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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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        Community reinvestment, streamlined regulations, and stable finances and infrastructure projects were among last year’s highlights of Northwood Mayor Ed Schimmel’s State of the City address.

        The city administration set into motion a community-generated vision to redevelop the former Woodville Mall site, which he called “our largest eyesore.” The city also developed plans to improve Brentwood Park, and completely altered regulations to stimulate new development opportunities along Woodville Road.

        “A just-inked School Travel Plan will now provide students with solutions that will allow them, for the first time ever, to walk and bike safely to their new school,” he said.

        The city’s finances, he said, are in good shape, with stable general revenues and income taxes.

        While income tax collections were generally flat last year, the city took in $800,000 more than what was spent, he said.

        “Our reserve balance, which is close to $14 million, is at levels unlike other communities our size in Northwest Ohio,” he said.

        The Finance Department, headed by Finance Director Ken Yant, completed its 20th annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association.

Engaged Safety Services

        The city recorded its eighth year of declining crime largely due to investments made in the 27 member police department, he said. He praised Chief Thomas Cairl for emphasizing early intervention and community policing.

        Traffic crashes are slightly up due to traffic accidents on I-75. But major crimes are down 6% from the previous year, he said.

        “Transparency is a benchmark of our policing efforts,” he said. “All of our dispatch logs and police reports, as well as neighborhood level crime data, can be accessed by going directly to the police department’s web page at www.northwoodpolice.com.”

        The 40 member Fire/EMS Department, under the leadership of Fire Chief Joel Whitmore, continued a progressive outreach effort with residents and schools to decrease runs and fire events within the city, he said.

        “Our Fire Department continues to conduct proactive programs like home fire safety assessments that can result in the installation of free smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Department personnel also work diligently in the classrooms of the Northwood Local Schools District to educate the students on the many aspects of fire prevention. Our fire and EMS personnel continually strive to be the best in their profession; meeting, and many times exceeding, necessary training hours to make our community safer while providing round-the-clock fire and EMS staffing,” said Schimmel.

        Clerk of Mayor’s Court, Laura Schroeder, “ensures that the court runs in an efficient and cost effective manner.”

        Last year, her office yielded less fines and court costs than the previous year due to fewer citations, possibly because of the proactive policing techniques of the city’s police force, according to Schimmel.

        “To streamline the citation process, folks can pay their citations online or over the phone through a third party company called Court Solutions,” he said.

Stable infrastructure

        The city’s infrastructure is stable and being continuously improved, said Schimmel, thanks to Public Works Director Craig Meier and City Engineer Dave Kuhn.

        Last year, the city completed over $1million in road resurfacing projects that included streets like Eisenhower, Ryan Place, Macarthur, West Pointe, Potomac, Bedford, Chesapeake, and sections of Wales and Bradner roads.

        Several capital improvements in business areas of the city will help improve the flow of people and cargo, he said.

        “Gone are the days of long wait lines at the intersection of Tracy and Wales roads with the construction of a right turn lane. State grant funding also allowed intersection improvements to the entrance to the McNerney Business Park. In 2019, we welcome the North American Headquarters of Sahm Glass to McNerney Park,” he said.

        “A fresh and improved face to Oregon Road,” he added, “will continue to evolve as the city works with TMACOG, ODOT, the Wood County Engineer and Owens Community College to complete additional pedestrian connectivity elements.”

        These elements include sidewalks and bike lanes along the road from Wales south to State Route 795 and beyond, he said.

        “Some of the Wood County’s largest and most productive businesses are located along Oregon Road and these improvements will allow residents and employees to move along the corridor more efficiently than ever before,” he said.

        The city continues to remain firm with Northwest Water and Sewer District in developing cost effective solutions in providing water and sewer services to residents, he said.

Economic Development

        This year, the city will continue to make neighborhood improvements and deploy economic development and planning tools, he said.

        “It’s my belief that economic development must begin at the neighborhood level because neighbors are the consumers and potential employees that employers look for. You can’t have the businesses we seek without thriving neighborhoods. To this end, Brentwood Park will be outfitted with a new bike and walking trail, and plans are currently underway for new a concession stand to help service the park and the Miracle League,” he said.

        “Our community cannot thrive unless our neighborhoods do. In 2018, we invested over $3 million back into our neighborhoods between capital and general fund revenues. Through the leadership of Robbie Barrett, our code enforcement officer, our property maintenance and vacant property ordinance is helping to minimize property blight. Robbie will soon be joined by a new planning and zoning coordinator, and together they will work to ensure all property owners remain team players in our community,” he said. “But the stability of our neighborhoods shouldn’t be the responsibility of only two people. I am calling on every city resident to assist us in revitalizing our neighborhoods. Your efforts to keep your property tidy, well-maintained and report issues will promote the livability and desirability of Northwood, which will attract more housing and businesses over time.”

        A major effort of his administration, he said, is to bring life and investment back to the former Woodville Mall footprint.

        “We took progressive, bold steps to take all necessary actions to rid our community of this hazardous eyesore. Northwood became the first municipality in Ohio to leverage resources from the Ohio Water Development Authority to abate over $2 million dollars worth of asbestos in the abandoned buildings. This action was necessary to return this site back into an economic asset. The buildings may be gone, but there’s still much more to do,” he said.

        Last year, several visioning sessions with the public honed a practical market-based vision for the mall site called “The Enclave,” a mixed use development that will include a multitude of amenities, including a public park, walking trails and Northwood’s first “Main Street.”

        The economic development tools the city created over the past few years, such as the Woodville Road Renewal and Façade Grant program and Community Reinvestment Area program, have helped with over $4 million dollars in property investments, with over $1million alone at Northwood Commons, he said.  

        Also last year, the city:

  • Remediated the former AP Gas Station on Woodville Road through help of grant funding from the State of Ohio;
  • Joined the Energy Special Improvement District that allows businesses to tap into low interest financing for energy improvements. The program allowed the city to improve the lighting at city hall saving taxpayers about $25,000 per year in lighting costs;
  • Hosted 11 Northwood Business Luncheons that well attended by business leaders and stakeholders looking to improve the community;
  • Installed a right turn lane at the intersection of Wales and Tracy roads that facilitated truck traffic movement. This joint project was possible with a matching 50% grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission;
  • Made Oregon Road improvements, including resurfacing, traffic control signal improvements, a dedicated turn lane at Arbor Drive and a bicycle lane. They will eventually connect southerly with similar lanes along this corridor. This joint project was also made possible from matching grants from the State of Ohio.

        “As we advance into 2019, our businesses, property owners and investors will continue to be welcomed by a streamlined regulatory environment and incentives that can be authorized quicker than any community in the region. This month, new zoning regulations will be in place that will allow for projects located in certain areas along Woodville Road to be advanced in timeframes never yet seen before in the region. My goal as we advance into 2019 is to develop even more economic development tools by creating a community improvement corporation and deploying tools like tax increment financing to pay for public infrastructure at The Enclave,” said Schimmel.

 

Universal Income

What do you think of presidential candidate Andrew Yang's proposal for a universal basic income of $1,000 per month for every adult?
32550042 [{"id":"323","title":"It will help millions of people who are increasingly losing their jobs to automation.","votes":"1","pct":8.33,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"324","title":"No, if the proposal is paid for by tax payers.","votes":"10","pct":83.33,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"325","title":"Yes, if billionaires pay for it, as labor costs disappear due to automation.","votes":"1","pct":8.33,"type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/118-universal-income No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...