New Philadelphia’s police and fire departments are working with local education officials to develop a coordinated plan to respond to school security events. The first steps in the process were taken last Thursday when representatives of New Philadelphia City Schools, Buckeye Career Center and Kent State-Tuscarawas met with the City’s safety forces to share security information. All agreed that there is a need for school safety drills to practice the plan.
A used City police cruiser has been repurposed into a new courtesy car for aviators visiting Harry Clever Field. The 2018 Ford Explorer is the second such vehicle at the airport that can be used by pilots who are having their aircraft serviced or who have flown in for a day of touring the area. There are more planes flying into Harry Clever Field because of ProAv’s avionics business and the popularity of Miller’s Creamery stand and Maggoo’s Restaurant.
Earlier this year another used cruiser was repurposed for use by the Fire Department’s Community Outreach Coordinator.
The inflationary cost of materials and labor shortages have caused several potential developers of the Joy/Howden property on South Broadway to delay returning Request for Proposals (RFPs) to the County Economic Development and Finance Alliance (port authority). That’s what Marla Akridge, the head of the EDFA, recently reported to me. The EDFA owns the property and is overseeing its redevelopment. Meanwhile, building demolition on the property is nearly complete. The oldest building on the site, built in the 1880s, will remain in hopes it can be used as a key feature in the redevelopment.
Governor Mike DeWine has invited me, along with other mayors from the Appalachian region of Ohio, to join him tomorrow (Tuesday) for the ceremonial signing of House Bill 377 at the Governor’s residence in Columbus. HB 377 appropriates $500 million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the Ohio BUILDS Appalachia Plan, which was originally proposed by the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly earlier this year. According to Governor DeWine, the plan’s three priority areas are restoring historic downtowns, improving community health, and rebuilding the local workforce. New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas County have needs in all three of the priority areas. Following the signing, Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik and John Carey, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, will host a short session about the vision for the funding.
The 45th annual First Town Days Festival begins this Thursday, June 30th at Tuscora Park and will conclude on Monday, July 4th. You can go to the Festival Facebook page and website at www.firsttowndays.com to learn more about each day’s events. I want to thank the members of the festival committee for their hard work to keep the First Town Days Festival as the community’s annual celebration of summer and the best family-friendly festival in Ohio. The Grand Parade steps off at 6:30pm on Friday, July 1st, and the annual fireworks show will be on Saturday night, July 2nd.
In light of the recent mass shootings across the nation, the City of New Philadelphia will be leading an effort to create a community-wide security plan that will encompass our school systems, our churches and our businesses. We will start the process by having our safety forces meet with officials from New Philadelphia City Schools, Tuscarawas Central Catholic Middle and High School, Buckeye Career Center, and Kent State University-Tuscarawas. The goal will be to review each institution's active shooter and other security measures so that our police and fire departments learn them and can offer recommendations to improve them. Once that is achieved, we will move on to our churches, then businesses.
The idea of a community-wide response plan was discussed by City department heads at our most recent staff meeting. All agreed that it was time to create a proactive “See Something, Say Something” campaign that will discover security shortfalls, teach prevention, and allow us to respond as a community to any threats. All Council members are invited to attend the meetings and have a role in developing the plan.
Last week, I attended the two-day annual Mayors Association of Ohio conference in Dublin, where Governor Mike DeWine told us that he will sign the legislation that will allow local school boards to decide whether to allow school employees to carry guns.
The Governor said that he looked at putting police resource officers in each school, but decided it was too expensive. Also included in the legislation is $100 million from the state’s construction budget for school security upgrades and $5 million for upgrades at colleges. In his address, Governor DeWine also told the mayors that he is making a substantial amount of ARPA money available for student wellness and urged schools to use it for mental health purposes.
New Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Amy Wentworth has notified me that construction of the new track at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium will begin this week. The delayed start is because the project’s contractor got behind on other projects due to the wet spring weather. Superintendent Wentworth said completion of the project has now been pushed back to early August. The stadium will be closed during the construction.
From now on, the downtown square will be closed to traffic during all Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies on the County Courthouse Plaza. The disrespect shown by a few motorists during the May 30th Memorial Day ceremony led me to make that decision.
Late last year, I used funds from the Mayor’s Office Economic Development budget to pay the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership to conduct a study on the feasibility of creating an Arts and Culture District in downtown New Philadelphia. The study has been completed. And here tonight to discuss its findings is Wilma Mullet, the Executive Director of TAP. President Kemp, I yield the remainder of my time to Ms. Mullet for her presentation and ask that the Arts and Culture District proposal be assigned to the proper Council committee.
Tonight (Monday) I ask that Council add Resolution 20-2022 to its legislative agenda and pass it on its first reading. The resolution ratifies the three-year contract that the City administration has negotiated with the City’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) - Clerical unit. If approved by Council, the City will have new three-year contracts with its police union and both AFSCME units. All three accepted the wage increases and higher health insurance contributions offered by the Administration. Negotiations with the City’s remaining bargaining unit - International Association of Firefighters - are at an impasse and headed into the collective bargaining fact-finding process. Our presentation to the factfinder won’t be held until July.
The Ohio Municipal League is asking for involvement by local elected officials and citizens to stop continued attempts by the Ohio Legislature to take away Home Rule. Article XVIII, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution grants municipalities the authority to adopt laws and regulations for its own self-government. Specifically, Section 3 states:
“Municipalities shall have authority to exercise all powers of local self- government and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanitary and other similar regulations, as are not in conflict with general laws.”
