David Roark is leaving Marble Cliff Village Council with a feeling of satisfaction of being part of a team that helped guide the village through both prosperous and challenging times.
"It's rewarding and challenging to work with a group of people collaboratively to try to solve the issues facing the community," he said.
Roark opted not to run in this year's election. He was appointed to council in 1996 when Frank Monaco was named mayor after Paul Falco's death.
"It was (current Mayor) Kent Studebaker who encouraged me to consider joining the council," Roark said.
"I blame everything on him," he said, laughing.
"Actually, Kent and I are very close and I've enjoyed working with him and all the other council members, mayors and village administrators.
"One of the things that has kept me on council all these years is there has never been any serious conflict," Roark said. "I don't think I would want to serve if it became contentious."
There may be different opinions on issues, he said, but every council member wants to do what is best for the community.
"I always tried to listen to all sides and make a decision based on what I thought was best for the overall well-being of the village," Roark said. "I didn't always jibe with the majority, but I was OK with that."
If anything, Village Council "maybe is a little too respectful of each other," he said. "It's important that everyone get their ideas on the table."
Roark said he is especially proud of council's role in preserving the Tarpy property and addressing the redevelopment of the St. Raphael's Home for the Aged property into the Prescott Place condominiums.
It is easier to leave council knowing the village has weathered the financial struggles that resulted when Columbia Gas moved its offices out of the NiSource property, he said.
"It left us in a very serious financial pinch, but we were able to set priorities and scale back (the budget)," Roark said. "Now that other developers have come in, we're in good financial shape."
Seventeen years "is a pretty good run," he said. "It's good to get some new blood and new ideas on council. I know (incoming council member Dow Voelker) is very capable.
"I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to serve on council," Roark said. "It's hard to believe it's been 17 years."
Roark's current term ends Dec. 31.