DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley’s eight years as leader of the Gem City comes to an end, she’s taking a look back on her accomplishments in office. Following the November 2021 elections, Mayor-elect Jeffrey Mims will take over as Dayton’s new mayor in the new year.

“I feel really great about the place the city is in. I’m very excited for Mayor-elect Mims to continue on this work. And I feel really good about what I got done,” said Mayor Whaley. “He’s been a life long public servant. Knows the community really really well. I’ve leaned on him quite often as mayor and him as commissioner. He’s going to do an awesome job.”

One of the accomplishments that Mayor Whaley is most proud is the non-profit organization Dayton Preschool Promise, which focuses on high quality education for children as young as three years old.

“The city had enough faith in our leadership to invest in the future of Dayton in that way, is something that most cities don’t do. To get to lead through that, and to be proactive in the investment of our future is something I’m most proud of,” said Mayor Whaley.

Mayor Whaley says she’s also happy with the over $1 billion dollars that have been invested into upgrading Downtown Dayton. “And how our neighborhoods have changed. They’re getting better. There’s still a lot of work to do. But, you know my husband and I were walking the neighborhoods on Thanksgiving day, and it’s definitely true we left the city in better shape than we found her.”

However, Mayor Whaley’s time in office wasn’t always filled with highs. “2019 was something that was very personal, and only happened to Dayton. A hate group rally coming from Indiana. The tornadoes happening to us, and the mass shooting. It was like every city was happening at that time, so it felt very personal to our city.”

The 2019 Oregon District mass shooting left 9 people dead and dozens more injured. “The shooting affected everybody in Dayton, but the closer proximity to places it affected people more and more and differently. So, I think that’s a really sign of how we work through grief…how we never forget, and how we have to continue to move and grow.”

Another huge blow to Dayton was the 2019 Memorial Day Tornadoes, causing damage which left many people displaced. However, even in these tragedies, Mayor Whaley says she’s proud of the way Daytonians have handled every situation thrown at them. “We rebuild. We allow tragedy to spring new life and to make us better. To make our communities better. To make our neighbors better, and to make us stronger.”

Though the pandemic has taken up much of Mayor Whaley’s time in office, she says she’s grown as a person and leader dealing with it, and has some advice for incoming Mayor-elect Mims. “My advice is to follow public health guidance. That’s what we’ve done through this entire pandemic. We have made decisions with science and with doctors. I think that would be the advice I’d give him, I’m pretty sure that’s what he will do. That has been our North Star here in Dayton. I think it’s served us well.”

Mayor-elect Mims will be sworn in on January 3, 2022.