At the OML Summer Regional Conference I attended this past Friday in Athens, OML officials warned that legislation continues to be introduced in the Ohio House and Senate that threaten to remove New Philadelphia’s home rule and put decisions that should be made locally into the hands of State government. One such measure being considered is House Bill 563, which would prohibit local regulation of short-term rentals like Airbnbs.
OML Executive Director Kent Scarrett told us that the lack of participation by local elected officials and citizens is giving special interest groups and lobbyists more say in writing legislation. To get involved, you can start by learning about the bills being considered by the Ohio Legislature by visiting this website: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/. You can also find the contact information for State Representative Brett Hillyer and Ohio Senator Jay Hottinger on the website.
A few City departments are still in need of summer help. The Street Department, Parks Department, Cemetery Department, Water and Wastewater Departments all depend on seasonal workers to help with the summer workload. The jobs are perfect for newly graduated high school seniors, and college and tech school students home for the summer. The pay is $10 an hour. To apply, download an employment application from the City’s website at http://www.newphilaoh.com/Job-Opportunities.
Everyone who works for the City of New Philadelphia knows that they are called to serve our citizens and businesses. Serving the public is what we do. And as Mayor, it brings me great joy when I can commend employees for going above their call of duty. Such is the case for General Services employees Triston Hunter, Donny Pettitt and Mike Brinkley.
On Tuesday, April 12th, at around 1:45 p.m., they were driving in a City vehicle on Park Avenue NW when they saw an elderly resident fall down the steps outside of her home. They stopped to check on her, called 911 and stayed with the resident until the paramedics arrived. Had they not responded so quickly, it’s uncertain how long the woman would have gone without help. I ask Triston, Donny, and Mike to come forward, so I can present each of them with Certificates of Commendation and thank them on behalf of the citizens of New Philadelphia.
Tuscora Park officially opens for the summer on Saturday, May 28th. The renovation of the Ferris wheel probably won’t be finished in time for Saturday’s opening.
Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1077 is having its annual Memorial Day weekend pancake breakfast and fly-in on Sunday, May 29th from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the EAA hanger at Harry Clever Field.
The City and County’s Annual Memorial Day Ceremony is on Monday, May 30th at 11 a.m. on the County Courthouse plaza.
HAVE A SAFE AND RESTFUL HOLIDAY WEEKEND!
The Tuscarawas County Board of Elections is going to have a new home. The County Commissioners have purchased parcels at 933 East High Avenue and on 10th Street NE on which to build a new office for the County Board of Elections. According to the Commissioners, the office building will be located on the East High Avenue parcel. The parcels behind it on 10th Street will be used for parking and for development of green space. They also give the Board of Elections office room for future growth if needed.
Service Director McAbier and I recently met with the Commissioners to confirm the City utilities available to the site. They asked if we would be interested in using the parcel that fronts Ray Avenue NE for green space, since floodplain regulations prohibit building construction on it. We welcomed the idea and will work with the County to perhaps develop the parcel into a small park.
The Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) has invited citizens to participate in a Broadband Stakeholders Public Meeting. It will be held on Wednesday, May 18th from 9 to 11am at the William E. Winters Boardroom on the second floor of the County Office Building. The purpose of the meeting is to share the information gathered from the Broadband Feasibility Study that is being conducted for OMEGA by Reid Consulting Group. The meeting will give you an opportunity to help OMEGA’s effort to have Federal and State construction dollars directed into those areas of Tuscarawas County currently underserved by high-speed broadband Internet connections. You can learn more about the study by following this link: https://omegadistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/tuscarawas.pdf.
Last week, I attended several ceremonies that reminded me of how blessed we are to be living in such a special community.
On Tuesday, the kick-off event was held to begin the year-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Schoenbrunn Village. On May 3, 1772, Moravian missionary David Zeisberger and his Delaware Christian congregation arrived at the village location and forever changed the course of history for the Tuscarawas Valley and maybe America. History indicates that New Philadelphia’s founder John Knisely knew Missionary Zeisberger, and that friendship could have been a key reason why Knisely bought the land on which our City was built. Plan to attend as many 250th anniversary events as you can and take the family to see “Trumpet in the Land” at the Schoenbrunn Amphitheater to experience the drama that resulted from the settling of five Moravian missions along the Tuscarawas River.
On Thursday at the annual Tuscarawas County Heritage Home Association’s annual awards ceremony, I had the honor of presenting a Heroes of History award to Don and Susie Whittingham of New Philadelphia. They were the major contributors to the funding necessary to restore the Welcome to Our City sign atop the House of Stones building. Plus, the Whittinghams have funded construction of the parklet on South Broadway and the painting of several public murals in the downtown area and at Harry Clever Field. It was only proper that they received special recognition for their commitment to the arts in New Philadelphia and to downtown revitalization.
Then on Friday, the Quaker Foundation held its annual recognition banquet at the KSU Performing Arts Center. Awards were given to distinguished teachers and alumni of New Philadelphia High School. And this year the Foundation awarded $266,900.00 in scholarships to NPHS graduating seniors. Each of the distinguished alumni credited their success to the education and upbringing they received in New Philadelphia. One hallmark of New Philadelphians is how we continue to invest in the futures of our young people through organizations like the Quaker Foundation and the Buckeye Career Center Foundation. Which brings to mind the fact that a child born in New Philadelphia never has to leave the City limits to earn a skill certificate or college degree. Our school systems and the KSU-Tusc campus give us that advantage over other communities in Eastern Ohio.
