Mayor Madeline Rogero says goodbye, reflects on eight years

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Mayor Madeline Rogero's eight years in office have come to an end. The two-term mayor was elected as Knoxville's first female mayor. Now she's clearing out the office to get it ready for Mayor-elect Indya Kincannon.

"It's bittersweet to be here in my office for the last day," Rogero said.

WVLT News sat down with the mayor on her last day. She talked about three major accomplishments during her time.

First, is reinvesting in downtown. She pointed out development like the Farragut Hotel, new Embassy Suites, and construction on the old State Supreme Court Building -- which will soon become an apartment complex.

"This drive for re-investment has jumped the river and railroad tracks and has gone in all directions," she said.

She also talked about sustainability, including LED streetlights and reducing greenhouse gases.

"We are a more sustainable, resilient community eight years later -- but still a long ways to go."

Lastly, she talked about the push for affordable housing. The city has invested about $40 million dollars in city funds to help build nearly 4,700 units.

In eight years, there's one thing Mayor Rogero regrets: bringing baseball to Knoxville. The conversation with management is already underway, but Rogero said it will be up to the next administration to continue.

"We wanted to leave nothing for the next administration, but that's unrealistic," Mayor Rogero said.

The city isn't the only thing that's grown. Rogero said she's learned something about herself as well.

"I grew up somebody that always tried to please. I made friends and not enemies. When you're in leadership -- people won't like every decision you make," she said. "You have to be tough enough where the criticism roles off. But not too tough that you don't hear when criticism is valid."

After eight years, Rogero said she's looking forward to an extended vacation including spending time with her 92-year-old mother in Ohio and grandchildren.

As Mayor-elect Kincannon prepares for Inauguration on Saturday, Mayor Rogero has some advice.

"The only thing I take credit for is hiring good people. That's the number one thing." It's also the thing she says she'll miss the most.

"I would like to thank the people of Knoxville who gave me this honor for two terms. It's been a great responsibility and I hope I have made them proud."

Mayor-elect Kincannon will be inaugurated at the Bijou at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, December 21.

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