Former Columbus, Ohio Mayor Dana “Buck” Rinehart has died after a battle with cancer. He was 68. The colorful politician and lawyer served as mayor from 1984 to 1992, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Rinehart also was a retired Marine Corps reservist. Most recently he was partner at Rinehart Rishel & Cuckler Ltd., a law firm in the city.
“Buck was more than just a partner. He was a mentor and a friend,” the firm’s Steve Cuckler told Columbus Business First on Wednesday.
Rinehart, he said, remained a big booster of the city. “He believed in people and in Central Ohio. That’s his legacy,” Cuckler said.
News of Rinehart’s passing was lamented by many on Twitter, including the Ohio Republican Party, area journalists and citizens, according to 10 TV.
Mayor Michael Coleman said in a statement: “Throughout his career and even in his final days, Buck continued to express his love for the city of Columbus. I am grateful to have known Buck over the years, and have always appreciated his kindness and support. Our entire city mourns the loss of this charismatic leader. He is a Columbus icon who will never be forgotten.”
Council President Andrew Ginther said in a statement: “Buck used his passion and personality to inspire, and his leadership helped to make Columbus the world-class city we are today. Buck was larger than life; a Columbus icon, and we are a better city because of his service. He will be missed.”
Buck Rinehart was mayor during a period of enormous growth for Columbus, including the development of the City Center retail mall downtown and laying the foundation for what now is the $1 billion Arena District development.
“Columbus, when I took office, was poised. It knew it wanted to grow up, but it wasn’t sure what it wanted to do when it got there,” he said in a 2002 story about the challenges facing the city, notes NBC4 Columbus.
Buck Rinehart built a $28 million Downtown safety building during his years as mayor, the Franklin County Solid Waste Authority was established, I-670 from Downtown to Port Columbus was completed, City Center mall was planned and built, redevelopment of the Short North and Brewery District got under way, the Martin Luther King Center was developed, and retail and residential growth began at Easton.