Authentic: Mayor Gray

Bow ties, community, and a Lancaster legacy.

Mayor Rick Gray loves Lancaster. He can speak at length about many attributes that set Lancaster apart as the city authentic, brimming with people who breathe new life through their entrepreneurial spirit and strong sense of community. He beams like a proud parent and his eyes light up as he describes the neighborhoods, parks, restaurants, theatres, artists, and makers who add vibrancy and originality to the streets he walks each morning on his way to work.

In 2005, Rick Gray decided that what he wanted to make most was a difference. With the support of his wife, artist Gail Gray, Rick took his love for Lancaster, his knowledge of the judicial system, and his desire to make an impact, and was elected as Mayor in 2005. Three terms later, Mayor Gray has decided not to run for a fourth but to “give someone else a chance to make a difference.”

As he looks back on the legacy of what he’s accomplished as Mayor, he is especially proud of the evolution in the parks programs and the street scaping that made the city brighter, safer, and more inviting. Most of all, he’s delighted when Lancastrians tell him that they are proud to live here and happy with their way of life. Through his tenure, Lancaster has evolved to become an alluring city for merchants, entrepreneurs, professionals, and families to settle.

The transformation of the downtown brought the community together, and helped put Lancaster on the map as a destination city. Mayor Gray notes, “If you look at any city that has revitalized itself, it starts with the downtown.

Downtown is all of ours; it doesn’t belong to just one neighborhood, it’s everybody’s. Everybody in the City
of Lancaster owns the downtown and comes to the downtown. So to revitalize the city, we started with the downtown and then spread out to the neighborhoods.” Straightening his bow-tie in his office beneath rows of impressive photographs featuring various world leaders and changemakers that he has encountered through his life, Mayor Gray remembers the drive that led him to run for this office twelve years ago. “I told my wife and my law partners that I was going to do something different. I wanted to get into public policy, run for Mayor, and give back to Lancaster, I hoped I could maybe repay it a little bit for all it’s given me.”

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