I’m requesting that Council suspend its rules and vote to approve Ordinance 19-2022 tonight (Monday), so that a special “Battle Motors Road” sign can be placed under the Reiser Avenue SE street sign on the road that leads to the Battle Motors plant. I presented the sign to Company CEO Mike Patterson at last week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the plant.
The ceremony marked the completion of the company’s $40 million dollar expansion, which increased the size of the plant to 325,000 square feet and tripled its production capacity. Mr. Patterson said Battle Motors’ goal is to produce 16 trucks per day by the end of 2023. Currently the plant employs nearly 300 workers and intends to significantly increase that number by the first of the year. We are very fortunate to have this level of industrial investment and commitment to New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas County.
With the help of State Representative Brett Hillyer, New Philadelphia is receiving $48,873.00 to demolish five dilapidated houses targeted by the Fire Inspector and Building and Zoning Code Administrator. The release of the grant money was delayed by the State Department of Development for unknown reasons. Representative Hillyer contacted DoD officials, who then released the funding to the County’s Community and Economic Development office for distribution to New Philadelphia and the other county communities who applied for the grant money. The list of properties to be demolished in New Philadelphia include:
- 252 St. Clair Avenue SW
- 451 Ray Avenue NW
- 607 Ray Avenue NW
- 1142 Tuscarawas Avenue NW
Also, the City is using Service Department funds to take down the buildings and car wash at the old Puritan Laundry property on the west side of Mill Avenue SW.
Prior to tonight’s (Monday’s) Council meeting, I attended the annual Schoenbrunn Village Volunteer Dinner to thank the volunteers for their efforts to make this year’s 250th Anniversary celebration one to remember. The events they planned reminded all of us of the historic significance of Schoenbrunn and why the village and its story must be preserved for future generations to learn.
Last week at the Quaker Foundation’s building dedication ceremony, I presented John and Peggy Stratton with a proclamation honoring their philanthropy, which established the Quaker Foundation in 1993. To date, the organization has provided New Philadelphia High School graduates and teachers with over $2.4 million dollars in scholarships and grants. The Strattons purchased the former Diamond Shop Jewelers building on North Broadway in 2007 to be the Foundation’s headquarters, and last year donated the building to the Foundation.
Tomorrow (Tuesday), members of the City administration are meeting with ODOT District 11 officials to discuss the creation of a truck route to guide semis and other large vehicles away from the downtown area. City police have noted an increase in heavy truck traffic through the square over the past two years. Downtown merchants and restaurants have also complained about the noise level created by the traffic, particularly during the summer months.
In a related matter, the equipment ordered has finally arrived and soon, pedestrian crossing flashing lights will be installed at the mid-block cross walk at Allen Lane and South Broadway. The flashers will be similar to the pedestrian lights installed on Wabash Avenue by Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium.
During its regular monthly meeting tomorrow (Tuesday), the City Planning Commission will interview a second company that specializes in making municipal zoning code revisions. Many of the regulations in the City’s existing zoning code have not been updated since 1987. Since then, there have been changes in the types of signage and property uses. The Commission members and I agree that revisions are necessary to fit the City’s Master/Vision Plan and to try to remove gray areas of zoning code enforcement. The first interview of a company took place last week. Only two firms answered the request for proposal that I issued in July.
Have you seen the newest public art in downtown New Philadelphia? This past week, local mural artists Sarah Dugger and Jon Stucky completed their latest works. Ms. Dugger’s “Greetings from New Philadelphia” mural was painted on the west side of the J.I.M.S. Place building on West High Avenue. Mr. Stucky painted a new mural on the east side of the building on 1st Drive SW behind the Mini-Shop Drive Thru.
I want to thank the property owners and financial contributors for their support of public art in our downtown area. The murals give visual artists the opportunity to display their creativity and talent, while drawing more residents and visitors to our downtown to support local businesses.
These new murals join the county high school art students’ traffic box wraps as the newest additions to the downtown public art gallery.
