By Meghan Keely
Herald Staff Writer
The 81-year-old Stanton, a retired Army colonel, served on borough council for three years before becoming mayor for 27 years. His retirement left a position open that had been filled by a local hero for decades.
Stanton’s accomplishments as mayor included helping implement the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police force; helping to rebuild the industrial area of the borough after the 1985 tornado; spearheading the effort to get funding for the Broadway Avenue Pump Station Reconstruction project; serving on committees for the Mercer County Regional Council of Governments’ softball complex, swim beach and animal shelter; and working toward expanding the tax base and job market in the county through low-interest loans to businesses for start-up or expansion to create new jobs.
Stanton helped receive nearly $2 million in grant funding for the borough, providing many upgrades to the borough and its emergency services.
New Wheatland Mayor Dave Jones knows he is taking over the job of one of the borough’s greats but is hopeful he can be an effective addition to the borough’s government.
“I can’t replace him. He has done a lot of work for the borough and he will definitely be missed,” Jones said. “If I can accomplish half of what he did, I would be happy.”
The newly elected mayor decided to run after Stanton called him and said he would be retiring.
“I would have never ran against Tom. Tom called me and said he was retiring and told me I should think about running,” Jones said. “I thought hard about the idea. I sat on council for awhile and decided I liked the idea of mayor.”
Jones said one of his main goals is to work on the aging infrastructure in town and help improve the current situation.
“I would like to find the grant money to bring things up to speed,” the new mayor said. “I would like to see work done on the storm drains, sewers and some of our roads are starting to deteriorate.”
Jones said he is hoping to keep the open communication that Stanton had with local businesses and local and state politicians.
“I need to work with these people and keep the communication open,” Jones said. “I will need to work with new state-level politicians as well and try to get money for this community.”
Sharon Stinedurf, borough secretary-treasurer, said having a new mayor is something foreign to most of the the 632 residents of Wheatland.
“Even when he was mayor, no one ran against him,” Stinedurf said. “The residents really liked Tom and what he did for this community. It will be hard to replace him but I believe Dave Jones is a great fit.”