Tomorrow, Mayor Thatcher Kezer will step down after eight years in office as mayor of Amesbury, ending his run as the longest serving mayor in the city’s history.
Kezer, 53, won’t be leaving on his own terms — he was defeated by Mayor-elect Ken Gray by a mere three votes in the November city election. But he said that despite the way things ended, he is proud of what his administration has accomplished and remains satisfied by the progress Amesbury has made since he first won election in 2005.
During his time in office, Kezer shepherded Amesbury through the worst economic downturn in recent memory, and under his leadership the city was able to secure funding for a number of major capital projects, including the Costello Transportation Center and the relocation of the DPW building.
His enduring legacy will likely prove to be the soon-to-be-revitalized Lower Millyard, which will be cleaned up and turned into the brand-new Heritage Park over the coming years. The Riverwalk trail will be completed and linked to Main Street around the same time as well, and the result will be a completely transformed downtown area, he said.
Kezer will likely also be remembered for his leadership during the numerous weather emergencies that threatened the community over the years, most notably the Mother’s Day flood of 2006 and the massive ice storm of 2008, each of which threatened to cause serious damage and significantly impacted residents citywide.
“What I’ve learned is that in a leadership position, if you lose your cool, then all is lost,” Kezer said. “So standing there in that parking lot waiting to see if the river was going to rise another inch, it was just about making the best decisions to manage the situation you have and to anticipate what may happen.”