The City’s Fire Inspector has served a Notice of Initiation of Nuisance Declaration Process letter to the owners of the Days Inn, formerly the OYO Motel, at 181 Bluebell Drive SW. The notice said that criminal and drug activity has occurred at the motel, stating: “Over the past 12 months, the New Philadelphia Police Department and/or Fire Department have responded to complaints at the above-address at least 51 times.” Under the nuisance ordinance adopted by City Council earlier this year, the letter is the first step toward declaring the motel as a nuisance property if it does not comply with the corrective actions listed by the Fire Inspector. The notice states that if additional nuisance activities or any additional felony occurs over the next year on the property, or within a thousand feet of the property, the motel will be declared a “Nuisance Property”, and the owners would be responsible for the cost of the response of all Safety Force Personnel. Under the ordinance, the owners can appeal the notice to the City’s Housing Board of Appeals.
Over the weekend on social media, the owners of Miller’s Creamery announced that they had purchased the former Arby’s restaurant building at 2337 East High Avenue. The owners said that the new location will allow Miller’s Creamery to be open year-round with a drive-thru, dine in seating and a large patio out front. So, this will be the last year for their seasonal location by the airport. Thank you, Miller’s Creamery, for growing your business in New Philadelphia!
The City’s Airport Commission received word last week that the installation of new runway lighting at Harry Clever Field is being delayed because the construction contractor is awaiting parts from a supplier. The contractor is hoping the boards for the lights and lighting package arrive by mid-October. When the project does get underway, Harry Clever Field will be periodically closed because of the construction schedule. Once that’s known, notices will be sent out to the aviation community.
The City Park Board and the Tuscora Park Foundation have set the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony to officially open the new pickleball courts at Tuscora Park for Sunday, October 16th at 1pm. The Foundation will have a Chicken BBQ fundraiser on Al Maloney Drive prior to the event from 11am to 1pm. Tickets are available from any Tuscora Park Foundation board trustee or at McInturf Realty’s office on Tuscarawas Avenue NW. The construction of the four new courts is progressing on schedule. The project should be completed by the end of this month.
The City has cleared the first hurdle in the effort to build a bike and walking trail to Roswell. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resources Management has approved the City’s request to apply for a federal Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grant to construct the trail. It would be built on the City-owned railroad right-of-way that extends from Beaver Avenue NE, east along State Route 39 to the Roswell village limit. The route traverses an area where deep, slope and strip mines were once located. Preliminary estimates put the cost of the project at around $3.2 million dollars. Project assistance is being provided by Rural Action’s New Philadelphia office. The next step is to complete the application for funding and submit it to ODNR by the September 16th deadline. The AMLER grant program is very competitive. ODNR said 24 other communities received approval to apply for funding. The Roswell trail is included in the City’s overall bicycle and pedestrian connectivity plan.
The active shooter training sessions held this past weekend at New Philadelphia High School were successful, according to Police Chief Mike Goodwin. All patrol officers participated in the training, as well as members of the police auxiliary unit. School teachers and staff members were trained on how to respond to active shooter threats. I thank Captain Ty Norris for organizing and supervising the training, and all the participants for making the commitment to this effort. Captain Norris is also advising local churches that want to develop or update their security plans.
Before the rain arrived last Saturday evening, I presented a mayoral proclamation to Margaret Bonamico to honor her 50 years of service to Trumpet in the Land and to recognize “Trumpet’s” 53 years as being Ohio’s official state play and the longest outdoor theatre production. The text of the proclamation is attached to the end of my report. Saturday’s was the final performance of “Trumpet” for this season, but not the final production on the amphitheater stage. Many of the “Trumpet” actors will return on September 30th, October 1st and October 7th and 8th for their annual Halloween performance of “Dracula.”
President Kemp, I would like to give the remainder of my time to New Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Amy Wentworth, so she can give us an update on school activities and what to expect in the new school year.
