, I began my first retirement only to come back in 2010 as your Mayor. I never planned on being Mayor but am very grateful that I had the opportunity to serve this community.
Much has changed in the City since 1980. Ford Motor has closed the Lorain plant and many people had to transfer to other automotive plants. Vermilion has truly become a tourist town with our population doubling in the summer time. I always say that the tourists to our community appreciate our town more than the residents. When you see them walking on the streets, they love to tell you how much they love our town, our river and Lake Erie.
I believe that we have seen a new resurgence of energy and volunteerism is our town. I don’t think there is another town that has so many volunteers that are willing to give of their time and talent every time you ask them. We also are a very generous community. When someone is in need, we step forward and have fundraisers and help them. Another great example of this was when the City was going to purchase the Inland Seas Museum property. The support was fantastic and we were able to raise $1,650,000 with approximately $800,000 from our residents and foundations. It was unbelievable how people stepped forward to preserve our lakefront in downtown Vermilion.
There is so much more I could say about the people in Vermilion. I thank all the directors and employees of the City and the City Council for all their support and help. Our employees work very hard to make this city a better place. I thank the residents and businesses for all you have done for our community. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you. I am not leaving Vermilion. I live here, I will always care about our town and look forward to the future.
There is a quote hanging in the City Council chambers written by Margaret Mead that says: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I think the citizens of Vermilion reflect this statement and should be proud of themselves for all that we have accomplished and will accomplish in the future for our Great Town on a Great Lake! Thank you everyone!