LAKEMORE Richard Cole Jr. was born and raised in Lakemore and has had an ambition of becoming mayor of his beloved hometown since he was a child.

On Jan. 6, it became a reality when he was sworn in as the new mayor of the Village of Lakemore.

Cole attended Lakemore Elementary School, Schrop Junior High School and Springfield High School, graduating as the class valedictorian in 1991. Ironically, Cole spent his first years of formal education at Lakemore Elementary School and today he is director of business development, community outreach and public relations of SUPER Learning Center in the former Lakemore Elementary School building.

During his school years, Cole was active in football, track, band, choir, drama productions, student government and service.

After graduation, he attended Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass., and graduated with an AB in Government with Economics and Spanish as Allied Fields. Cole was active with the rowing team, cheerleading, student government and service.

He moved to New York City in 1995 and initially worked on Wall Street. He then settled into real estate and worked for several of the largest and top law firms in the world.

After 18 years of 80-hour work weeks in corporate real estate, it was time to slow the pace.

“I moved home to Lakemore and was hired as the director of operations of SUPER Learning Center, a private, faith-based, K-12 school,” he said.

While at SUPER Learning Center, he has taught higher math (Algebra 1 and above), Social Skills and Spanish. In 2019, he settled into his current position.

Cole is known for his volunteer work in the community as he is past president and president-elect of the Rotary Club of Port Summit. He is also a charter member and the current president of the Lakemore Lions Club and is a member of Wayfarer Lodge #789, F.&A.M. of Ohio, where he serves as its senior warden. He also is a member of the Valley of Akron Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite; the Billow Chapter 483 Order of the Eastern Star; and the Shriners International, Tadmor Shrine, Akron. He also serves on the Board of GASP (Guardians Advocating Child Safety and Protection) and JOG (Jobs for Ohio Graduates).

Since 1986, Cole has been a member of the Lakemore United Methodist Church where he sings in the choir, teaches children and has served in various capacities of church leadership since 2012.

“As far as Village governance, I am thankful for what I believe to be a very strong council, with Anne Snyder (eight years) and Laura Cochran (seven years) as our senior members down to our newest, just-elected member Heather Anderson,” he said. “Tracy Fast as fiscal officer, Ken Ray as Lakemore Police chief and Brett Reinbolt as Lakemore Fire chief are top notch, as are our Department of Public Services and safety services. I very much look forward to working closely with Sam Ray as our newly elected council president.”

Things have come a long way since the village was in fiscal emergency and Cole plans to continue these works that have been in progress.

Cole said, as a community, they must continue moving forward with repairing, replacing and maintaining so much of the village infrastructure (water lines, sewer lines and roads), all the while maintaining fiscal solvency. Top priorities include repairing the Waterworks water tower and upgrading the sewer pump house.

“We need to complete the repaving of Sanitarium Road, and the addition of sidewalks for our children and pedestrians should also be a priority,” Cole said.

He plans on reinstating a Parks Board and said many want to reinvigorate the village’s Historical Society.

“Ultimately, I hope to get many people involved in governance and decision-making as would like to come along for the onward and upward ride,” said Cole.

Lakemore will be celebrating its Centennial in 2021, and Cole said there is so much rich history to celebrate, and so much good to look forward to.