Over $3.7 billion dollars: that’s how much money the State of Ohio is holding in its State Budget Stabilization Fund, otherwise known as the “Rainy Day” fund. And as the attached graphic shows, that number has been increasing since 2022 and is on track this year to hit its maximum balance allowed by law (Source: https://checkbook.ohio.gov/State/Resources/BSF.aspx). Ohio’s 88 counties used to receive 3.68% of the State’s General Revenue Fund (GRF) to disperse to municipalities and townships as Local Government Funds or LGF. In 2012, the Ohio Legislature slashed that percentage to 1.66% to fill the state’s projected $8 billion budget hole (Source: Ohio Municipal League LGF white paper). In the State’s last fiscal budget, that LGF percentage increased to 1.7%. I bring this to your attention because New Philadelphia, as are many Ohio cities, is facing increased operating costs: in our case in funding safety forces. Inflation is taking its toll on City finances. It might not be raining in Columbus, but it’s raining in New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas County. I brought this to the attention of State Senator Al Landis. And he’s agreed to a meeting to discuss LGF and our need to see the percentage restored to 3.68% or higher. The State of Ohio can clearly afford it. In the future, City taxpayers could face a decision to pay more for safety forces while the State sits on that amount of money waiting for a rainy day.
The City’s administration is working with New Philadelphia City Schools to help find a suitable location for construction of new school buildings. We recently sat down with Superintendent Wentworth and her team to discuss the location choices revealed in recent public meetings. Ideally, a new location should fit into the City’s Master/Vision Plan for future growth. The Master Plan encourages the location of new middle and high schools in the vicinity of Buckeye Career Center and the Kent State-Tuscarawas campus. The education hub that could be developed by connecting all three institutions would be unique to Eastern Ohio and would give our children educational opportunities not seen in other communities. In addition, there would be savings in transportation costs and eliminate the need for redundant facilities for academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities. We will continue to partner with the school district to find suitable locations.
Take a few minutes to walk or drive through Tuscora Park to view the improvements being made to Field #1, the high school baseball field. The Turf Tuscora Diamond organization has raised money through grants from local foundations and from individuals to begin transforming Field #1 into a baseball stadium. A new scoreboard and outfield fencing have been installed. Next, new dugouts and a new backstop will be installed. On another note, RTY has purchased a mini-Ferris wheel kiddie ride and has plans to acquire three more kiddie rides to install at the park. And the main Ferris wheel will be undergoing more repairs this spring, with hopes that it’s up and running sometime this summer. Also, the restrooms by the tennis and pickleball courts are being renovated. The inside is nearly completed. The outside will be finished in the spring.
Councilman Kris Kreinbihl and other members of the New Philadelphia Youth Soccer Association have taken it upon themselves to raise the money needed to install fencing around the high school soccer fields and build new dugouts and bleachers. Our kids will greatly benefit from their efforts. Thank you!
The City is also helping with the improvements by spreading a new layer of crushed stone over the soccer fields parking lot.
Her day job is the Community Engagement Director for the Stark County Sheriff’s Department. And in her spare time Michaela Thomas created the very popular Newsymom website, which is full of information for moms of all ages. Now she has launched a new project for moms called Flourish, and it’s located at New Towne Mall. President Kemp, I would like to give the balance of my time to Ms. Thomas, so she can explain the concept for Flourish, and how, I feel, it will greatly benefit our community.
Today we learned of former Mayor Greg Erb’s passing. His heavenly journey continues with the Lord and with his beloved son Daniel. Mayor Erb was a passionate man. He loved God, New Philadelphia, and America. And he had his own way of reminding you of that. To me Greg was a friend and mentor. Our City is better because of his efforts. Remember his family in your prayers. Information about his memorial service can be found on the Geib Funeral Home website: https://www.geibfuneral.com/obituaries.
Last Friday, Service Director McAbier and I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the Keller Williams Legacy Group Realty – Tuscarawas County office at 216 North Broadway next to the post office. KW Legacy is a new real estate company in the county. We are pleased that it chose New Philadelphia as its home. Please join me in welcoming them to our growing downtown business community.
New signs will soon be erected at Tuscora Park to assist persons who struggle to verbally express their wants, needs and feelings. The City Park Board approved the communication boards designed by Lacey Herbert-Stephen and donated by her Lacey PAC Adaptive Movement Center. One of the boards will be placed at the children’s playground adjacent to the main parking lot on Tuscora Avenue NW. The other will be located in the kiddie ride area. A Spanish language version is located on the backside of the boards. The communication boards fill a need to make Tuscora Park more handicap accessible.
Tuesday night at 6:30pm the New Philadelphia Schools administration will be having a public meeting to discuss the future of the school district’s buildings. The meeting is being held at the Front Avenue Administrative Building. Among the issues to be discussed will be the location of new school buildings. I urge all City Council members to attend. To me, it’s essential that the City partner with the New Philadelphia School Board to determine the course of action to address the school district’s aging buildings.
