Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Former mayor a tireless civic gem

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

"Doc" Boike rolls up guide string for flower planting at the memorial. As a city official, he pushed for the memorial at Riverside Drive and West Loveland Avenue, and he's credited with civic improvements such as expanding the park system. He also came up with the idea to stamp Valentine's Day cards with the Loveland postmark.
LOVELAND - If it takes 12 years to make a good garden, as a gardening enthusiast once wrote, then Roland "Doc" Boike is almost there.

For about a decade, the former mayor and retired chiropractor has toiled in the soil - along with a handful of volunteers - to clear and plant flowers at the Loveland Veterans' Memorial that he pushed to build at Riverside Drive and West Loveland Avenue.

Tuesday, the knees of his blue jeans glazed with mud, the 73-year-old Korean War veteran flitted around, restaking a planting line here, then grabbing another flat of yellow marigolds so he could drop in flowers behind a volunteer with an auger who was drilling planting holes in the dark, rich dirt.

By week's end, Boike hopes to have 3,000 marigolds and purple and red periwinkles planted.

For Boike, organizing the affair is part of a history of service to the city he adopted in 1965.

"As the old saying goes, a boy can't do well in his own hometown," Boike said, referring to his Madeira roots. "I get a lot of satisfaction out of it."

As a former councilman, mayor and vice mayor in the 1970s and 1980s, he was part of a group that pushed to modernize the city, preparing it for an eventual influx of subdivisions and businesses. They expanded the park system and developed a commerce park, as well as the city's trailhead on the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

But, civic resume aside, Boike might be better known as the man who put the love in Loveland.

As co-founder and president of the Loveland Area Chamber of Commerce, Boike capitalized on Valentine's Day as a way to draw attention to the city.

First, he penned the city's Valentine slogan, "There is nothing in life so sweet as love." Then he came up with the idea to stamp Valentine cards with the Loveland postmark.


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