Danville mayor set to retire after term

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) Danville's mayor is retiring after nearly 46 years in public service.

Mayor John Gilstrap's term ends in June and he has announced he will not seek re-election.

He says it's time. He says he will be turning 71 in April and it's time to slow down.

"And I thought, it's time to take a break. It's time to sit back and make phone calls to the new mayor," says Gilstrap.

Mayor John Gilstrap has worked in public service since 1972. He has served on city council for the last eight years, and has been mayor since 2016.

He's been very busy all of his life. He says he's not quite sure exactly what retirement even looks like yet.

"I certainly will travel and I certainly will spend more time with my grandchildren, both the ones that are local and the one in New York," he says.

Gilstrap says he's excited to be able to travel more to see his brand new grandson, that's just five weeks old.

During his time as mayor, Gilstrap says he's most proud of the improvements that have been made in the River District, and how well the city council works together.

"I have been very fortunate to work with a council that's really, really dedicated council members," he says.

Deciding to retire wasn't easy. He says even though he won't be mayor, he will still be around.

"I love you, city of Danville. You're a great city. We have marvelous potential and as a team, working together, we'll accomplish a lot," he says.

Mayor Gilstrap's term ends on June 30, which means there will be a new mayor here in Danville.

The deadline for anyone to file to run in the primary election is March 6. The election is May 1.