Now that the grass is firmly rooted, the Parks Department has opened the two grass parking lots at the Southside Community Park. The first lot is located on the right side of the entrance road near the pollinator garden and restroom. The second lot is located beside the dog park. The lots have a geo-grid and grass base as required by Clean Ohio grant criteria. Please utilize these parking areas during your visits to the park.
If you’re planning a spring cleanup around the house and your yard, please call the General Services garage at 330-339-2121 or 330-364-4491 extension 1433 to schedule a special pickup, instead of just putting your stuff on a curb strip.
Art on the Alley is coming up on Sunday, May 15th from noon until 5pm in the downtown alleyways. Don’t forget to check out the murals in Artagain Alley between West High Avenue and Allen Lane SW.
The NPHS Graduation Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 21st at 7:30pm at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium. Congratulations graduating seniors. We are proud of your accomplishments and wish you the best as your life’s journey continues.
Tuscora Park will officially open on Saturday, May 28th during Memorial Day weekend. RTY reports that all rides passed state inspection and the restored Ferris wheel should be ready for riders that weekend.
Tuesday, May 3rd will be a very special day in New Philadelphia. That’s when its founders – the Moravian Church and the Delaware nation – will return to Schoenbrunn to begin a two-day celebration of the day Moravian missionary David Zeisberger and his Delaware followers arrived at the village site in 1772. Representatives of the church and the Delaware nation will be the featured speakers at the opening ceremony at 10am on May 3rd. I encourage all New Philadelphians to join in the celebration. Attend the anniversary events planned for May 3rd and 4th, and the other events scheduled throughout the year. Schoenbrunn was the first of five Moravian missions settled in Tuscarawas County, the others being Goshen, Gnadenhutten, Salem and New Schoenbrunn.
Just down the road on Delaware Drive is another of the City’s historic sites that you might not be aware of. The City’s Cemetery Board has given its approval to a resident’s request to erect a historical marker at East Avenue Cemetery to mark the graves of Ohio Governor Vic Donahey and his family. At its monthly meeting on April 14th, Tom Adamich outlined his research on the Donahey family as he presented his plan to board members. The marker will be an Ohio History Connection design, the same used for the markers at the County Courthouse and at Ohio and Erie Canal Lock 13 on Commercial Avenue SE.
The costs of operating RTY’s rides and concessions at Tuscora Park have not escaped the price inflation gripping the country. At its monthly meeting last week, the Park Board approved RTY’s price increase proposal for 2022. One-dollar rides will be a dollar-fifty, a book will be 12 rides for ten dollars, and putt-putt golf will be a dollar more at four dollars a game. Food prices at the concession stands will be twenty-five cents more on average.
The previous owner has donated the former Puritan Laundry property at Bank Lane and Mill Avenue SW to the City. Through the Tuscarawas County Economic Development office, the City has applied for State grant funding to tear down the structures on the property and conduct an environmental cleanup. The donation of the parcels on the east side of Mill Avenue SW is on hold while the City seeks Federal EPA funding to complete the cleanup.
The New Philadelphia Police Department is back to full force with the addition of Officer Katelyn Brown. She took her oath of office last Monday. Officer Brown previously served the Village of Strasburg. The NPPD staff now numbers 25 officers and two K-9 units. New Philadelphia is blessed to have men and women in blue so committed to serve and protect our community.
Marla Akridge, the new executive director of the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation, has told me that five different developers have already expressed an interest in the Joy/Howden property on South Broadway. The property is currently owned by the county’s Economic Development and Finance Alliance (port authority), which is under the authority of the TCEDC. Ms. Akridge said Requests for Proposal (RFPs) have been sent to 27 developers. The deadline for submissions is April 29th.
Meanwhile, the building demolition on the property continues, with all the manufacturing buildings torn down except for the original 1884 structure. It has been inspected by a structural engineer, who reported back that its bones remain solid. The hope is that it can be repurposed into a historic feature in the property’s redevelopment. The former office building is the last to be demolished. That should begin soon.
New Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Amy Wentworth has informed me that construction of the new track at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium is slated to begin on Monday, June 6th. The project’s tentative completion date is around August 1st. The stadium will be closed to the public during the construction period.
The new track construction presents an opportunity to encourage walkers to use the other walking trails in the City: at the Southside Community Park and the Crider Avenue Walking Trail Park. I’ve also asked the City Park Board to consider marking two walking trails around Tuscora Park: an upper trail around the perimeter of the park that includes the inclines on the North Broadway sidewalk and along Bill Kidd Drive, and a lower trail along Al Maloney Way that would feature a walk through the park.
Upper Walking Trail Lower Walking Trail
Fall 2021 view of the Southside Community Park walking trail and trail entrance from the pollinator garden
The walking trail park is located at the end of Crider Avenue NE
There is also a nice walking trail through the Kent State-Tuscarawas campus. The trail continues across University Drive NE through the fields near the Tolloty Centre and the former county home.
