Robert Barris, 1960 - 1963

Robert Barris took office during a transition period in Highland Heights’ history when Highland Heights was changing from a farm community to a suburban community. Many things were accomplished during Robert Barris’ term. The first brand new, full size, fire engine pumper for the Fire Department was purchased which helped keep the homeowners insurance rates at a minimum. The community also built its first Service Building to house service equipment and the first full time service director was hired. The first fleet of snow plows and salt spreaders was also purchased. With staffing at a minimum, Mayor Barris often worked the equipment if needed because of storms and the time demands of the other men working.

Accomplishments
During Mayor Barris’ term in office, various drainage districts were created. The first major tree planting program was introduced and the initial street lighting program was started. Two large housing developments were constructed on the north side of Wilson Mills in the Kenbridge-Radford areas. The first sidewalks in Highland Heights were put in at that time in those areas along with sidewalks on other main streets. The first sanitary sewers were installed during his administration. The first organized baseball program, day nursery school with a registered nurse, a swimming program as well as a winter ice skating program on the outdoor city-constructed ice rink were also established during this time.

As we look at our city now, who could imagine our housing developments without sidewalks, without roads that were properly paved, without a Community Park, without safety and service forces available 24 hours each day, 7 days a week? Who could imagine seeing their mayor driving a snow plow? For some reason, I just can’t picture myself or former Mayors Hogg, Swanson and Hughes behind the wheel of one of those trucks. Times surely were different then. Many of these “firsts” happened largely through the efforts and vision of Mayor Barris. In Mayor Barris’ 2 terms in office, Highland Heights really went from being a rural community to a suburban community.