XENIA — After a dozen years with the City of Xenia and more than two decades in public service, Mary Crockett decided it was time.
“I hit 60 last December,” Crockett, the city’s community development coordinator said. “It’s just the right time.”
So Crockett announced she is retiring effective the end of the day Wednesday, Oct. 31. It’s no trick and it will definitely be a treat for her family, with whom she intends to spoil with her presence.
“I feel like I need to take a breather and just spend some time with my family,” she said. Crockett’s mom recently died and her father is 89 and she wants to be around him more.
Crockett began her community development career with Xenia in February 2006 and was instrumental in researching and writing grants to help fund city projects.
She assisted Toward Independence, Inc., with completing façade renovations through the Xenia Downtown Façade Loan Program which attracted “One Bistro,” a restaurant built on a mission to feed people while re-integrating individuals with development disabilities into the community and workplace.
In early 2013, Crockett worked with the Downtown Xenia Now Revitalization Committee to officially recognize Xenia’s Downtown historic commercial structures on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2016 the National Slow Roll Bike movement was introduced in Xenia. The Slow Roll Bike events were designed to give citizens a better perspective of their community, and to raise awareness about the trails and the rich history between Xenia and Wilberforce.
More recently, Crockett implemented the HUD HOPE VI-Main Street grant and historic tax credits which will soon bring five units of mixed-use, upper floor housing to the historic Litt Brothers Building at 21 E. Main Street. This was the only such grant awarded nationally for downtown revitalization projects.
Of all her projects, Crockett is most proud of One Bistro because of how it tied in with the renovation of Toward Independence.
“It’s kept life in the street, I think it transformed Main Street,” she said. “If you look at pictures of downtown 12 years ago and how it looks now. It’s really gratifying to see that progress that’s been made. I’m (also) really excited about housing for Xenia. It’s been an amazing ride.”
Crockett’s passion for Xenia was recognized when she was presented with Heritage Ohio’s “2017 Heritage Ohio Best Public Leader in Revitalization Award.”
“Mary has always been a strong advocate for Xenia, especially the downtown,” Xenia Development Director Steve Brodsky said. “She was a champion for downtown when few others were looking at it. Many of the improvements we have seen can be credited to her conviction that downtown can be so much more.”
Even though she will no longer be on the payroll, Crockett will continue to root for Xenia.
“I’m leaving the job, but I’m not leaving the city,” she said. “There’s some things here that still really matter to me that I want to come and enjoy.”
Among them she listed the bike trails and new shops. Crockett also wants to be around for the ribbon cutting of the HOPE VI project.
And she also wants to continue working toward repurposing the Carnegie Library.
“That’s going to be my volunteer thing that I don’t want to give up,” Crockett said.
But for now, she just wants to chill. “I was hoping to sleep for a couple days,” Crockett said with a laugh.
Based on her accomplishments in Xenia, she’s earned it.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.