This past Friday, the City Health Department staff held a retirement send off for Lee Finley, who served 11 years as the department’s Environmental Health Director. Mr. Finley had 21 years of environmental health and related experience when he joined the New Philadelphia Health Department on April 11, 2011. Many of us will remember Lee as the man driving the mosquito sprayer through our neighborhoods on warm summer nights. As Health Commissioner Vickie Ionno stated: “Lee’s knowledge, dedication, and commitment to his job and to the City of New Philadelphia has proven to be a great asset.”
We wish Mr. Finley well in his retirement and thank him for a job well done. The Health Department’s new Environmental Health Director is Zachary Phillips of New Philadelphia. He was formerly a registered Sanitarian with the Tuscarawas County Health Department. Director Phillips holds a degree in Community Health Education from Malone University and is a certified health education specialist.
The Tuscarawas Arts Partnership continues to seek donations to create New Philadelphia’s sculpture in TAP’s LoveTusc County Sculpture Tour project. The cost to create and erect the sculpture is $6, 950.00. According to TAP’s website, so far $250 has been donated for our sculpture. Visit the LoveTusc page at https://www.tuscarawasartspartnership.org/lovetusc-sculpture-tour to learn more about the project, its purpose and goal, and how you can help fund New Philadelphia’s sculpture. I’m asking City Council members to offer suggestions for a location for the sculpture. Members of the City’s Downtown Design Standards Board of Review have been asked to do the same.
Congratulations to the Times Reporter’s Jon Baker for recently winning the “Best Feature Writer” award in the Ohio APME Newspaper Contest. In my opinion, Mr. Baker has done a great job of fairly and accurately reporting the news from New Philadelphia’s local government. And his articles on Tuscarawas County history are always a “must read.” I’m glad to see his peers recognize his talent and his commitment to journalism.
Council President Kemp, I request an executive session with Council at the conclusion of tonight’s meeting to update members on negotiations with the City’s union bargaining units.
Soap Box Derby: Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1st
Art on the Alley Festival: Sunday, May 1st
Schoenbrunn Village 250th Anniversary Kick-off Celebration: Tuesday, May 3rd
During his recent “State of the State” speech, I was very encouraged to hear Governor Mike DeWine tell the Ohio General Assembly that there is a “renaissance happening in our Appalachian region”, and that it is time to “make a long-overdue, comprehensive investment in Appalachia.” Tuscarawas County is among the 32 counties in Ohio’s Appalachian region. The Governor said he will work with community leaders to plan and implement improvements such as downtown re-development, expanding broadband coverage, workforce development, student wellness in schools and fighting the on-going battle against addiction. These are priority issues for the Tuscarawas County Mayors Association. I’m glad that Governor DeWine will join in our effort to find solutions.
Our region is where Ohio began. And as the Governor stated, it is time to re-ignite “the pioneer spirit of the Ohioans who built this state!” You can watch Governor DeWine’s address at www.ohiochannel.org or download the text at https://governor.ohio.gov/media/news-and-media/Governor-DeWines-2022-State-of-the-State-Address-Seize-our-Ohio-Moment-03232022.
The Governor’s remarks dovetailed into what I learned by attending the recent National Association of Development Organizations and Development District Association of Appalachia joint conference in Washington D.C. Several of the conference sessions dealt with the need to expand the broadband infrastructure throughout our region to attract more manufacturers and better utilize emerging Internet-based technologies.
Other sessions explored alternative methods employers could use to find workers and ways to encourage local entrepreneurship. The abundance of oil and natural gas in the Appalachian region was not discussed at the conference, which I took as a reflection of the change of priorities in the Federal government.
If Ohio directs its attention to Tuscarawas County and the Appalachian counties as the Governor said, it’s my belief that the pioneering spirit that once brought us steel mills and coal mines to build America, will re-emerge using new technologies and our natural resources.
The Arbor Day Foundation has again recognized New Philadelphia as a “Tree City USA” community for its commitment to urban forestry. This is the 31st consecutive year for the City to achieve “Tree City USA” recognition. We will celebrate the achievement with a tree planting ceremony on Arbor Day April 29th.
Last week, I had the honor of giving the oath of office to K-9 Cooper, the newest member of the New Philadelphia Police Department. Cooper, a two-year-old Belgian Malinois, is now officially on-duty with his handler, Officer Bradley Geist. Cooper is the second K-9 on the force. He joins K-9 Diesel and his handler, Officer Mike Pierce. K-9 units have proven to be invaluable crime fighting tools to our police force. I want to sincerely thank the businesses and community members whose contributions made the hiring of our four-legged officers possible.
The Tuscarawas Arts Partnership has put out a call for student artists to design original artwork to place on eight traffic switch boxes in the downtown New Philadelphia area. One student per school district in the county will be selected by the City’s Downtown Design Standards Board of Review. Their design will be printed on a wrap that will cover the switch boxes. Members of the DDSBR came up with the idea. I think it’s a great way to display the talent of Tuscarawas County’s young artists in the downtown area of the county seat.
For more information, go to TAP’s website at www.tuscarawasartspartnership.com.
The City has an opportunity to receive a $250,000.00 grant that would reduce by more than 50 percent its local share of the cost to build the bicycle and pedestrian trail from 13th Street NE to downtown. That’s why I am urging City Council to approve Resolution 9-2022, which would allow me to apply to the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) for the grant money. The estimated cost of the total project is just over $1.8 million. New Philadelphia’s share of the cost would be $441,541.00. If our application is approved, the local share would be reduced to $191,541.00. The balance would be paid with ODOT Transportation Alternatives Program funds.
