MARYVILLE, Mo. — Maryville Mayor Rachael Martin is a busy, thriving, young businesswoman, wife and mother who is passionate about her family, her work and her community.
In 2018, her first year as mayor, Martin — who also is the youngest mayor in Maryville’s history — said she’s had to work hard at feeling comfortable in the role, but has been excited and happy to serve city residents.
This year marks Martin’s fifth on the City Council, and she has worked to learn and grow into the city leadership position. One of the things she’s learned is that a well-rounded budget is a true necessity for a city to continue to grow.
“If we only wanted to pave streets, we’d have the best streets in Missouri,” Martin said. “But no one would want to drive on them because we wouldn’t have retail opportunities or industries to create jobs. You have to create both a place that people want to live and a place that has the infrastructure so that they can.”
Martin said when she told people she wanted to run, it was because she saw the city making great strides at bettering the community for its residents and she wanted to help, but that she’s had to learn a lot about just what is required to keep a city running.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with city staff teaching me the ins and outs of how a lot of those things work,” she said.
Depending on the topic, from inflow and infiltration issues with the city’s sewer system to taking a ride with the snowplow crew, Martin said in order to make her votes informed ones, she spends a good portion of time learning from city crew members and the city’s Director of Public Works C.E. Goodall, City Manager Greg McDanel and Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland.
While unable to put a number on just how much time she spends per month educating herself on city issues, Martin said it has over time come to mean much more to her than a job or duty.
“My husband would say it’s a lot more (time) than I would say it is because at some point I started enjoying it so much that it didn’t feel like I was even mentally logging the time I was putting into it. I became so passionate about it, that I was doing it without thinking about it.”
She describes herself as a person who likes to be and stay busy.
“If I weren’t filling my schedule with these things, I’d be filling it with something else,” Martin said. “Even if I wasn’t choosing community service things, I know I would pick something else to keep us busy with. I think my family is used to that personality trait for me.”
Martin said she and her husband Spencer Martin have a healthy partnership and that together they both stay pretty busy. Spencer works for Northwest Missouri State University Campus Dining.
“So, he too has a very demanding work schedule,” Martin said. “We’re fortunate to live by family.”
Martin’s sister lives nearby and Spencer Martin is from Maryville so his parents also are near.
“We have to piece it together,” Martin said. “We have to be really organized. We have a color-coded calendar. I share those events with him. … That sounds really hectic and maybe like that wouldn’t be for everyone, but it’s for us. We like it.”
The mayor mom said she’s seen her daughter Quinn, 4, playing and pretending to be on her way to a meeting saying “It’s for Maryville.”
“So, I know that she’s watching and I know that she’s seeing that you have to find that piece in your life where you’re giving back to your community,” Martin said. “I hope that that’s what she takes from my time away from her, that she’s getting something from it too. It makes me feel a little choked up.”
Recently, Martin received a new position as “Community President” at Bank Midwest. Part of the new duty at work, is reaching out to the community. This allows for a portion of her time during the work day to be out and about helping to better the community.
“I have two small children at home (ages 4 and 1),” Martin wrote in an email to The Forum. “I want to be a part of Maryville’s progress, but it is most important to me that my children know that one hand is to help yourself and your loved ones. Your other hand is for helping others. Civic engagement and volunteerism has become part of my fabric, and I plan to sew it into how I raise my family.”
Martin started at the bank in 2013 as a personal banker after working at Citizen’s Bank & Trust. She was promoted to teller supervisor in 2015, banking center manager in 2016 and business banking center manager in 2017. Not until this year did she receive the distinction, part of which is due to her major involvement in the Maryville community.
She’s active in several organizations including the Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce board of directors as vice president. She’s also a member of the Maryville Rotary Club, the Maryville Tourism Board, the SSM Health Foundation Gala Committee and Downtown Maryville, also known as Maryville Downtown Improvement Organization.
Martin takes her community seriously and said 2018 was an incredibly productive year for the city with the opening of the Conference Center at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park and the opening of The Carl & Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse in conjunction with Northwest Missouri State University.
“We have done so much, that the things that we did at the beginning of the year, feel like a different year,” she said.
The city also received a $10.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the South Main Street project.
“We paved the most streets in history,” Martin said. “That giant achievement starts to blend in as the expectation becomes greater for what we do, because we are doing so many things at the same time, in every direction. From the Maryville Public Safety facility down to the swing bays at Mozingo, we’ve gotten a lot accomplished, but we’re also laying groundwork for all our next things.”
With regard to the upcoming South Main project, Martin asked that city residents be patient, because once work begins it will take quite a while. During the construction project it will be fairly messy.
“There’s going to be frustration,” she said. “We need all of our cheerleaders to come out and support us through some of the challenges that we’re going to encounter. It’s not an easy project. If it was it wouldn’t be this expensive and it wouldn’t take this long to put together. It’s going to be hard.
“Every year we have a lot going on and I think that our city staff and city administration does a really good job of always having a good mix of planning and projects, so while we’re doing a project, we’re planning the next one,” Martin said. “That’s why it always feels like there’s always something going on, because we’re constantly planning. We have South Main and now we’re going to plan downtown revitalization,” she said. “Every year we’re touching on a different area of needs in the community.”