Items from former Mayor Mike Taylor’s extensive collection of New Philadelphia memorabilia will soon be on display at City Hall. George Lawrence of Museum Acrylics has built and installed three display cases in the vestibule outside of the Mayor’s office. Mayor Taylor’s collection is now in the hands of the Tuscarawas County Heritage Home Association, which donated the cases. Items from his collection will be rotated periodically. I will announce when the cases are filled and ready for public viewing. I want to thank Mayor Taylor and the Heritage Home Association for using this project to give all of us a better appreciation of New Philadelphia’s history.
I would like to give the remainder of my time to property and business owner Jim Knisely, who is leading a group of downtown businesses that are interested in creating a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, in the downtown area. Following his presentation, President Kemp, I ask that the DORA idea be assigned to a Council committee for consideration.
The City Planning Commission will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1pm in the Council chamber to have another workshop with Wendy Moeller of Compass Point Planning. Her company was hired last year to modernize the City’s zoning and planning codes. Ms. Moeller told us last week that she has completed about 75 percent of the revisions. The latest changes will be reviewed at tomorrow’s meeting.
In a related matter, I have appointed retired City Councilman Dean Holland to fill the vacancy on the Commission created by Tom Simmelink leaving to take his at-large Council seat.
The City’s cost of providing its quality services has not escaped rising prices of equipment and materials due to inflation and supply chain issues. Department heads have reported increases anywhere from 30 percent to 100 percent for materials and equipment, and delivery dates up to 18 to 24 months in some cases. And landfill fees for sanitation and recycling are expected to increase this year. To offset these rising costs, I have asked Service Director McAbier to review the various fees charged by his service departments and recommend revisions.
Included in the donation to the City of the Hicks property on Bank Lane SE is a storage building being rented to a Cleveland area company that provides commercial cleaning and maintenance supplies. Now that the City owns the building, I would like to use the rent money to create an economic development fund that could provide grants and loans to downtown businesses to improve building facades and make other improvements. Council President Kemp, I ask that this proposal be assigned to the proper Council committee for consideration.
As the mayor of the largest municipality in Tuscarawas County, I have the privilege of being a member of the County’s Regional Planning Commission. One of the issues that will be discussed by the RPC this year is land use in the county. Land available for housing and industrial development is at the top of many lists in State government and among private developers. Ohio’s industrial and technological growth, particularly by Intel, is driving the need. The challenge for Tuscarawas County is to protect its agricultural land while identifying logical areas for development. That’s why a plan is necessary.
Last week the Mayor’s office received a check for $50,000 from the Kimble Foundation to help pay for construction of Phase 2 of the Southside Community Park. I sent a “Thank You” letter to the Foundation that expressed the City’s gratitude for its support of the project. Phase 2 of the Southside Community Park’s development calls for completion of the lighted entrance road from Oldtown Valley Road to the high school soccer fields, construction of youth soccer fields, completion of a mile walking path around the circumference of the park, construction of two restroom/concession stands and parking lots. The City has also applied for construction grants from the Federal government through Senator Sherrod Brown’s office and from the State’s biennial budget through Representative Brett Hillyer’s office. An application for a State NatureWorks grant was recently rejected.
Much of what the City has achieved this year is the result of the leadership and skill of our department heads. They quietly carry out their daily duties of managing their offices, the workforce, and complete projects with not a lot of fanfare. But I want to take this time to thank them and ask that you do the same: Service Director Ron McAbier, Water Department Superintendent Scott DeVault, Wastewater and Sewer Department Superintendent Brian Myers, Cemetery Department Superintendent Kelly Herron, Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Rod Miller, General Services Superintendent Ray Grewell, Safety Director Greg Popham, Fire Chief Jim Parrish, Police Chief Tessa Pohovey, Human Resources Director Lacey McKain, Income Tax Administrator Vicki Daniels, and Health Commissioner Vickie Ionno. And don’t forget Mayor’s Office Executive Assistant Jami Bailey and our Assistant Superintendents Chris Osborne, Adam Fulton, Mike Pyle, and Assistant Fire Chief Matt Tharp. The commitment to excellence by these individuals is why New Philadelphia is Tuscarawas County’s leading city and why our services are second to none. They don’t ask for recognition, but they deserve it.
If you’re still not in the Christmas spirit, let me help you. McInturf Realty’s annual Christmas in the Park celebration is on Sunday, December 17th from 4-8 pm at Tuscora Park. The Tuscora Park Foundation will be selling limited edition 3D printed Ferris wheel Christmas tree ornaments for $20 each to help RTY purchase a new cotton candy machine.
The new LED Christmas tree on the House of Stones downtown quadrant is programmed to perform a musical light show every half hour between the hours of 5:30pm and 9:30pm. The shows run around nine minutes. So, include that in your plans to shop downtown and eat at our locally owned downtown restaurants. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Christmas window display. The contest runs through December 16th.
And I encourage you to read the real Christmas story to remember what we are celebrating: Luke 2 verses 1-20. Show love for one another and do your part to bring joy to the world. Merry Christmas New Philadelphia!