City of New Philadelphia
Office of the Mayor
WHEREAS, The “Trumpet in the Land” actors walked onto the stage of the Schoenbrunn Amphitheater to perform Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Paul Green’s outdoor drama for the first time on July 3, 1970; and
WHEREAS, Now celebrating their 53rd season, they continue to bring the story of the founding of Ohio’s first settlement to life, set in the very hills that David Zeisberger and his group of Moravian missionaries once walked with their Christian Delaware brethren two hundred fifty years ago; and
WHEREAS, “Trumpet in the Land” has become an integral part of our community, as well as Ohio’s official state play and longest running outdoor theatre production, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Bonamico siblings (Margaret, Joe, and Roseann) and the many actors, technicians, and volunteers that have graced the amphitheater stage over the years; and
WHEREAS, General Manager Margaret Bonamico also celebrated her 50th anniversary with “Trumpet in the Land” on June 29th of this year, tirelessly giving of her time and talent through long hours, endless details, and the occasional rain storm to make the production possible each summer; and
WHEREAS, It is only fitting that we recognize “Trumpet in the Land” for sharing the rich history of our area through the performing arts as we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Schoenbrunn settlement this year; and
WHEREAS, We wish Margaret many more years of success at “Trumpet in the Land” and thank her and the “Trumpet” cast and crew members for their work to continue to bring the play’s message of peace and brotherhood to New Philadelphia’s citizens and visitors
NOW THEREFORE, I, Joel Beahm Day, Mayor of the City of New Philadelphia, do hereby designate and proclaim Saturday, the 20th day of August 2022 as
“TRUMPET IN THE LAND APPRECIATION DAY”
in the City of New Philadelphia, and I urge all City of New Philadelphia residents to join with us in extending a warm congratulations and heartfelt appreciation to “Trumpet in the Land” for 53 wonderful seasons and to Margaret Bonamico for 50 years of service to “Trumpet in the Land” and her community.
In Witness, Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of New Philadelphia to be affixed, this, the 20th day of August 2022.
Joel B. Day, Mayor
City of New Philadelphia
At noon today (Monday), a ground-breaking ceremony was held at Tuscora Park to mark the beginning of pickleball court construction. Four courts will be built on Al Maloney Way, just north of the tennis courts. The $220,000.00 project will take a month to six weeks to complete. It’s being funded by private donations and $30,000.00 from the City Parks Department budget.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) members of the City’s safety forces will meet with local church representatives to discuss security and become familiar with any plans that churches may have to respond to active shooter and related emergencies. This meeting continues our initiative to create a community-wide response plan.
The City will be using the $6,600.00 monthly payments from Ohio’s opioid settlement to help fund a second school resource officer for New Philadelphia City Schools. The leaders of New Philadelphia’s safety forces, Health Commissioner Ionno and Law Director Fete all agreed that would be the best use of the money. And NP Schools Superintendent Amy Wentworth also agreed at a meeting we had with her last Friday. Together we will now seek additional funding for the position and begin the process of selecting and training a member of our current police force to assume school resource officer duties.
At its monthly meeting last Thursday, the City’s Downtown Design Standards Board of Review approved traffic box wrap designs submitted by high school art students in Tuscarawas County.
House of Stones Quadrant Front Avenue & South Broadway
Fair Ave. & North Broadway Ray Ave. & North Broadway
2nd Street & East High 2nd Street & West High
Board members came up with the idea of using the traffic boxes as canvases where the art students could express their talents. The wraps will be installed over the next month.
I will issue a proclamation on Wednesday declaring August 10th as “Congressman Bob Gibbs Appreciation Day” in New Philadelphia. On that day, the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce will host a luncheon honoring the retiring Congressman, who has served our City and our County well. Congressman Gibbs will be ending a career in public service that began in the Ohio House of Representatives in 2003.
The City Administration and Firefighters Local 1501 have reached an impasse over financial issues in our negotiations on a new three-year contract. So, following Ohio’s collective bargaining process, both sides will present their arguments to a factfinder on Tuesday, August 16th. With the information, the factfinder will attempt the resolve the impasse.
Firemen have a tradition that whenever a new fire engine is purchased, it is pushed into the fire station instead of driven. With the approval of City Council, you, the taxpayers of New Philadelphia, have purchased a new Pierce fire engine. It will be delivered to the City on July 30th. The Fire Department is inviting you to help push the new engine into the station at 4pm on Saturday, July 30th. There will be concessions and free popcorn. Plus, you’ll be able to view the other fire equipment and apparatus that your tax dollars have purchased. This new fire truck is expected to be in service for 20 years, just like the engine it replaced. The new Pierce’s cost was $692,000.00, just under the $700,000.00 budgeted for it.
