Local leaders and community members gathered downtown Thursday evening to thank Mark Stodola for his 12 years of service as Little Rock's mayor.
A letter from former President Bill Clinton, read by Vice Mayor Kathy Webb to a room in the Robinson Center full of attendees, praised Stodola for his accomplishments during his tenure.
"Mark's leadership and problem-solving skills have made this wonderful city even stronger than when he took office," Clinton wrote. "On a personal note, I will always be grateful for the times we worked together, for his strong partnership with my presidential center and most importantly, for many years of friendship."
City directors Dean Kumpuris, Doris Wright, Lance Hines, B.J. Wyrick and Gene Forston gave remarks, applauding Stodola's leadership and calling the occasion bittersweet.
Wright highlighted Stodola's drive in revitalizing a long-neglected area of downtown's Main Street.
"It takes vision to move something that major along," Wright said.
Kumpuris praised Stodola's character, including his choice to prioritize his family rather than seek a fourth term as mayor.
"I think we need to understand and take that as a measure of a man, that he understands his priorities," he said. "He understands what's important and his city family is dear to him and will remain dear to him."
In his remarks, Stodola said he planned to stay involved in the community. He said he wanted to be remembered for what was built during his tenure, including a redesign of the Robinson Center and street and drainage improvements across the city.
Former Little Rock Mayor Lottie Shackelford and former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker also attended the reception.
Stodola's last day in office is Dec. 31. Mayor-elect Frank Scott Jr. will be sworn in Jan. 1.
Metro on 12/14/2018