Dale Hartle, the President and CEO of the Ohio Regional Development Corporation, informed me this past Friday that the City’s 2024 Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) will be fully funded. With ORDC’s help, the City applied for $650,000.00 from the Federal program, which provides funding for housing rehabilitation and emergency home repairs to homes owned and occupied by low and moderate income households. The City will share the funding with the City of Uhrichsville.
Completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail to New Philadelphia was among the county projects submitted to the Governor’s Office of Appalachia for construction funding from the Appalachian Community Development grant program. The Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) developed the project list as the lead applicant to the program. The list included railway improvements to allow for more excursion trains to run from the Historic Dennison Railroad Depot to Newcomerstown. OMEGA should learn sometime in the first quarter of next year which projects in its application were selected for funding. Those who make the cut will have until October 2026 to have their projects completed. Governor DeWine set aside $500 million dollars of Federal American Rescue Plan Act money to fund what he termed “transformational projects” in Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.
I want to thank everyone who braved the rain to attend the annual downtown Christmas Lighting Ceremony on November 17th. As expected, the LED Christmas tree on the House of Stones quadrant has been quite an attraction. Now it’s time to get ready for the City’s annual Christmas Parade, which steps off from Tuscora Park at 6:30pm this Friday, December 1st. After the parade, the Tuscarawas County Public Library will serve hot chocolate and cookies. Plus, Santa will be there to visit with the kids. There is still time to enter a unit in the parade. Contact my Executive Assistant Jami Bailey at email@example.com.
I encourage you to spend your Christmas shopping dollars with New Philadelphia’s businesses as often as possible. Small businesses count on purchases by holiday season shoppers to have a profitable year. When you’re visiting the downtown stores and restaurants don’t forget to vote for your favorite Holiday Window Decorating Contest display at participating merchants. The contest ends on December 16th, with the winner announced the week of December 18th.
The City’s firefighters will be collecting toys for local families in need at the fire station this coming Sunday, December 3rd from 11am to 1pm. Please bring new, unwrapped toys to the event. The fire house is located at 134 Front Avenue SE.
Again this year, the John Knisely Municipal Centre (City Hall) is a donation site for the Marine Corps annual “Toys for Tots” campaign. A drop box is located in the lower level of the building across from the Water Office window. Donations of new, unwrapped toys will be accepted through December 11th.
Continue to pray for the Tusky Valley School District and for the families who lost loved ones.
You don’t want to miss it! Make plans to bring the family to the annual Downtown Christmas Lighting Ceremony this coming Friday, November 17th at 6:45pm. The City has purchased several new pieces of decorative lighting for the street light poles. But the most impressive new addition is a 20-foot LED lighted Christmas tree, which will be located on the House of Stones downtown quadrant. The tree was purchased by local arts supporters Don and Susie Whittingham and donated to the City by the Rotary Heritage Fund. The tree will feature LED lighting displays programmed to music throughout the holiday season. In addition, the Southside Neighbors Facebook group has brought back a Christmas holiday tradition. This past weekend they put up a number of original Christmas displays on the lawn at the corner of South Broadway and Commercial Avenue SE. The lighting of those displays will be included in Friday’s ceremony, which will also feature holiday music and performances by New Philadelphia students and community members.
As an added touch to our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, the Mayor’s office is encouraging downtown merchants and restaurants to decorate their storefronts. I want to thank everyone for their efforts to make this a very special holiday season and the beginning of new traditions in New Philadelphia.
The New Philadelphia Health Department has completed the first of two site visits by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), which are required to achieve national accreditation. State law now mandates that health departments in Ohio become accredited to show that they meet or exceed a common set of national standards. Members of the PHAB will be in New Philadelphia on November 30th to meet with the City Board of Health and with community stakeholders. The Health Department should learn by February if it earned accreditation or if it will be put on a work plan to reach that goal.
The Police Department has been successful in finding a new cruiser. So now all that’s left to have a second School Resource Officer (SRO) in place is for Police Chief Tessa Pohovey and New Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Amy Wentworth to finalize contract details. An officer has completed the required training. The new SRO should be on duty in January.
The City’s annual fall leaf collection is underway. Remember to rake or blow your leaves to the tree lawn, not into the street. Leaf piles on the street can end up blocking storm sewer grates. City crews will be working throughout the months of November and December and will make it around the City at least twice for leaf pickup. If you bag your leaves, please contact General Services at 330-339-2121 to arrange for pickup. Thank you!
City Hall will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on November 23rd and November 24th. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Join me in giving thanks for the blessings in our community.
