Northwood last year saw new construction and businesses, and increased investment.
New businesses include the Genesis Community Center, Tri County Wheel & Rim, Ladies Movement Fitness Club, Double Down Consignment, Northwood Quick Lube (Pennzoil), Styling Sunsations and Liberty Tax.
“The city experienced industrial growth and new construction and expansion in 2012,” said Mayor Mark Stoner.
Johnson Controls invested $3 million for an addition to its existing building, Fed Ex Freight constructed a new $15 million facility on the city’s west side, and Burger King invested $400,000 to remodel its current structure.
Over $19 million was spent for new construction projects in the city, an increase from $8 million in 2011 and $5 million in 2010.
Income tax collections were up by 4 percent in 2012 compared to 2011. Total General Fund expenditures increased by $305,448 or 7.9 percent from 2011.
The city began the year with a positive general fund carryover, and council approved a balanced 2013 budget totaling $4,399,380.
The $11.2 million Wales Road overpass project, after years of delays, is finally underway.
The project entails the construction of two overpasses over the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks on Wales Road that would effectively eliminate three railroad crossings on Drouillard and Wales roads. As part of the project, Wales and Drouillard will be realigned south of their current locations.
“Construction began in May,” Theresa Pollick, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 2 office. “This work will be ongoing through most of this year. Late fall and winter, work will begin on the bridges.”
The purpose of the project, as with other railroad grade separation projects, is to improve safety and eliminate delays. Wales Road is the only east-west street linking Northwood’s business district with its westerly neighborhoods.
The project is being financed by 90 percent federal, five percent local and five percent railroad funds. The city has been earmarking $100,000 per year for the last 10 years as part of its local match, said Mayor Mark Stoner.
The project got a shot in the arm in 2000, when former Governor Bob Taft traveled to Vickers Crossing to announce a $200 million, 10 year program to fund railroad overpasses. In 2006, Congress transferred $4 million in funds earmarked for the project to two other communities in Ohio. The Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) later announced it would fill the shortfall caused by the transferred funds.
Last year, the police department transitioned to the Lucas County 800 MHz communications system, which allowed for direct communication with all Lucas County emergency responders as well as adjacent Wood County police agencies using the system.
The city also purchased two new marked patrol cars with related equipment; an electronic criminal fingerprint machine; a WebCheck civilian applicant fingerprint system used for background checks for various positions, such as teachers, child care workers, municipal employees, coaches and nurses; two tasers and an audiolog recorder that records 9-1-1 calls, radio and telephone traffic in the communication center.
The department has now made police reports more accessible to the public by providing them on the Internet at www.northwoodpolice.com. There is also a link on the web page to CrimeReports.com, where the public has free access to neighborhood crime data in real time.
The fire department last year began staffing an ambulance with two trained personnel 24 hours a day/7 days per week, which reduced response times in the city. When not actively responding to calls, the crew conducts fire safety inspections of businesses along with performing routine vehicle and equipment maintenance.
In addition, the fire department initiated an automatic aid agreement with the Lake Township Fire Department to assist with response times to structure fires. Sharing resources greatly enhances the safety and efficiency of both fire departments while operating on a fire scene, according to Stoner.
Road improvements last year included the completion of a $1.8 mile, $224,169.45 resurfacing project involving portions of Curtice, Steck and West Andrus roads.
Also completed was a paving and drainage improvement project on portions of Sharon Drive and Florence Avenue in the northwest part of the city. The $164,747 project involved the replacement of about 1,631 feet of 6 to 8 inch storm sewers with new 6 to 10 inch storm sewers, and the replacement of one-fifth mile of road surface. The city received a $50,300 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for this project.
Stoner is expecting a busy 2013, beginning with the continuing construction of the Wales Road grade separation project, funded by ODOT and the city.
The city also plans on resurfacing a portion of Wynn Road from the north corporation limit to Curtice Road, Tracy Road from the south corporation limit to Wales Road, and Wales Road from Oram Road to Woodville Road. In addition, work on replacing the storm sewers on Flag Street and Goodrich and Harding avenues is slated for 2013 if funding permits, according to Stoner.
This year will also see continued efforts to improve drainage issues in the city.
“The message for 2013 is one of continuing challenge and guarded optimism,” said Stoner. “We will continue to adhere to a prudent spending plan as we move through a difficult economic time in our city. While the challenges of the current economic downturn linger, with its slow but steady recovery, we are extremely hopeful about the future of our community.”