I have made new appointments to the City’s Airport Commission and ask that City Council confirm them within 90 days as required by ordinance.
John Marsh III is a 1968 graduate of NPHS and a graduate of the engineering college at The Ohio State University. He spent his career working in hospital management and consulting, primarily for university teaching hospitals. He holds a commercial pilot’s license and learned to fly at Harry Clever Field in 1967. He and his wife Carol are retired and returned to New Philadelphia in 2020.
Bob Bedard is president of National Association Supply Cooperative, or NASCO-OP on Reiser Avenue SW. NASCO-OP is the recycling industry’s source for supplies and equipment. He is a licensed pilot who hangars his plane at Harry Clever Field. Mr. Bedard has served on several industry-related boards as well as the boards of the Tuscarawas County YMCA and County Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife Robin reside in Bolivar.
One of my favorite duties as mayor is to give oaths of office to promote members of the City’s safety forces to higher ranks. I did just that this past Friday to promote officer Tessa Pohovey to the rank of captain and officer Kurt Olson to the rank of sergeant. It is not easy to rise in rank in our safety forces. The required tests are tough and the commitment to stay on a promotion path is challenging. New Philadelphia is blessed to have officers like Captain Pohovey and Sergeant Olson serving our community and protecting our neighborhoods and businesses.
In her annual report issued last week, Judge Nanette DeGarmo VonAllman said the New Philadelphia Municipal Court handled 9,224 cases last year, an increase of 5.65 percent over 2020. Most of the cases were related to traffic citations and criminal misdemeanors. In 2021, the Court held 1,222 bench trials and 91 Small Claims trials. From fines and court costs, over $1.17 million was remitted to the City of New Philadelphia and over $125,000.00 to Tuscarawas County. The full report can be viewed on the Municipal Court’s website at www.npmunicipalcourt.org.
On Friday of this week, I will be meeting with other members of the Tuscarawas County Transportation Improvement District’s board of directors to begin crafting a Request for Proposal to conduct a study of the Interstate 77/US 250 interchange on West High Avenue. Last week TID members were notified that the Ohio Department of Development awarded the district a $60,000.00 grant to help pay for a study to improve the I-77/250 interchange by eliminating the need to exit from 250 onto West High Avenue to get to I-77 south. As we’ve all experienced, that design creates daily bottlenecks under the overpass as vehicles line up to enter the I-77 south ramp. The traffic issues are impeding growth south along 16th Street SW/Stonecreek Road and have long affected the businesses located in the area of the West High bridge and Bluebell Drive NW.
There are not enough crossing guards at New Philadelphia’s schools. Last week, crossing guard coordinator Captain Joe Skinner informed Safety Director Popham and myself that two more guards resigned their positions. I reached out to New Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Wentworth to ask if the school district could help. But she replied saying the school district also is suffering from staff shortages. Currently, the position pays ten dollars an hour. Raising that rate is under consideration if that would generate more interest. Crossing guards work 10-12 hours per week. If any residents can help, please contact the Mayor’s office at 330-364-4491 extension 1242 or Captain Skinner at the Police Department at 330-364-4491 extension 1332.
On behalf of the residents and businesses in New Philadelphia, I send our best wishes to Harry Eadon, following his retirement as the Executive Director of the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation. For the past 20 years, Mr. Eadon had been at the forefront of many key business developments in our county, including the redevelopment of the former Reeves Mill property in Dover, the former Alsco plant in Gnadenhutten and most recently, the location of ProVia in Strasburg. Here in New Philadelphia, Mr. Eadon was responsible for the restoration of the former ODOT property on West High Avenue and was instrumental in the donation, cleanup, and redevelopment of the former Howden Buffalo/Joy property on South Broadway.
The TCEDC board of directors hired Ohio native Marla Akridge as his successor. Ms. Akridge has an extensive economic development background. Once she’s settled in, I will invite her to speak to City Council. She recently stopped by the Mayor’s office. The conversation we had was very encouraging.
My annual State of the City Report is nearly finished. It will be issued later this week after it’s proofread, and necessary revisions are made. The report will be posted on the City’s website and linked on the City’s social media. Despite the challenges our City faced last year in the second year of the pandemic, the state of our city as we enter 2022 remains strong and optimistic.
On March 13th I will be traveling to Washington DC with members of the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association Executive Board and staff. We will be attending the three-day National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and the Development District Association of Appalachia (DDAA) conference. Conference sessions will focus on regional development, the federal landscape and programs and policies that matter most to Regional Development Organizations and their stakeholders. We also plan to attend a lunch meeting on Capital Hill with congressional staff and members of other Ohio Local Development Districts. I was recently elected as secretary of OMEGA’s Executive Board.
New Philadelphia Police Auxiliary Officers Bob Everett and Brian Klopfer are with us tonight (Monday) to receive Certificates of Commendation for the life-saving action they took earlier this month.
