Harrodsburg Mayor Art Freeman is resigning. The mayor read his letter of resignation at Monday night’s city commission meeting. Freeman’s resignation goes into effect June 30.
Freeman’s two and a half years as mayor have been momentous ones for the city, beginning with his election in 2018. Freeman ran as a write-in candidate and on election night, it was announced he had lost the race by four votes. However, he sued for a recount and officials found 1,197 incorrectly marked ballots for Freeman. It was ruled those votes should count and Freeman won the election.
Once he was installed as mayor, Freeman and the city commission moved fast, installing two four-way stops on Main Street and another on Beaumont Avenue and adopting a new city logo. They also oversaw a major shakeup on the board of directors at the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission and took over collecting the restaurant tax.
However, Freeman said he wished he had been able to do more.
“We’ve made some progress, but we haven’t made much progress since I got sick,” Freeman said Monday night.
He underwent open heart surgery, a quadruple bypass, shortly after his election in 2019. Soon after that, he was diagnosed with leukemia.
Freeman told the Harrodsburg Herald he was resigning because his cancer treatments had “become a full time job,”
He receives transfusions several times a week as well as five chemotherapy sessions every month. Earlier this year, Freeman fell outside his home on Beaumont Avenue, fracturing his skull and injuring his spleen. On Monday night, Freeman was using a walker to get around.
“I can’t take care of the city and take care of Art,” he said. “I feel like I’m cheating the city.”
In his resignation letter, Freeman said he had enjoyed working with the commissioners and praised the city employees.
“I have particularly enjoyed working with the staff at City Hall,” he wrote. “I have found every one of these ladies to be honest, hard-working and conscientious in the care of our customers, taxpayers and citizens.”
Commissioner Marvin “Bubby” Isham moved to accept Freeman’s resignation. Commissioner Billy Whitenack, who serves as mayor pro tem, seconded the motion, which passed.
Commissioner Ruth Ann Bryant abstained.
“I hate to see you leave,” Bryant said. “You’ve done a wonderful job.”
When Freeman’s resignation goes into effect on June 30, the city has 30 days to appoint his replacement.
Freeman said he had a lot to look forward to, including a grandchild due to be born by the end of the month. He also offered to help the city prepare for its 250th anniversary in 2024. Before his election, Freeman had owned Fort Harrod Color and Supply since 2011. His family’s history in Mercer County dates back to the late 1700s.
“I love this town, that’s why I ran for mayor,” Freeman said.