Moving day for Mayor Francis Slay

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Monday is moving day as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says goodbye to city hall and the office he’s occupied for the last 16 years.

As the mayor watched his official portrait be hung in city hall, he couldn't help but be emotional, saying he couldn't describe the feeling, but adds it was joyful.

“I think we have a lot to be proud of for what we accomplished over the years; and it’s a new chapter in my life, doing something different,” Slay said.

After a 31-year career in public service, including four terms years as the longest serving mayor in St. Louis history, Slay walks away feeling content for how his team served the city.

“That’s what I will miss the most are the people, but I’m going to live with some of the best memories anybody could ever have,” he said.

During his stint in office, Mayor Slay says the city has witnessed the September 11 terror attacks, two recessions, and a foreclosure crisis, which affected the most challenged neighborhoods in St Louis. Costs went up and revenues were flat, forcing the city to eliminate 1,000 city government positions. Over time, the city pulled through.

“We have better quality public education in the city. We have better healthcare and better housing for low-income families,” Slay said.

Also during Slay’s tenure, a new baseball stadium was built, the city lost a football team, the Central West End experienced a rebirth, Cortex has flourished, the NGA stayed put, crime went down, but violent crime still tops national lists.

“It has been an honor representing the people of St. Louis as mayor, being the face of the city, and taking on leadership and challenges we face,” Slay said.

Slay will return to private life as an attorney for Spencer Fane and continue to live in the city.

“I love this city. I want to be involved and I have a lot more to offer,” he said.