On February 4th, Bob Everett and Brian Klopfer were off duty, plowing snow in the neighborhood of Lakeview Road NW, when they heard a call come over the radio of a house at 1306 Lakeview being on fire. Both went to the house and were able to rescue an elderly woman who was inside before fire consumed the house. To show our appreciation of their efforts, City Safety Director Greg Popham and myself would like to present Certificates of Commendation to each officer. Their certificates read:
Given this 28th day of February 2022, on behalf of the residents of the City of New Philadelphia,
Mayor Joel B. Day and Safety Director Greg Popham are pleased to commend ROBERT EVERETT And BRIAN KLOPFER for their heroic actions on February 4, 2022.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., the New Philadelphia Police Department received a call of a fire inside of a residence at 1306 Lakeview Road NW. The fire department was enroute to this location. Auxiliary officers Bob Everett and Brian Klopfer were out clearing snow in the area as civilians. They heard the call come over the radio and responded to the area to attempt to help if they were able. When they arrived, they noticed that smoke was starting to fill the house. They saw an elderly female inside trying to get an elderly male out of the residence. Everett and Klopfer were able to get the female from the house and saved her from being overcome by the smoke. They made multiple attempts to go back inside and get the male subject to safety but were overpowered by the smoke. Officers Everett and Klopfer have gone above and beyond the scope of their appointment and have shown the outstanding qualities of heroism and selflessness which embody those of the auxiliary members of our police department.
In the bigger cities across America, it has become popular to disparage the work of police officers. But not so here in the City of New Philadelphia, where we are proud of the men and women in blue who choose to serve and protect our community. We have had two examples of that duty in this month alone.
On February 4th, Bob Everett and Brian Klopfer were off-duty, plowing snow in the neighborhood of Lakeview Road NW, when they heard a call come over the radio of a house at 1306 Lakeview being on fire. Both went to the house and were able to rescue an elderly woman who was inside before fire consumed the house. Both Everett and Klopfer are New Philadelphia Police Auxiliary Officers.
The next day, on February 5th, New Philadelphia patrolmen Andrew Boyd and Mark Sadolsky responded to a call from the mother of a handicapped child on Juniper Street SE, and shoveled snow from the wheelchair ramp and sidewalk at the home.
These are illustrations of the commitment our Police Department has made to serve the citizens of New Philadelphia. To show our appreciation of their efforts, City Safety Director Greg Popham and myself would like to present Certificates of Commendation to each officer. The certificates to officers Boyd and Sadolsky read:
Given this 14th day of February 2022, on behalf of the residents of the City of New Philadelphia, Mayor Joel B. Day and Safety Director Greg Popham are pleased to commend:
ANDREW BOYD and MARK SADOLSKY for their dedication and commitment to our residents. On Saturday, February 5th, 2022, a woman called the police department to ask if they knew of anyone who could remove snow for her daughter, who is handicapped, after a winter storm hit the area. Officer Boyd, along with Officer Sadolsky, went to the home on Juniper Street Southeast themselves to shovel snow from the ramp and sidewalk. Officers Boyd and Sadolsky went above and beyond their role in law enforcement to help a resident in need. Their action exemplified the New Philadelphia Police Department’s motto “To Serve and Protect.”
Auxiliary officers Everett and Klopfer could not attend tonight’s (Monday’s) City Council meeting because of prior commitments. They will receive their Certificates of Commendation during Council’s February 28th meeting.
While we are on the subject of commitments, I would like to report that, after 32 years of service, Colleen Hostetler has retired as the head of RTY’s catering and concessions at Tuscora Park. We will miss her smiling face and culinary skills. RTY will be announcing her replacement soon. Let’s hope Colleen’s recipes remain in the kitchen. RTY, Inc. is the non-profit organization that operates rides, catering and concessions at Tuscora Park.
The City will again be applying to State Senator Jay Hottinger’s office to receive funding from the State Biennial Budget to continue construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail at Waterworks Park. Two years ago, the City was able to receive $50,000.00 from Senator Hottinger to begin the trail’s construction. That money is being used along the Tuscarawas River, to move the fence line around the Gradall plant back ten feet to make way for the towpath. Now the City will apply for $100,000.00 from the latest biennial budget to help pay for the actual construction of the trail. Once the entire towpath trail is completed, the southern terminus from Cleveland will be at the boat ramp at Waterworks Park.
The latest statistics from the City Health Department show that the number of reported coronavirus cases in the City continues to decline. Here are the numbers provided by Nichole Bache, the Health Department’s Director of Nursing:
The Health Department still has COVID booster shots available, as well as flu shots.
Friday’s announcement that Intel will build two computer chip manufacturing plants in Licking County will likely turn the Columbus-Newark area into America’s next Silicon Valley. And I have no doubt that the economic benefits that come with Intel will also extend into Tuscarawas County and New Philadelphia because of our locations along Interstate 77. Suppliers to Intel no longer must be in China or India. They can be in our county and our City, less than two hours away from the two chip plants. The challenge now is for us to reach out to those suppliers, to let them know of the benefits of our location and our quality of life. My administration and City Council have been preparing New Philadelphia for such an opportunity: by improving our infrastructure, building bike and pedestrian paths and boat ramps along the Tuscarawas River, revitalizing our downtown, and supporting Kent State-Tuscarawas and our school systems, which will educate and train the next generation of skilled workers. I have always believed that the assets we have in our community make it competitive and the best City in the county to live, raise a family and do business.
