Buboltz not running for re-election

After 20 years of service as mayor of Detroit Lakes, Larry Buboltz has decided not to run for re-election this November.

"I decided a few months ago that I will not be running for mayor," he announced Thursday afternoon.

Buboltz said it has been a great 20 years -- and 12 years previous to that as a city council alderman -- but it's time to move along now. So far, three men have filed for the open mayor position -- Alderman Matt Brenk, Jim Vareberg and Bob Renney. Filings are open until Tuesday at 5 p.m.

"People have been extremely kind," he said. "About 99 percent of them," he added with a laugh. "I never would have thought I'd serve this long."

Although he will no longer be serving as mayor, Buboltz said he hopes to continue his service to the city, as the council permits. He would like to stay involved in the Heartland Trail extension from Park Rapids to Moorhead via Detroit Lakes, something that he has worked on for several years and is finally seeing some progress on this summer.


"I've convinced some people it's a good thing," he said of the pay-off for his efforts.

But, he said, his involvement will be what the new council will ask of him, as to not step on any toes or butt in where he no longer works.

"I'm not a Brett Favre either, just to let you know," he said.

And although he won't be back at the head of Detroit Lakes, that's not to say he won't turn up in politics again.

"Never say never," he said. Right now, he added, Detroit Lakes area has two fine representatives, but who knows what the future holds either -- congressman, vice president, president.

Over the years

Over the past 20 years --32 counting his entire time with the council -- Buboltz has seen a lot of changes.

"When I started, Detroit Lakes was a great place, but it was pretty much resort oriented," he said. It was busy in the summer and dead in the winter. "What we've tried to do is get more year-round jobs, good paying jobs."

He's accomplishing that and is hoping for even more in the future.


"We're getting some good things in town and I think we'll continue to see that."

Some of the bigger projects Buboltz has been involved with while serving the city include the Washington Square Mall, development west of town along Highway 10, the current Highway 10 realignment project, the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center and the extension of city sewer and water. He's proud of the fact that Detroit Lakes has grown in every aspect, including tourism, professionally, industry, etc.

Another change in Detroit Lakes he's proud of is more of a time issue. When he served on the council, he said, meetings didn't start until 7:30 p.m. and would many times run until midnight or one in the morning.

"Good decisions aren't made after 10 (p.m.)," he said with a laugh. When he became mayor, Buboltz changed the city council meetings to 5 p.m. and developed committee meetings with rotating leaders.

"That's one of the things I'm kind of proud of."

Saying goodbye

Buboltz said what he'll miss most is "just being involved and the people." Those people include the community and the city staff. "I'll miss the involvement with everything."

As for advice to the future mayor and council members, have a "positive attitude for Detroit Lakes." Always a firm believer in the "growing a dynamic community," Buboltz has been known to stress the positive aspects of Detroit Lakes and isn't afraid to share them. It's "more about attitude" he said, projecting that positive outlook for the city.

Buboltz followed in the footsteps of Mayor Kent Freeman -- with a brief stint from Loren Nelson between the two mayors -- a man Buboltz describes as the greatest mayor he's ever worked with and as his role model for having a positive attitude as mayor. Over the years, it's his interest in events throughout the city that has kept him involved.


Although it may be difficult for the next mayor to fill Buboltz's shoes, he said in time the next mayor will catch on as well.

"Even a president will have to learn the first while, so will a mayor. They'll pick up the baton and keep it going."

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