Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe that it is time for another election cycle. My term as Mayor of the City of Gardner is coming to an end and I am asking for your support as I seek another term.

I would never ask for support unless I felt that I have delivered on my word to change the way the City operates. During my campaigns for office I stated goals and laid out plans for the City of Gardner. I have listed just a few of our accomplishments below:

Health Care Savings Plan Implemented.  Gardner was the first community in the Commonwealth to enact Plan Design Authority. By doing so we were able to negotiate a savings of over $800,000 in our health care expenses.

Collaboration with GALA to Re-Open Heritage State Park Visitors Center. This has been a long road; however, we are now working with the Gardner Area League of Artists (GALA) and the State. GALA is looking to occupy the former Visitors Center as soon as possible. This project will breathe new life into our downtown and bring a vibrancy that has been missing for some time.

Improved Bond Rating. Once again, we have been upgraded by our bond raters. The City now maintains an “A1 rating with a positive outlook.” This is the highest bond rating in the history of the City and is saving us money on all borrowed funds.

Restoration of All City Playgrounds. Our parks and playgrounds had been ignored for decades. We have replaced and refurbished portions of Bickford and Ovila Case playgrounds. Work is underway on Greenwood Playground and will begin shortly on Jackson Playground. Monument Park has new benches and the cannons have a fresh coat of paint. Our parks and playgrounds speak to our quality of life.

Pothole Patrol and Paving Funding. Working smarter rather than harder, we are now able to create "hot asphalt" to fill potholes anytime of the year. Messy "cold patch" once used during winter is a thing of the past. The City has realized a savings in excess of $50,000 annually due to this innovative solution to pothole repair.

Summer-Up Funding. In order to bring back a summer playground program, the City has partnered with Mount Wachusett Community College. Summer-Up, a playground program implemented at Jackson Playground and Olde English Village includes daily lunch for over 150 local participating children.

Regionalized Animal Control. Working with two of our neighbors, we regionalized our Animal Control services and realized a savings for all three communities while improving service.

Tree Planting Initiative. For the first time in decades the City is replacing some of the trees that we have lost due to age or weather. The tree planting program will pay dividends for generations.

In addition to the work I do here in Gardner, there are many outside forces that affect us at the state and federal levels, compelling me to advocate for the City throughout the Commonwealth. Here are some ways I represent you:

  • Governor Patrick has appointed me to the Local Government Advisory Council (LGAC) that meets monthly with the the Commonwealth's administration to collaborate and advocate for municipal needs. 
  • I have been elected to the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s (MMA). The MMA is the voice of the cities and towns that make up the Commonwealth. The Board is elected by municipal leaders annually; and advocates for municipal needs on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill
  • I serve on the Career Vocational Technical Education Task Force. This task force was appointed by the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education to look at the funding inequities and other issues arising from Vocational Technical schools. 
In addition to the notable accomplishments listed above, we have changed our in-house practices in terms of budgeting, forecasting, and organizational structure in order to become more efficient. The City of Gardner is better positioned for meeting future challenges.

However, work still remains.

I ask that you consider supporting me on November 5th so that I may continue to serve you and all of the citizens of Gardner.

Best Regards,

Mark Hawke
Mayor, City of Gardner

 Mayor Mark Hawke with wife, Shelly, and son, Justin.