Crawford County Judge John Hall announced Thursday that he will not be running for re-election in 2016.
Hall, 72, began the first of his five terms as county judge in 2007. He also heads the Crawford County Road Department.
"When I get through here it’ll be 10 years," Hall said. "It seems like it was just yesterday."
Hall faced a lot of challenges coming in to the office, he said, but feels he’s done significant work in the county in his years as county judge.
"I guess what I’m most proud of is we have revamped the county road system, and not just parts of it. We have rebuilt the entire county road system," Hall said.
During Hall’s time in office, four new major bridges were built, more than 60 miles of roads were paved and about 50 miles were overlaid, and about 30 round culverts 40 inches in diameter or larger have been replaced with longer lasting box culverts, he said.
Hall also spearheaded the drive to educate residents on the need for the new $20 million Crawford County Detention Center, now under construction.
Partly because of his efforts, voters approved in May 2014 a three-quarter percent sales tax to pay for the jail’s construction and maintenance.
Included in the jail project plans are at least 300 inmate beds, a courtroom for first appearances, sheriff’s department and administrative offices, a 911 call center, and room for expansion.
Some of Hall’s other accomplishments in the county are the continuation of a 1-cent sales tax in 2007 and 2015 that helps pay for a number of services, updated information technology, an updated 911 system, and the move of early voting from the Crawford County Courthouse to the Emergency Operations Center.
"It has done away with long lines, short tempers and long waits," Hall said.
Hall was born in the house his father built in Figure Five, and grew up in the county, attending school in Alma, he said. He ran for county judge because he felt he had something to offer, he said.
In recent years, Hall has noticed his motivation beginning to ebb, he said. His wife, Sue Hall, has noticed the toll the office has taken on him and agrees with his decision, he said.
"I felt like for the public and the good of the county, it was time to move on," John Hall said. "It’s hard to keep your focus on totally improving a system as big as the county is for 10 years."
County residents need "a new set of eyes" on the issues, Hall said.
Hall announced his decision two months before the filing period for the 2016 elections so that any county resident interested in the position had time to consider a run, he said.
He will not be endorsing any candidate as his replacement, and sees no other political offices in his future, he said.
"A good elected official knows when to leave," Hall said. "[To] go out when you’ve still got friends and people still respect you."
Though he’s ready to leave office, Hall said he will miss all those in the county, his fellow department heads and his employees, who work hard and "have done and continue to do an incredible job serving the people of this great county."
Hall gave thanks to Crawford County residents for their support during his time in office. He will remain in office until Dec. 31, 2016.
"It has been such an honor to serve in this capacity," Hall said.