New mayor to be sworn in; old mayor looks back - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

12.9.03

New mayor to be sworn in; old mayor looks back

Later today, the City of Wilmington will begin a new era under a new leader. Yesterday was the last full day for the current Mayor Harper Peterson. And, like him or not, most would agree his two-year tenure as Mayor is, at the very least, memorable.

Some use the word "turbulent" to describe Peterson's only term as Mayor. But, both friend and foe do agree on this much--Peterson vowed to shake things up in City Hall, and to that extent, he certainly succeeded. With only hours left in his term, Mayor Harper Peterson pulls down posters and packs boxes, bidding adieu to Wilmington's coveted corner office.

Peterson came into office as a long shot, vowing to be a voice for those left out of city government. But election night two years later was hardly as fun. Peterson lost in a landslide to Spence Broadhurst. Some would also say his insistence on doing things *his* way complicated matters with City Council, and the meetings could quickly turn unpleasant.

But few would argue Peterson has a keen sense of Wilmington's history, and a grand vision for its future. As Mayor, he pushed hard for preservation, development, and a Downtown Convention Center.

Tireless until the end, Peterson turned a part-time job into a 70-to-80 hour work week. He says his successor is bright and a just as hard a worker. Peterson says he's at peace with his departure--with his legacy left to be measured by time.

Mayor Peterson will relinquish his title at tomorrow night's city council meeting, when Broadhurst is sworn in. On Wednesday, he'll go back to being a business owner again--a job he says requires far fewer hours.

Reported by Aaron Saykin: asaykin@wect.com

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