Meet Bexley's cousins in Ohio, the United States
PUBLISHED: 09:41 02 November 2012
Talking to the mayor of Bexley in Ohio, Ben Kessler, you quickly realise there are few similarities between his town and our borough other than the name.
At 34, he is young for a mayor and has been in the job since the start of the year following the death of predecessor John Brennan.
He said: “I would describe Bexley as an affluent suburb of Columbus, the state capital. Crime rates are quite low, we have one of the best education rates in the state and it’s a wonderful place to live.
“If I was going to suggest activities to people from Bexley in England coming over, I would start at Jeffrey Park Mansion, an old estate with a beautiful park, great grounds and forested walks.
“Main Street is what I’d describe as a classic American high street and is famous for its ice cream.”
In terms of his own role, Mr Kessler’s differs markedly from the ceremonial duties given to the mayor of Bexley Council.
“This role is much more than wearing a nice robe. I’m the head of local government and it’s my job to look after the interests of the people.
“I’d describe it more like the London Mayor than one of your council mayors, obviously with far fewer people to govern.”
Mr Kessler is an elected official and aims to build on the success of Bexley’s police force while redeveloping the North Cassady and Livingstone areas during his first term in office, up to the end of next year.
The town was founded in 1908, which, though recent by our history, makes Bexley one of Franklin County’s oldest territories.
History books state that the name was in honour of the roots of the family of Colonel Lincoln Kilbourne, one of the earliest residents, who hailed from our borough.
Bullitt Park neighbourhood to the north of the city, founded in 1889, merged with the neighbourhood of Pleasant Ridge to form Bexley.
It officially became a city in 1932.
Mr Kessler, whose brother lives in Hackney, east London, says he will be delighted to visit the borough of Bexley the next time that he comes to the capital.
“It would be great to see the place where Bexley’s name derives from. The nearest I’ve been is Greenwich Park, which I gather is the next borough over to Bexley.
“And, of course, if any of your residents want to come to Ohio we would make them very welcome. I would definitely recommend it.”