The cost of the repair and maintenance of the rides at Tuscora Park continues to rise. As a result, I received a letter from RTY, Inc. asking the City to create an expense line in the Parks Department budget that would earmark $25,000 this year and in 2024 for ride maintenance and improvements. Since Tyler’s Law was implemented in 2021, RTY’s expense to keep the amusement rides in compliance has more than doubled. Its cost in 2022 was $25,697.00, over $18,000 more than it paid before the law was enacted. The letter states: “Until recent times, profits from rides and miniature golf ticket sales were sufficient to pay for most preventive maintenance and repairs to the rides. But escalating operating expenses, especially wages and ride maintenance/repair costs, have reduced net profits and in recent years even resulted in operating losses.” I ask City Council to seriously consider this request from RTY. As it stated in its letter: “Without some assistance, these rising expenses could push RTY out of business when the money is exhausted.”
Recently the City had the downtown audio system upgraded. So now music can be played during the day and throughout the holiday season. The system can also be utilized for events at the downtown gazebo quadrant and for announcements during our annual parades.
This Saturday from 6 to 8pm is the City’s annual Trick or Treat Night. If you want ghosts and goblins to come to your door for treats, please put your porch light on. Keep an extra eye on kids and adults crossing the streets. City police will be patrolling the neighborhoods. Don’t hesitate to ask if you need their assistance.
Young Marines of the Marine Corp League is joining National Family Partnership in sponsoring the annual Red Ribbon Campaign, to raise awareness of the harm done to families and communities by the selling and use of illicit drugs. This week has been designated as “National Red Ribbon Week” across the United States. At this time, I would ask Chris Osborne, the City’s Assistant Water and Sewer Department Superintendent, to come to the podium. He is a representative of the Young Marines, and I’d like to present him with a proclamation that declares this week as “Red Ribbon Week” in New Philadelphia.
If you travel 1st Drive SW between West High Avenue and Allen Lane SW, you’ll notice that a yellow stripe has been painted on the west side of the alley, marking the area where pedestrians can walk to the entrances of the Branch Church and the Lacey PAC dance studio. The City has installed the pedestrian pathway for safety purposes at the request of business owners.
The Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition is planning another public meeting for Monday, October 16th to gather feedback on the new route it’s proposing for New Philadelphia’s Towpath Trail. The meeting will begin at 6pm in the City Council chamber. The new route design is in response to recommendations made by Councilwoman Ramos and others who have attended previous public meetings. The trail would follow sections of Front Avenue SW, 10th Street SW and NW, Miller Avenue NW, and Union Avenue NW. OECC Executive Director Dan Rice has mailed meeting notices to residents and businesses along the new route. If you have not received one, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New Philadelphia Fire Department will hold its annual open house this coming Thursday, October 12th from 5pm to 7pm. Lowe’s will provide free hot dogs and the firefighters union will have free popcorn and refreshments. There will be demonstrations that will illustrate the skills of our firefighter/paramedics. As a taxpayer, the open house is always a great opportunity to see the fire department’s apparatus and equipment you’ve purchased and meet some of the employees being paid with your City tax dollars.
The Tuscora Park Foundation is raising money for the repair of the rides at Tuscora Park. And you’ll be able to help by buying a ticket to the Foundation’s Chicken BBQ fundraiser, which will be held this coming Sunday, October 15th. The drive-up event will be held on Al Maloney Drive at Tuscora Park from 11am to 2pm. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased from any Foundation trustee (Joel Day, Mike Ernest, Tom Farbizo, Darrin Lautenschleger, Don Kemp, Paul McEwan, Jan McInturf, Rod Miller, and Jim Range), at McInturf Realty, and also at the Mayor’s office.
Last Friday, I met with Michaela Madison, the founder and executive director of the popular Newsymom.com website, to learn about her new business concept that she says is “designed to empower mothers, enrich the community, support economic growth, and unleash the untapped potential of local mothers”. The new business would be called “Flourish” and would be located inside New Towne Mall. The concept is to create a safe, inclusive, and nurturing childcare center for working moms and moms with young children, and a space where moms can focus on their mental well-being, personal growth, and productivity. Over the past several years, I’ve heard a lot of talk about workforce development. But the subject of childcare has not been raised in the discussions. In my mind, Ms. Madison’s “Flourish” concept would address this need while helping employers in our county fill job openings. Her concept has been well-researched. If you’d like to learn more about it, contact Michaela Madison at email@example.com.
Downtown Art on the Alley Event – Sunday, October 15th, 11am to 4pm
Halloween Trick or Treat Night – Saturday, October 28th, 6pm to 8pm
City Downtown Christmas Lighting Ceremony – Friday, November 17th at 6pm
City Christmas Parade – Friday, December 1st at 6:30pm
During the City administration’s virtual meeting with the Ohio EPA on September 15th, OEPA officials said that they wanted to expand the testing area on Bank Lane SW to determine if PCE (tetrachloroethane) was present on the north side of the roadway. PCE is a common cloth dry cleaning fluid that entered the soil by water on the south side of the roadway during the Puritan Laundry fire in 1985. The City Health Department will be utilized if the OEPA determines that it would be necessary to do periodic testing inside of homes in the area. During the meeting, the OEPA officials also said that the phase one environmental study on parcels east of Mill Avenue SE determined that limited remediation is necessary. That clears the way for the donation of that land to the City.
