The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Economic development, a renewal grant to promote the business district, infrastructure projects, and a lower crime rate were among the highlights of Northwood Mayor Ed Schimmel’s State of the City.

“As we move forward, my message for 2017 is one of optimism. But this optimism cannot take shape without hard work ahead,” said Schimmel.

The city started the year with a positive general fund carryover, a 20 percent increase in income tax collections, and a 2 percent decrease in general expenses, according to Schimmel. The city also approved a balanced budget, and projected general fund revenue to be even healthier “due to the seeds we continue to plant on the economic development front, coupled with our devotion towards a lean government,” said Schimmel.

“We are poising ourselves to live up to our moniker as the `City of Opportunity’ and we are always looking to streamline our procedures to accommodate the eager and the industriousness,” he said. “In fact, we are already the ‘City of Opportunity,’ for some of Wood County’s largest employers. And by the end of this year, with the landing of Buckeye Broadband along Oregon Road, we will have two of Wood County’s largest private employers located in our community.”

Economic development
The city will continue to hone its economic development and planning tools, he said.

“Our community continues to witness an emerging pattern of growth and revitalization, as millions of dollars of new real property investments were spent on residential and construction projects in 2016. We will continue to look for new areas to apply our newly updated community reinvestment area program to provide new residents and investors’ tax relief on new property investments.”

His administration and city council have placed an emphasis on neighborhood revitalization because “economic development always begins at home,” he said.

“In diligently working to implement our new property maintenance and vacant property ordinance, our community is on track with holding property owners accountable. City officials will also be aggressively pursuing initiatives and grant resources to improve the infrastructure and connectivity in our neighborhoods as well,” he said.

He asked for the public’s help in reporting “any eyesores” in their neighborhoods to Robbie Barrett, the city’s new nuisance officer, and Kim Vaculik, the planning and zoning administrator, to hold property owners accountable.

“They will not be able to do this task alone,” said Schimmel. “If you are aware of any eyesores in your neighborhood, please make us aware of it. This will be vital for our long term success, and your efforts to help improve our neighborhoods will help to promote the livability and desirability of Northwood, which over time will attract more businesses.”

Renewal grant
This spring, the city will introduce a program to help promote the livelihood of the business district along Woodville Road. The Woodville Road Renewal Grant is an incentive that will provide a 50 percent reimbursement rebate of up to $20,000 in expenses to eligible property and business owners that wish to improve the exterior facades of their income producing commercial properties.

To help improve the energy efficiency of properties in the community, the city will seek to be part of an Energy Special Improvement District. As part of the district, owners of energy inefficient properties will be able to tap into low interest financing from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to improve them, he said.

The city has also taken “bold steps” to place contaminated properties, otherwise known as brownfields, back into productive use to generate revenue, he said. He hoped that the former Woodville Mall property, in particular, will get more attention this year.

“This year “may be the year that the once-premier mall, the first of its kind in Northwest Ohio, is finally removed. I assure you more news to come on this issue,” he said.

“Also, we cannot forget another vital area of our community that’s located along I-75 and Oregon Road,” he said. “As one of the city’s primary employment corridors, improvements to Oregon Road are being planned to better accommodate future traffic in conjunction with new development occurring in the area and to help promote better pedestrian activity between Owens Community College to the south.”


Fire department
The fire department reported a more tranquil 2016 than 2015, possibly due to the “proactive nature of our firefighters, as the best prevention is early intervention,” said Schimmel.

Firefighters continue to conduct Home Fire Safety Assessments and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and work in the classrooms of the Northwood Local Schools to educate students on fire prevention, said Schimmel. Firefighters logged 3,195 man hours of training and provide round-the-clock staffing of an ambulance.

The department continues to seek alternative funding to enhance service without adding an additional burden on the taxpayers, said Schimmel. The department received a $3,500 grant from the Ohio Division of EMS for equipment, and a $3,217 grant from the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office for training.


Police department
The department has seen the sixth consecutive decline in crime in Northwood, possibly due to “their unique and progressive community policing efforts,” said Schimmel.

“Our dedicated staff of 23 full-time and four part-time employees is essential to providing the quality of police services out citizens expect,” he said. “As recognition of the department’s effectiveness, it was certified by the State of Ohio for adopting and implementing state standards established by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to strengthen police and community relations,” he said.

“Because transparency is extremely important to our police officers, anyone interested in further details can access our dispatch log and police reports by going directly to the police department’s web page at www.northwoodpolice.com. We also have a link on our web page to CrimeReports.com where citizens have free access to neighborhood level crime data in near real time.”


Infrastructure
There were several infrastructure projects completed last year, including the resurfacing of parts of Bordeaux Rue, Brentwood Drive, Jamestown Drive, Royal Avenue, Terri Rue, Tracy Road, Venice Drive, Earl Street and Short Street, he noted.

“The next few years will witness improvements to Oregon Road and the improvement of the intersection at Tracy and Wales roads,” he said.

The resurfacing and drainage of Mason Street was also completed last year. “This was a joint project with Northwest Water and Sewer to install sanitary sewer lines and resurface the road. And to continue to better manage storm water and flooding, new pumps were installed at the Parc Du Langlade detention pond,” he added.

An Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) grant application to improve the Wales/Tracy road intersection was submitted by the city’s engineer in September. The project ranked the highest in Wood County to receive funding. The improvement will take place next year. “In the past year, Northwood received over $335,000 in grants to offset our road improvement costs,” he said.

Korea

Do you think nuclear war with N. Korea is likely?
445906913 [{"id":"202","title":"Yes. We can't allow a dictator to threaten the U.S. with nuclear missiles.","votes":"0","pct":0,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"203","title":"Yes. The N. Korean dictator is unbalanced and unpredictable.","votes":"7","pct":50,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"204","title":"No. A diplomatic solution must be found.","votes":"7","pct":50,"type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/77-korea No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...