This week members of the New Philadelphia Business and Community Association’s Board of Directors and myself will have a Zoom meeting with Francis Jo Hamilton, the director of revitalization for Heritage Ohio. We will discuss having Heritage Ohio do an assessment of downtown New Philadelphia. The NPBCA is looking for advice on how to redirect the organization so it can reverse a lack of participation by businesses and community members. An assessment would give an honest opinion of our downtown’s strengths and weaknesses, and what it will take to put together a solid plan for growth and sustainability. If the group decides to go forward, from the mayor’s Economic Development budget the City would contribute $2,500.00 of the assessment’s $5,000.00 cost. The balance would be paid by the NPBCA. For more information about a downtown assessment, visit www.heritage ohio.org.
The City has received a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to pay 100% of the cost of erecting a new airport beacon on Tech Park Drive NE. The beacon will be located on City property near the water reservoir at the top of the hill. The cost is $77,970.00. The work will be done by Perram Electric of Wadsworth, the low bidder on the project. The new beacon will utilize the latest illumination technology to make nighttime navigation to Harry Clever Field safer for aviators. The City Airport Commission is also working to have the taxiways and field lighting upgraded over the next two years.
On Friday, the City administration’s bargaining team will resume its negotiations on a new three-year contract with the FOP police units. Negotiations with the IAFF firefighter’s union will resume next Monday, January 31st. Talks with the service and clerical units of the City’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal workers union will continue in February. Negotiations on new three-year agreements were put on hold until the City received updated health insurance information. All units are working under extensions of the contracts that expired on December 31st.
New Philadelphia is blessed to have people who care about the welfare of others. Tonight (Monday) I want to honor two such people for their actions with letters of commendation.
Cheryl Graham is being commended for her many years of dedication and service to our schools and community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mrs. Cheryl Graham has baked and delivered cookies and brownies to the New Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020.
City firefighter Brock Burris is being commended for his life-saving action on the evening of December 18th, 2021.
The letters read as follows:
On behalf of the residents of the City of New Philadelphia, Mayor Joel B. Day is pleased to commend
CHERYL GRAHAM for her many years of dedication and service to our schools and community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mrs. Cheryl Graham has baked and delivered cookies and brownies to the New Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020. She faithfully shows up at the front doors of the Police and Fire Stations every Monday morning to deliver her homemade goodies, with a bright smile and encouraging note. We are grateful for Mrs. Graham’s concern for the welfare of the City’s first responders.
On behalf of the residents of the City of New Philadelphia, Mayor Joel B. Day is pleased to commend
BROCK BURRIS for his heroic actions on December 18, 2021. Late that evening, Firefighter/Paramedic Burris and his wife were returning home from dinner, driving on South Broadway. As they drove past the ball fields on Mill Avenue, Brock saw what appeared to be a person lying in the tall grass alongside the bank near the Tuscarawas River. He turned his car around and went back to the area, where he found an adult male lying unresponsive, face down in the mud. Brock’s wife called 911 as Brock initiated patient care by opening the man’s airway so he could breathe. Paramedics from the Fire Department soon arrived. They secured the patient’s airway and transported him to the Emergency Room at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital. Because of Brock’s concern and training, the patient made a full recovery and had the opportunity to enjoy the holidays with his family.
The local effects of the coronavirus pandemic were evident by the marked increase in calls answered by the City’s Fire Department in 2021. The Fire Department responded to 3,502 calls last year, 452 more than in 2020. People sick with COVID symptoms accounted for some of the calls. Fire Chief Jim Parrish noted that 32 percent of the calls were related to drug abuse and mental illness. This is concerning for our community.
The New Philadelphia Police Department recorded 11,409 calls in 2021, about a thousand less than the previous year. I haven’t received the exact number yet, but I do know that many of the calls in 2021 were related to drug abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness. Help is available for people suffering from addiction and mental illness, starting with the local Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board. Call them at 330-364-6488.
So far, here is a list of improvement projects that are already underway or will begin this year in the City. Much of the costs are being funded by state and federal grants, or grants from private foundations:
These projects are in addition to the annual paving, water and sewer line and other maintenance projects the City will do this year.
Most chapters of the City’s codified Planning and Zoning Code have not been updated since 1987. A lot has changed in 35 years in terms of property uses, so members of the City’s Planning Commission will be busy this year reviewing the code and bringing revision recommendations to City Council.
I want to welcome Ward 2 representative Mitch Pace and Ward 4 representative Jimmy Seldenright to New Philadelphia’s city government. Your public service will give you an opportunity to make decisions that improve the quality of life in New Philadelphia and keep our City as the best place in the county to do business and raise a family.
Continue to pray for the healing of our community members who are ill with COVID and pray to comfort the families who have lost loved ones to the virus. This battle has taken a toll on all of us. Our support of each other is just as important now than it was at the start of the pandemic two years ago.
The coronavirus pandemic continued to challenge the operations and resolve of every City department in 2021. But none more than the New Philadelphia City Health Department. If you remember, back in March the department received notice that a move was afoot in the Ohio Legislature to close health departments in cities with a population of less than 50,000. With the help of City Council, the New Philadelphia community and State Senator Jay Hottinger, Health Commissioner Vickie Ionno and her staff took on the fight to keep our health department open, in the midst of contact tracing, giving COVID-19 vaccinations, giving guidance to our school systems, compiling accreditation data and performing their other public health duties. As you know, the effort was successful. But the pandemic gave no time to rest. Our health department, and its staff of eight employees, then launched its weekly vaccination clinics at Tuscora Park and in August, completed the upload of the documents necessary to become an accredited department.