Engineers from Burgess and Niple of Columbus have a traffic study underway that will help determine the best way to redesign the Interstate 77/US 250 interchange in New Philadelphia. The engineers presented their preliminary findings last Thursday to the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation’s (TCEDC) board of directors. The area they are studying is from the Stonecreek to North Dover exits on I-77, west of the interchange to Crooked Run Road and east to the West High/Bluebell Drive intersection. The engineers said that intersection is what they termed “the hot spot” in contributing to traffic congestion and safety issues at the interchange. I am going to ask that their study area be extended further west to include the Five Points intersection. The timetable they presented to the TCEDC board had the study completed by March of 2024. The recommendations will then be presented to the Ohio Department of Transportation for final design and funding applications.
Erin Wright, the chief grant writer at the Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) is helping the City apply for a Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks grant to help fund construction of phase 2 of the Southside Community Park. Letters of support from the public must be included in the application. That’s why she had the following announcement published on the City’s Facebook page:
The City of New Philadelphia is soliciting public support for construction of phase two of Southside Community Park. The phase two improvements would be funded through several grants (State Capital Bill, ODNR Grants, and Local Foundation Grants). Some of the proposed projects would consist of soccer fields, parking lots, concession stands, a play pod, picnic tables, and a continuation of the trail that will encircle the entire park.
The Mayor’s office has sent letters to the councils of downtown churches and to the County Commissioners, asking if they would be willing to utilize their parking lots as public parking spaces. The first to respond was the First Christian Church at 3rd Street and West High. It offered its parking lot on the west side of the church property. Here is the text of the letter sent to the church councils:
Church Board Members,
In planning for the future of New Philadelphia and the revitalization of our downtown area, parking has been one of the most common problems identified by our business owners and residents. As the downtown area continues to grow and attract more businesses and patrons, the need for public parking will only increase.
We feel that the best way to improve the options for off-street parking is through collaboration with the downtown community. One idea that has been brought forth is a shared parking plan that would utilize parking spaces that you may have available during weekday work hours. With your church being located within the Central Business District, this would greatly increase the options for patrons and downtown employees to park a short distance from their destination. We envision using a parking app and/or additional signage to make the public aware of downtown parking options, including shared lots.
Any lots downtown used for public parking would be eligible for winter snow removal by City crews. Opening your parking lots to the public during the week could also potentially be an additional revenue source for the church, as you would have the option to establish paid parking permits or to ask for free-will donations.
Thank you for your consideration. If you feel you may be interested in participating in a shared parking plan and would like to discuss this idea further, or have additional ideas for increasing downtown parking options, please feel free to contact me at 330-364-4491 ext. 1242 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A similar letter has been sent to the County Commissioners asking if they would open the downtown County lots for public parking.
In the November 7th General Election, Ohioans will vote on a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana which, in my mind, would bring on a whole new set of societal and law enforcement problems to our City. Representatives of Empower Tusc, formerly known as the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition, have asked to address Council tonight (Monday) to give reasons to oppose passage of Issue #2 and to inform us of the group’s efforts to raise awareness of the mental and behavioral health issues impacting New Philadelphia and all of Tuscarawas County. President Kemp, I would like to yield the remainder of my time to Jodi Salvo and Kerry Metzger. (You can learn more about Empower Tusc by visiting its website at: https://empowertusc.com/.)
This coming Friday myself and other City administrators will have a virtual meeting with Ohio EPA officials to discuss a plan to continue the environmental cleanup at City-owned property on Bank Lane SW. The property is where the former Puritan Laundry buildings were located. Recent soil gas sampling by the OEPA found areas where elevated concentrations of tetrachloroethane or PCE were present. PCE is a common cloth dry cleaning fluid that entered the soil by water used to put out the fire at the laundry in 1985. Once the remediation is completed a new use for the property will be determined.
I am urging City Council to approve legislation that would allow the City’s annual police auction to be held online. Safety Director Popham and Chief Pohovey selected November 8th through November 17th as the dates for bidding for auction items online. Winning bidders would pick up their items on Monday, November 20th at the City storage building at 530 South Broadway at Waterworks Park. Rick Keffer Auctions’ website would host the online auction. Legislation needs to be approved by Council to allow for it to occur. I agree with Safety Director Popham and Chief Pohovey that putting the auction online would be more convenient for bidders, and more efficient and cost-effective for the Police Department.
If you enjoyed this past Saturday’s flyover of New Philadelphia by the T-34 Warbirds aviation group, event organizer Don Whittingham has confirmed that the Warbirds will return to Harry Clever Field sometime next year. The group’s leader, J.D. DeBoskey, is Mr. Whittingham’s college buddy. They collaborated to stage the flyover and the meet and greet event at Harry Clever Field with the pilots and their planes. Such an event is another illustration of why our municipal airport is a valuable asset to the community. And I am grateful for Don Whittingham’s continued efforts to utilize New Philadelphia’s historic and cultural assets.
