Looking back on Mayor Bernero's legacy

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - From fighting for the auto bailout, to bringing more businesses downtown, and feuding with city council Lansing's Mayor Virg Bernero has quite the track record. All that will come to an end this year with the Mayor announcing Monday that he's not running for re-election.

"I'm just so grateful for the opportunity to have served, it's the best job I've ever had," Bernero said.

With nearly 12 years in office, Bernero is one of Lansing's longest running mayors and has built and equally long list of accomplishments. It's something Former Mayor David Hollister says wouldn't have been possible without an unwavering dedication.

"He tackled the job with a passion and he had a lot of energy," Hollister said. "He offended some, but he got a lot done."

Bernero spent much of his time revitalizing downtown, notably getting General Motors to reinvest in its plant and working with developers to get them to invest in the city.

In his release announcing he won't run for another term, Bernero touted helping to bring, "more than $2.3 billion in new economic development that has retained and created more than 12,000 jobs."

"He did a lot converting the old power station for the Accident Fund, the stadium housing development, and the significant work that's going on along Michigan Avenue. Those are all initiatives he can be proud of," Hollister added.

Some projects seemed to be more talk, like the proposed casino off the Lansing Center and plans to develop the former Red Cedar golf course. Both are projects the next mayor could chose to pursue or abandon.

"It's a big change and it will be a significant challenge for the city to maintain its direction and the kind of momentum that he's been able to generate," Hollister said.

There were difficult times like the mysterious resignation of City Attorney Janene McIntyre, who left last year with a $160,000 payout. That prompted weeks on controversy between the Mayor and City Council members who wanted to know why McIntyre left and why her contract had to be paid out. But Hollister knows the controversy comes with the job title.

"There was some glitches and bumps along the road but for the most part I think he did a good job," he added.

Bernero tells News 10 he won't be slowing down during his last 10 months in office. He says he'll be announcing some new projects and hopes to get plans in place to build a new city hall.