Because of another surge of cases in the City, the Health Department remains on the front line of the fight to end the pandemic. I urge you to continue to show your support of the staff and their efforts. In my mind, this year the New Philadelphia Health Department earned the title of “The Hardest Working Health Department in Ohio.”
I want to express my sincere gratitude to City Council for the many City improvements the members supported this year, among them:
As Council members, you should be proud of all that you have accomplished this year on behalf of the citizens and businesses in New Philadelphia. Speaking for them all, I say “thank you.”
Tonight, marks the final Council meeting for Councilmen Rob Maurer and John Zucal. Throughout their years of service, they were never bashful about expressing their love for this community and their principle of doing what they believed was the right thing for New Philadelphia. Over Mr. Maurer’s twenty-year tenure, and Mr. Zucal’s twelve-year tenure, they have played key roles in the City’s growth and were wise stewards of taxpayers’ dollars. Thank you for your service to New Philadelphia. Well done. As a token of the City’s appreciation of your time on Council, I would like to present you with these “Key to the City” plaques.
HAPPY NEW YEAR NEW PHILADELPHIA! Remain patient and positive. 2022 will bring us new challenges, but also new opportunities to grow and improve our City!
I want to thank Simpson Heating and Cooling, Gradall Industries and countless other local businesses and individuals who stepped up to replace the toys lost last week in the fire at the Toys for Tots warehouse in Sherrodsville. As reported in the Times Reporter, Simpson’s drive-thru collection Sunday at Tuscora Park had vehicles lined up from Story Book Lane, along Tuscora Avenue to North Broadway. Gradall Industries president Mike Popovich informed me that the company matched dollar-for-dollar the contributions made by its employees.
You can always count on New Philadelphians, and Tuscarawas Countians, to answer the calls in times of need. Because of your generosity, the children served by the Toys for Tots campaign will have a Christmas: one we will all remember.
On a side note related to Sunday’s event, I want to thank Park Policewoman Wendy Jones, who took it upon herself to personally reset all the Storybook Lane displays that were blown over by last Saturday’s wind gusts.
Battle Motors has announced that it has acquired $120 million in growth capital to fund the expansion of its Crane Carrier plant in New Philadelphia. In a press release, Battle Motors CEO Michael Patterson said “when we acquired Crane Carrier Corporation earlier this year, it was not our intent to simply take part in the electrification of the refuse truck market. Our intent was, and is, to offer a superior product and dominate the market.” The proceeds from the raise will be used to more than double the size of the existing plant to 350,000 square feet, provide working capital and add workforce and the necessary machines to increase production. The press release said the EV refuse trucks made by CCC include “Smart Cabs”, with enhanced Advanced Drive-Assistance Systems (ADAS) and tablets to provide additional services and safety features.
By driving down US 250, you can see the progress being made on the Crane Carrier plant expansion, as well as the progress of the expansion project underway at Freeport Press on Reiser Avenue SE. Several major employers in our City continue to make investments in their facilities, products and people. For that, we are very grateful.
The City Parks and Recreation Board has approved a request by the New Philadelphia High School Class of 1973 to erect a large metal swing near the carousel at Tuscora Park. The swing will be made of powder-coated fabricated steel and manufactured by Custom Cutters of Mount Vernon, Ohio, a company co-owned by Chip Street, a member of the class of ’73. Spokesman Jeff “Ski” Kinsey said he has sent donation requests to his classmates to help cover the cost of the project.
And I want to thank the New Philadelphia youth baseball and softball organizations for their efforts to raise money to pay for the improvements made to the baseball/softball field on the park hill (field #2). New infield dirt has been installed, the scoreboard has a new covering, and there are plans to install a field water sprinkler system and construct new dugouts. The project has been spearheaded by Youth Baseball president Mitch Pace.
Today I signed the application to the Arbor Day Foundation to have the City again designated as a Tree City USA community. If approved, next year will mark the 35th consecutive year that New Philadelphia has earned that recognition because of our commitment to maintain the tree canopy that lines our streets.
Three New Philadelphia establishments recently celebrated historic milestones. The Geib Funeral Home is celebrating its 175th anniversary. The business was founded in 1846 and has been operated by five generations of the Geib family.
Last year’s COVID outbreak cancelled the 10-year anniversary celebration of the opening of the Kent State Performing Arts Center on the KSU-Tusc campus. So the occasion was celebrated this month, on December 2nd, during the appearance of legendary comedian and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno.
And this past Thursday, Solid Rock Photos celebrated its move from Dover to downtown New Philadelphia with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. On behalf of the City and all New Philadelphia residents and businesses, I congratulate these establishments and express our gratitude for the contributions they have made, and will make, to support and improve our community.
Merry Christmas New Philadelphia. Have a safe and blessed holiday with your family and friends. This is the season of giving, which began long ago on a Holy Night in Bethlehem. Share that spirit whenever you can.
John Knisely Municipal Centre
150 East High Avenue
New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
330-364-4491, ext. 1242
John Knisely Municipal Centre
150 East High Avenue
New Philadelphia, OH 44663
330-364-4491, ext. 1242
330-364-4491, ext. 1242
330-364-4491, ext. 1242
Clerk of Council
330-364-4491, ext. 1243
330-364-4491, ext. 1210