Growing up on a hog farm near the White Oak Road north of Elkhart, Mayor Brandon Snyder helped his family raise hogs, corn and soybeans up into his early twenties. After graduating from the North Polk School District, he then would later go on to work for Huber Grading for over 14 years before accepting a position with Elder Corporation, where he currently runs heavy equipment such as dozers, scrapers, excavators, reclaimers and more. However, despite his Elkhart roots, Snyder’s first run for mayor of the local town was a rather unexpected one.
“The first time I was elected I was written in. I had not thought of running for mayor before. No one was running. So Ron, who owns and runs the garage across the street, put fliers on peoples’ doors to write me in. I have since run unopposed three times,” Snyder said.
Biggest Issues of Elkhart Today
Today, as he embarks on his fourth mayoral term, Snyder has sited numerous upcoming challenges throughout the area.
Updating, enlarging and relocating Elkhart’s sewers lagoon (in which the dirt work, piping, etc., would be out for bid soon) and updating old infrastructure, such as the aging or undersized water mains, storm intakes and ditches, asphalting or the re-asphalting of old roads are just a few among those upcoming topics Snyder anticipates the city of Elkhart will face.
“Relocating the lagoon has sparked the interest of a few people or property owners but the council and I aren’t the type of people to just steamroll property owners. We talked our way through and came out with one of the best possible outcomes I think,” Snyder said.
In addition (like many of its surrounding communities), Elkhart is also experiencing a spate of rapid growth. How this growth is addressed and managed will play a major factor in the future of the small town.
“The town is starting to grow fairly quick, and we’re trying to make sure we are going in the right direction,” Snyder said.
According to Snyder, this includes Elkhart’s zoning of properties, rewriting old outdated zonings and updating or rewording old and outdated codes so that buildings and lots for both businesses and houses are following current standards.
“We are a small town that is growing, but I also want to keep that small-town appeal. That’s why people come here,” Snyder said, “We are friendly people who like to help others.”
What makes Elkhart Unique
For Snyder, it is these friendly people of Elkhart that make this small town special and unique.
“The most special thing [about Elkhart] would be the good people we have. When we have our festival toward the end of June, for example, many people donate their time, money, equipment, land or lot space. Our residents, business owners and people outside of town all donate a lot,” Snyder said.
In the past, this festival has included a variety of events and local vendors. The 5K run, parade, tractor and truck pull, a live band and fireworks are just a few of these special features.
“It couldn’t happen without our people, business owners, land owners and donators. These people are also the reason we have things like nice ball fields and parks. Resident or not, they are all a part of Elkhart,” Snyder said.
Although his time is limited, when not working or performing mayoral duties, Snyder enjoys hunting and target shooting with his father and other friends and family. He also enjoys collecting, fixing, refurbishing and refinishing old things, such as antiques.
“I got that from my mom and dad,” Snyder added.