On September 30th, Joe Bachman will be retiring as the Tuscarawas County Engineer after 35 years of service. I want to thank Engineer Bachman for his assistance to New Philadelphia during his career. He has been a key advisor on various road and bridge projects in the City. And as a member of the Ohio Public Works Commission District 14 Integrating Committee, Engineer Bachman helped the City qualify for state grant money to fund many infrastructure projects.
The City of New Philadelphia is blessed to have members of its safety forces who go beyond their call to duty on a daily basis. One such member is police officer Mark Sadolsky, whose live-saving action on July 12th adverted a potential tragedy. The Certificate of Commendation we are presenting to Officer Sadolsky tells the story and reads as follows:
On behalf of the residents of the City of New Philadelphia, Mayor Joel B. Day and Safety Director Greg Popham are pleased to commend Mark Sadolsky for his heroic actions on the evening of July 12th, 2023. Shortly after 8:00 pm, New Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments were called to a duplex fire on Southwood Drive SW. While enroute, the departments received an update with information that there were visible flames and a large amount of smoke coming from the residence, and most concerning, two children and the family’s dog were trapped on the porch roof. Officer Sadolsky was the first to arrive on scene and, with the assistance of another bystander, was able to calmly talk both children into jumping off the roof to him. After getting the boys to safety, Officer Sadolsky then assisted with clearing the adjoining apartment in the duplex to ensure that it was empty, as the fire had begun to spread to that location. Because of Officer Sadolsky’s quick response and bravery, along with the excellent teamwork of all police and fire personnel onsite, the best possible outcome was achieved, and no injuries were sustained during the fire. In the words of Captain David Morris, “The bravery and commitment to protecting and serving the citizens of this city was unmatched that day.” We are proud and honored to have individuals like Mark Sadolsky serving and protecting the citizens of New Philadelphia.
To improve the pedestrian safety of crossing North Broadway and 2nd Street NW to enter Tuscora Park, the City intends to install crosswalks with flashing lights, similar to the ones on Wabash Avenue NW and downtown on North and South Broadway. I’ve marked the locations in orange on the map below.
The engineer’s estimate puts the construction cost at $115,030.00. Service Director McAbier says that $62,515.00, the City’s share of the cost, can come from the state highway fund and general fund in the City’s budget. We are applying for a grant from the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) for the balance of the project’s cost. If successful, installation of the signals should be completed by the summer of 2024.
I am asking City Council to approve legislation that would move the Police Department’s secretary position from part to full time. Chief Pohovey says that the workload for the position has substantially increased, and the position can also be utilized to apply for and administer grant money to help with personnel costs, equipment purchases, training, and other department improvements.
Earlier this year a steering committee made up of 20 community members was formed to develop a new organization to help guide the revitalization of the downtown area and develop ways to promote New Philadelphia’s businesses and the community in general. The new organization will be under the guidance of the Mayor’s office.
The committee met last Friday to begin the process of creating the new organization, using the data and recommendations from the committee’s consultant, Ned Parks of Aegis 360. The committee selected “NPACT or New Philadelphia Advancing the Community Together” as the name of the new organization. Over the next few months, the group will meet to craft a mission and vision statement, create the organization’s leadership structure and non-profit status. I will keep Council apprised of the steering committee’s progress.
New Philadelphia resident, entrepreneur and high school swimming coach Nathan Levengood wants your opinion. He is exploring the idea of building a “climbing gym” inside the former Brogan building downtown at the corner of 1st Drive and Allen Lane SW. He would like those persons interested in the idea to complete a Google survey he’s created. Follow this link to the survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQQsLZQdrzDELz1yNScKl5aC5eL0C2LA-Y-YHvhViwcHc2RA/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0&pli=1
He's named the proposed business “Boulder Downs Climbing Gym.” The link above and a link to watch a video fly-through of the gym’s concept will be available on the City’s Facebook page.
Like many employers in New Philadelphia, the City workforce has positions that remain unfilled. City Human Resources Director Lacey McKain provided me with this list of current openings:
Director McKain will be running radio ads and posting a sign outside the gates of the City garage on Commercial Avenue SE to help raise awareness of the job openings. If you are interested or know of someone who may be interested, please go to this page on the City’s website for information: http://www.newphilaoh.com/Human-Resources.
I want to thank those residents and organizations who have sent donations to the City Police Department’s K-9 Fund. Chief Pohovey reported to me last Thursday that over $2,500.00 has been donated so far. The goal is to raise somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000 dollars to help fund K-9 Unit training and cruiser repairs. If you’d like to donate, make checks payable to The City of New Philadelphia and write “K-9 Fund” in the memo line. The K-9 Fund depends on support from the public. It was depleted by the need to replace a retiring K-9 team and the cost of urgent repairs to a K-9 cruiser.
