Remembering my good friend, and the late Mayor Richard “Dick” Settlemire, as I prepare for my dad’s memorial service this month, made for many fond memories of growing-up in the area that encompasses Mars, Adams, Callery, Valencia, Middlesex, Evans City, and Zelienople.
The changes brought on by population growth are almost unimaginable from the 60’s and 70’s to what is now the Route 228 corridor. The most valued asset of the area, however, continues to be the good people that live here and the quality of life that is exemplified.
The town of Mars sits in the middle of it all and is recognized more by its name than size. Many people say to me, “Oh I saw the name traveling north on Interstate 79,” or, “I saw a place by that name coming off the PA Turnpike.” We get mentioned in weather forecasts on the Pittsburgh TV stations quite often too. Mars is visible as a location for a variety of reasons. http://marsborough.com/
The town’s historical society helped by building on the name Mars with a replica spaceship/flying saucer in the 70’s as more and more people via the Internet and GPS made their way to the center of our community to take pictures of themselves and their kids with the extraterrestrial craft. They still do today!
The Mars Historical Society, with a revamped train station and short-line miniature railroad for kids to ride-on, make Mars known as a welcoming community. The volunteers there are hard workers and represent well the type of folk that live here. https://www.facebook.com/marshistory/
In 2015, as a Mayor with a host of excellent volunteers, we were able to invite NASA to come and celebrate New Year’s on the planet Mars, that happens every 22 months. We repeated the celebration with NASA last year in 2017. We are looking forward again to the next Mars New Year in 2019 with NASA returning to our town. http://www.marsnewyear.com/
A “letter of collaboration” just received in early February from NASA has opened up another opportunity for our town and the surrounding area with their support of the possibility to help locate a S.T.E.A.M. (Science. Technology. Engineering. Arts. and Math) Education Discovery Center in Mars. This would be a center allowing children, youth, and their families to explore science and space travel at the center. https://mars.nasa.gov/#red_planet/0
As your Mayor, it is exciting to build on the tradition of our past as we move forward, enabling children and youth to see there are no limits in discovering their future in the midst of a wonderful universe that is ours to explore. Why shouldn’t that exploration for young people happen in a town with the name Mars? It is most fitting!
I will be forming a new “Discover Mars PA” Committee that will give oversight and coordination to new endeavors with some interesting additions to our parks, fun opportunities for the business community, and new special events for all ages. Our town name and the people that live here are what make this place a little out of this world!
Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau has been, and will continue to be, a vital support to these endeavors too. https://www.visitbutlercounty.com/