Spring Lake swears in new mayor

December 16, 2011 7:20:15 PM PST
For the first time in a decade, the Town of Spring Lake has a new mayor.

Political newcomer Chris Rey took the oath Friday evening. It marks a new start, many say, for a community that's had its share of troubles.

It's definitely a big deal for the small town.

"This is absolutely huge," said Spring Lake business owner Mark Sullivan. "It's a new day in Spring Lake. [It's] a great opportunity for us to move forward."

At 34 years old, Rey takes the reins of power as Spring Lake's youngest ever mayor, who grew up in the community and is now marking a new page in this community's history.

"When you walk the street and know the people, then you know the struggles, know the challenges this town has been through," said Rey.

Spring Lake has seen its share of problems. From a corruption scandal in 2009 that stripped the police department of its power to the community's struggle to break free from an image of a town too small to grow.

They are struggles that may have cost longtime Mayor Ethel Clark her job. In November, Rey was swept into office with 76 per cent of the vote.

This was a night of firsts for Spring Lake. One of the biggest crowds ever turned out for the town board meeting that saw Clark honored for her three decades of community service.

Rey, a former Army captain, spelled out his bold plans for this town's future.

"With investment in our youth, we will see the future come alive," said Rey. "With investments, we will strengthen our economy. We will see lives improve and, with investments in our infrastructure, nothing will be able to stop us."

Behind the handshakes and smiles of this night there will no doubt be a lot of pressure on this new mayor to turn his dreams and promises into prosperity.

"So relieved we have a got a guy in Chris Rey who is going to help us to be able to get where we can be," said Sullivan.

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