The new Petco store on Bluebell Drive NW will hold its grand opening on Saturday, August 19th from 10am to 3pm. The event is being billed as a “Petco Family Fest” with food, music, and games. Bring your pets and enjoy the fun. The New Philadelphia store is one of Petco’s new small-town and rural concept stores. You can read more about them by visiting this page on Petco's website: https://corporate.petco.com/2022-06-16-Petco-Unveils-New-Small-Town-and-Rural-Retail-Test-Concept-Tailored-to-the-Health-and-Wellness-Needs-of-Pets-and-Farm-Animals.
Habitat for Humanity has joined the list of local organizations that support the maintenance and growth of Tuscora Park. Recently Habitat’s Jerry Hansard and Chuck Kontt were invited to the park to receive a personal “thank you” from RTY, Inc. for their work to give the airplane cars on the children’s ride a fresh, new look.
Habitat’s Executive Director Beth Lechner contacted RTY late last year to volunteer to restore the airplanes in the organization’s Canton workshop. Volunteers Hansard and Kontt did the restoration over the winter months to have the children’s ride ready for the park’s opening in May.
RTY treated the volunteers and their families to an evening of free rides and ice cream to show its appreciation. Director Lechner said that Habitat is exploring other ways to help RTY and the City maintain the rides and other features of Tuscora Park.
Safety Director Popham, Police Chief Pohovey and I will meet later this week to review the Police Department budget and decide how to fund a second School Resource Officer for New Philadelphia City Schools. Currently the City is charging the school district $58,410.65 for a single SRO, which is about two-thirds of the total cost of the officer’s wage and benefits. The Police Department also provides a cruiser for the SRO, who works approximately 180 days each school year. The budget review will tell us if the cost to provide a second SRO to the school district needs to increase. Once that’s determined, we will meet with Superintendent Wentworth to negotiate an agreement. There is also the matter of finding an officer to fill the SRO position. But we will deal with that once the budget question is answered.
City Council’s Zoning and Annexation Committee will be considering a recommendation from the Planning Commission to rezone the parcels on which The Little Theatre is located at Carrie Avenue and 5th Street NW. The parcels’ current zoning is Residential. At its monthly meeting last week, the Commission members unanimously agreed that the property be rezoned to Business to allow The Little Theatre to complete its renovation project. The parcels adjoin existing Business zoning on Carrie Avenue NW. If the Zoning and Annexation Committee approves of the rezoning, it will take legislation to the full Council for a vote. Prior to the Council’s action on the legislation, a public hearing will be held to hear comments from neighboring property owners.
This Thursday (July 27th) RTY, Inc. will be honoring the Habitat for Humanity volunteers who repaired and repainted the airplanes on the kiddie ride at Tuscora Park. The airplanes were taken to Habitat’s Canton workshop this past winter, where they were restored to “like new” condition. RTY has invited the volunteers and their family members to attend a “Thank you” ceremony at 4:30pm, followed by an evening of entertainment at the park. Habitat for Humanity has been a partner in community housing projects in New Philadelphia. The fact that the organization volunteered to take on this restoration project at Tuscora Park is a welcomed surprise.
The City Parks Department is partnering with the Tuscarawas County Public Library to construct a StoryWalk in the pollinator garden at the Southside Community Park. A StoryWalk places an illustrated children’s book, displayed page-by-page, along a walking route. At the pollinator garden, each page will be displayed on placards mounted on stands located along the route. The idea behind a StoryWalk is to encourage children to read, and families to enjoy the outdoors. The garden is a perfect setting.
The project will be completed by Saturday, August 19th when the County Library will have a dedication ceremony from 2pm to 3:30pm in the garden, with a ribbon-cutting at 2:15pm to officially open the StoryWalk. The project is being funded by Brian and Amanda Huprich, in honor of Brian’s parents Ken and Carol Huprich.
Last Wednesday Service Director McAbier and I, and Municipal Court officials, met with representatives of Patterson Pope, the company that installed the Court’s filing system in the basement of the Police Department. I asked for the meeting so that the company reps could develop a quote for moving the filing system into the north bay of the old fire station. The Police Department building is near capacity and needs to reclaim the basement space. Plus, locating the records in the old fire station would make access to them more convenient for the Court. The Fire Department has a new building. So now it’s time to focus on the future needs of the Police Department and law enforcement in the City. I plan to include the hiring of additional officers and the cost of moving the filing system in my 2024 budget proposal to City Council.
The Board of Trustees of The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County will be presenting a rezoning request to the City Planning Commission tomorrow (Tuesday) during the Commission’s monthly meeting. The board owns five parcels at Carrie Avenue and 5th Street NW. The trustees’ request is to rezone the parcels from residential to business to complete The Little Theatre’s renovation project. The Planning Commission meeting begins at 1pm in the City Council chamber.
As you read in Sunday’s Times-Reporter and heard on the local radio news last week, ProVia has purchased a lamination company and is moving into the vacant Times-Reporter building on Wabash Avenue NW. It’s encouraging to see the expansion of manufacturing in New Philadelphia. Credit goes to City Council and the City Administration working together to support our businesses, which helps inspire employers in the City to grow.