The City is now providing free limited access wireless Internet service to the downtown business district. The name you will see on your smartphone Wi-Fi settings is “Downtown Wireless”. Users will be limited to 5 Mbps bandwidth to check email and browse the Internet. Social Media and video streaming are unavailable to conserve overall bandwidth and to provide a more positive user experience. There will be a time limit on usage. Websites and resources with adult material and those that pose a security threat are blocked. Pioneer 360 has provided this map of the coverage area in the Central Business District.
When you make the wireless connection, a splash page will appear, asking you to accept terms and conditions. The service is being provided through the City’s fiber optic network, which was installed two years ago by Horizon. Its cost is included in the City’s monthly payment to Horizon for Internet service.
The City would appreciate any feedback on your use of the wireless connection. Email the City’s Information Specialist, Larry Lowdermilk, at email@example.com with comments and questions.
Last week I signed the final agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to receive an FAA grant of $135,000.00 to relocate the taxiway at Harry Clever Field. The taxiway is used by airplanes to access the airport runway. ODOT-Aviation and the City are each contributing $7,500.00 toward the project, which includes LED edge lighting and directional signs. Construction is expected to get underway this fall.
The Mayor’s office has been contacting local church leaders to establish a meeting date in August when City safety forces can discuss security measures. This is the next step in the development of a community plan to prevent or respond to active shooter and other such incidents. New Philadelphia’s fire and police departments have met with local school officials and are developing a drill that will educate staff members and teachers. The final step in this process will be a meeting with local businesses.
The Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation and Broadband Ohio are asking Tuscarawas County residents and business owners to take an online survey to gather more information about current broadband access and options in the county. The survey can be found at www.tuscedc.com/connectusc and takes about five minutes to complete. It is included in the TCEDC’s “ConnectTusc” campaign to document the need for more broadband investment in the county. The survey’s results will help the county secure grant funding for projects that will expand high speed Internet access to underserved rural and incorporated communities.
At its monthly meeting last Thursday, the Downtown Design Standards Board of Review selected the Gavin’s quadrant downtown as the location for the City’s Love Tusc sculpture. Local artist Tony Contini will design the imagery on the sculpture. It will be included in the county-wide “Love Tusc Sculpture Tour” project by the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership. The sculpture itself is in the shape of Tuscarawas County as the photo shows.
Love Tusc sculpture on display at Art on the Alley
According to TAP, the imagery painted on each sculpture will capture the spirit and cultural identity of its community. Donations are being accepted to cover the $6,950.00 cost of the New Philadelphia sculpture. You can make a donation online by going to www.tuscarawasartspartnership.org/lovetusc-sculpture-tour. The year-long project will conclude in May of 2023 with a special preview night at the KSU-Tusc Performing Arts Center.
Meanwhile, the DDSBR members continue to work on developing design standards for façade improvements to downtown storefronts. Right now, they are exploring how other communities have used façade easement tax incentives to encourage property owners to restore the original look of their storefronts.
The Ohio Office of Budget and Management has notified me that the City’s second tranche of American Rescue Plan Act funds should arrive by July 15th. It will be $911,858.00, the same amount the City received in its first tranche. The money will be used to help pay for construction of a new storm sewer system to eliminate the high water problem at the West High Avenue/4th Street intersection and also some street paving. The money from the first tranche was used to move the water line under the Joy/Howden property to the right of way along Mill Avenue SW, and a few other smaller water line projects in the City.
Aviators making nighttime flights to Harry Clever Field now have guidance from a new airport beacon light. Installation of the new beacon was recently completed by Perram Electric of Wadsworth, Ohio, the project’s lowest bidder. Its new location is beside the City water reservoir at the top of Tech Park Drive NE. One hundred percent of the project’s cost was paid for with a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The old beacon light is being stored at Harry Clever Field. The City’s Airport Commission is considering repurposing it as a historic display at the airport.
I want to give a big shout out to the members of the First Town Days Festival Committee for the hard work they put in to give the community another memorable celebration. The weather was great. The City Slickers pounded the County Terminators 24-3 in the annual festival softball game. The fireworks show still has people talking. And the quality of car show entries this year made it really hard to pick the winner of the Mayor’s trophy. I went with the red 1953 Mercury. It was a beauty and as old as I am 😊.
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 distr
John Knisely Municipal Centre
150 East High Avenue
New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663
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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
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