Friday, August 15, 2014

TOP STORY >> Amy Sanders’ 90th birthday

Leader staff writer

At least 100 people came to a party at Amy Sanders Library in Sherwood last Saturday to wish its namesake a happy 90th birthday. Amy Sanders served as city clerk from 1973 until her retirement in 1987.

Former alderman Butch Davis, who is now running for his old seat against Alderman Mary Jo Heye, summed up his longtime friend in a few words. “She’s a busy bee,” he said.

Mayor Virginia Hillman acknowledged Sanders’ Aug. 4 birthday by reading a proclamation. “She means a lot of things to a lot of people. She’s done so much for us,” the mayor said before reading the document.

Sanders hired Hillman in 1986 for the city’s first accounts payable clerk position.

Bernard Olds, Sherwood’s first mailman and a former firefighter, told The Leader that he “couldn’t ask for anything better” than to have known Sanders for so many years.

Olds circulated the petitions needed for the city to become incorporated. He is also a World War II Army veteran.

Ron Duran, whose parents helped found Sherwood by pushing for its incorporation, remembered how nice Sanders was to him when he went to her house for sleepovers with her son. She was an inspiration to him, Duran said.

He has been an active participant in Sherwood’s history, especially through working for the city and volunteering in the community.

Sanders said after the proclamation reading, “This is one of many honors I’ve received in my lifetime and I certainly appreciate all of them.”

The room burst into laughter when she added, “Maybe I’ll receive more.”

Her service to the community didn’t start with the 14-year city clerk post or stop when she stepped down.

Sanders moved to what is now Sherwood in 1947. The city was incorporated a year later.

Volunteering has been her cup of tea from “early on,” she said. She was one of the 45 to 50 members of the Country Club Manor Home Demonstration Club.

That organization was a precursor of the Extension Homemakers still around today.

The demonstration club did things like dye Easter eggs and collect for the March of Dimes to fight “rampant” polio.

When she became city clerk, Sanders said there was only one other person in that office.

The functions of many departments that exist now used to be handled in that office, she continued. By the time Sanders retired, she said, it had a staff of eight to 10.

She saw so many changes while serving the city. Sanders said, “We grew and grew and grew to what we are now.”
Most of that growth was done through voluntary annexations, she said.

Sherwood’s growth gained more guidance and became more organized over the years, Sanders said.

She remembered how the North Hills area and Kiehl Avenue weren’t in the city at first.

Sanders said former Mayor Bill Henson, who served from 1965 until 1982, “set the stage for what Sherwood is now” by buying land on Kiehl, where the city’s municipal complex was built. She was city clerk when the office moved to that complex in 1983.

But all the mayors “had good attributes,” Sanders noted.

After she retired as city clerk, Sanders served as chairman of the Advertising and Promotions Commission. She is a Sewer Committee member today.

Sanders recalled how the hamburger tax voters approved back then was used to fund Sherwood’s ball fields.

The city mother also said she was shocked when the city council decided to name the library after her. They passed a resolution to do so in 1988, and the building at 31 Shelby Drive opened in 1989.

Sanders is a staunch supporter of a temporary 1.3-mill increase to fund a new $6 million library. The tax, which would expire when bonds for the project are paid off, will be voted on in November.

For the owners of $150,000 houses, a positive vote for constructing and equipping a new branch would mean a $39 increase to the 50.8-mill property tax homeowners are paying now. Sherwood’s millage rate is the second lowest in Pulaski County.

The 1.3 mills would also be charged on personal property, like cars and boats, at a rate of $13 for every $10,000 in the assessed value of that property.

Sanders told The Leader previously, “We desperately need a new library. We have outgrown this one, especially with the children. There is so much activity at the library. People use it so much...It’s just outdated in every way, and it cannot be added onto.”

She also said then, “It would certainly be an asset for Sherwood” as people looking at moving to the city would take the library into consideration.

But why did Sanders stay when she moved to the area?

She said, “I think the people are outstanding…It’s been a wonderful place to raise children.” Sherwood also had a low crime rate, which is a credit to its police department, Sanders added.

She continued, “I stand behind Sherwood and I think it’s a fabulous place to live. The people are so very, very nice. They’re just people you want to be around.”

Sanders was married to Reo Sanders for 62 years, until he passed away in 2007. They had a daughter and a son.

Sanders has seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, ages 5-19. Many of them attended her birthday party.

The city mother is well known for her cooking, which she said she loves to do.

Sanders is also involved in church activities.