(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Two mass shootings, a global pandemic, an infrastructure overhaul, and growth of Olympic City USA – John Suthers’ past eight years as Colorado Springs Mayor have certainly had their highs and lows.

As his final term comes to an end, FOX21 News is looking back at Suthers’ time in office.

In 2015, John Suthers became the 41st mayor of Colorado Springs, with big goals of collaborating with City Council, promoting job creation, and addressing the city’s infrastructure issues, specifically roads and stormwater.

“Our roads were bad, 60% of our roads were in bad condition. Our stormwater system was physically and legally deficient,” Suthers said. “We were getting sued by everybody about it and we’ve totally turned that around. We’ve done it with the cooperation of the voters. It’s been a big effort, but we really are on a really good path now in terms of infrastructure investments.”

FOX21 asked the outgoing mayor what he is most proud of.

“I think just getting the community to reinvest in itself. What I said to the citizens of Colorado Springs, is if we as a city invest in ourselves, our employers that are here will stay here and expand and will attract good, new employers,” said Suthers.

FOX21 also asked what he is least proud of.

“My first Thanksgiving weekend as mayor, we had the Planned Parenthood shootings. My last Thanksgiving weekend as mayor, we had the Club Q shootings,” said Suthers. “And those are, that calls for a whole different kind of leadership. You know, basically your job is to make sure that we’re not defined by the incident itself, but by how we respond to it.”

During Suthers’ tenure, we watched Colorado Springs take on the moniker of Olympic City USA, through a series of City for Champions projects using both public and private investments.

“I’m really proud of that downtown stadium, Weidner, and really proud of Robeson Arena. I think those were fantastic facilities. Just this summer, for example, think about it, we’re going to have the U.S. Weightlifting Championship, at a robust Robeson, followed by the World Jump Rope Championship, which everybody kind of smiles about. It’s huge for economic development, 3,000 participants, 36 countries, 10,000 hotel room nights. That’s the kind of development that we’re looking for,” said Suthers.

Of course, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum opened its doors in 2020. The same year a global pandemic hit.

“The average American city lost about four, four and a half percent of its economy. We were one tenth of 1%. We recovered 100% of the jobs lost in the pandemic faster than any other major city in America,” Suthers said.

The soon-to-be former mayor got emotional talking about a memory he says he will never forget, when a Colorado Springs police officer who was shot in the line of duty in 2018, was released from the hospital.

“Cem Duzel, who is a police officer who was shot in the head, and we didn’t think he was going to make it. After many, many surgeries, he made it. And there was a day when he was being transferred from Memorial Hospital up to Craig Rehabilitation Center in Denver, when about probably 150 to 200 police officers showed up to line the halls and he went by on a stretcher, and they saluted him and the only gesture that he was able to provide was a thumbs up on his chest,” said Suthers.

As for advice for his successor, Suthers said he has a lot.

“Some of it will be confidential. But the main thing is stick to the basics. The basic municipal government functions are public safety, public works, you know, essential infrastructure, transportation and parks,” said Suthers. “I think where cities get in trouble is where they get into things that aren’t historically, you know, the functions of city government when they try and get in the housing business itself rather than just facilitating housing, actually getting in the housing business, and they try and do things that the state or the federal government typically, you know, that’s their jurisdiction. I think if we continue to stick to the basics, we’ll do just fine. We have an unbelievably beautiful city. We have a well-educated population where we live. For I think for four years in a row, we’ve been the most desirable city in America to live.”

Mayor Suthers said he will soon announce what’s next for him and his career.