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Mike Haydon’s name is known by nearly everyone who calls Springfield home, but the town’s former mayor, who also served as Gov. Steve Beshear’s chief of staff, will now forever be connected to his hometown.
The bypass from US-150 at St. Catharine College to KY-555 that was completed in 2011 was named Mike Haydon Memorial Highway on Saturday, Haydon’s birthday.
Many members of local and state government were in attendance, including Beshear, who said the occasion was bittersweet.
“I’m particularly honored to be here and to be a part of this ceremony, because Mike Haydon surely deserves this honor, that of having the new Springfield bypass named after him,” he said. “On the other hand, obviously the occasion reminds us of how much we miss him.”
He went on to point out that it was fitting for the dedication to take place in front of SCC, the school that Haydon and his wife, Lisa, attended. He also said that Haydon loved nothing more than his time in Springfield.
“This honor, to me, is one of the most fitting honors we could bestow on Mike Haydon. As all of us know, he did so much in his long career. So many political positions, and ending up as my chief of staff, but I can tell you that I don’t think there was any job or any position that he enjoyed more than being mayor of Springfield, Kentucky,” Beshear said. “That’s Mike. He loved this city, just as he loved this county, just as he loved this state.”
Sen. Jimmy Higdon said that given Haydon’s numerous political positions and impact on local policies, it was appropriate that everyone had a hand in making the Mike Haydon Memorial Highway happen.
“It was a team effort. Everybody participated in this. The city participated, the county did a resolution, it was passed in the senate and passed in the house and finally it was signed by the governor,” Higdon said.
The state representative said even more importantly than being remembered by those who knew him, Haydon’s name will be around for the next group of young leaders.
“We’ll all remember him when we see this sign, but for future generations to come along later, they can see the sign and ask, ‘Who was Mike Haydon?’, and we can tell them that he was about 5-8, but stood about eight feet tall,” Higdon said smiling. “He had one of the most colorful vocabularies in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, he was a true public servant with a heart as big as Kentucky, dedicated, loyal and a friend to all. That was our Mike Haydon.”
Following statements by several local and state officials, one of the signs designating the highway was unveiled to the crowd.