I want to thank President Joe Croft and the other volunteers of the First Town Days Festival Committee for giving the community another festival to remember. Friday evening’s Grand Parade featured the final ride of now retired Police Chief Mike Goodwin in the lead car. The City Slickers thumped the County Terminators 18-1 in Saturday’s annual softball game, and the fireworks show by the Northeast Ohio Pyrotechnics Group was spectacular.
I have invited representatives of Buckeye Energy Brokers to address Council tonight, to propose an electric aggregation program. As we know, the cost of electricity is on the rise and residents are looking for options. Aggregation may be one of them. That will be up to Council to decide. I would like to yield the remainder of my time to Mr. Tom Bellish, so he can explain Buckeye Energy Brokers’ aggregation proposal.
At the Mayors Association of Ohio annual conference I attended last week in Dublin, two issues were brought to light by presenters. J.P. Nauseef of JobsOhio told us that Ohio’s business outlook remains strong, but decision making on new construction and expansion projects is slowing. He speculated that the rising cost of capital and supply chain issues were to blame. And Lydia Mihalik, the Director of the Ohio Department of Development, revealed that Ohio’s birthrate is declining. As a result, her department is undertaking a migration effort to attract workers and families from other states and from other countries to Ohio.
Here are highlights from some of the other presentations given at the conference:
During the roundtable discussions, the mayors shared concerns and ideas about attracting and retaining younger workers, affordable housing, downtown development, and dealing with problematic rental properties and dilapidated structures. And there was a strong consensus that mental illness is the cause for the crime and social problems all communities are experiencing.
To help attract and retain security personnel for Tuscora Park and School Crossing Guards, I have approved the wage increase requests from department heads. Tuscora Park Auxiliary Police will now be paid $20 per hour and the two park security positions will be paid $15 per hour. School Crossing Guards will now earn $15 per hour. Anyone interested in these positions should contact Lacey McKain, the City’s Director of Human Resources, at email@example.com or by calling 330-364-4491 extension 1245.
History will be made this Wednesday when Captain Tessa Pohovey is given her oath of office to become the first woman promoted to Chief of Police for the City of New Philadelphia. She scored the highest among the four officers who took the Chief’s promotional exam. Also during Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony, Officer Dave Morris will be promoted to the rank of Captain, Officer Wayne Clark to the rank of Sergeant, and the department’s second K-9, Pablo, will be sworn-in. The ceremony begins at 2:30 pm in the City Council chamber on the lower level of the John Knisely Municipal Centre (City Hall).
The City’s current Chief of Police, Mike Goodwin, is retiring on July 7th. That means that he will lead the First Town Days Festival’s Grand Parade for the last time this coming Friday evening. I’m encouraging everyone along the parade route to create signs thanking Chief Goodwin for his service to New Philadelphia and wishing him well in his retirement. The Grand Parade steps off at 6:30 pm from the Park Avenue and 3rd Street NW intersection, then makes its way downtown to North Broadway, where it will end at Tuscora Park. I selected Greg Rees of RTY, Inc. and Mike Popovich of Gradall Industries as this year’s Grand Parade Marshals because of the key roles they played in the restoration of the Ferris wheel at the park.
Now I would like to ask Wilma Mullet to come to the podium to present certificates of award to those high school students who designed the newest traffic box wraps that you will soon see in the center of town. Ms. Mullet is the executive director of the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership and also a member of the City’s Downtown Design Standards Board of Review. She helped develop the traffic box project, which gives high school art students from across Tuscarawas County the opportunity to display their creativity in the county’s seat.
The 46th Annual First Town Days Festival begins this Friday at 4pm with the opening ceremony and plate auction at the midway stage at Tuscora Park. Follow this web link to learn more about all the festival’s activities: https://www.firsttowndays.com/
See you there!
Eight more traffic boxes in the City will be decorated with designs created by high school art students in Tuscarawas County. The art project is expanding to include traffic boxes at North Broadway and Donahey Avenue NE, Beaver Avenue and Fair Avenue NE, Market Square at East High and 4th Street SE, Ray Avenue and 2nd Street NW, Ray Avenue and 3rd Street NW, Ray Avenue and 4th Street NW by the high school, South Broadway and Mill Avenue SW and at Franklin Square at West High and 4th Street NW. The Downtown Design Standards Board of Review selected the designs from a dozen student entries. The traffic box wrap project has been a great way to showcase the talented young artists in our county. The artists have been invited to City Council’s June 26th meeting to receive special recognition from the City and the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) the steering committee working to develop an economic strategy for the downtown area will reconvene to review the results of its public survey and recent mind mapping, or brainstorming, session. Aegis 360, a marketing firm from Akron, is assisting the committee in creating the strategy and a new organization to implement it. The end goal is to build a public-private partnership that will direct and sustain economic growth in the City, particularly in the center of town.
The City is using some of the funds appropriated into the downtown improvements budget to purchase a new music and sound system for the downtown quadrants. Some of the original equipment has reached its end life and is no longer compatible with new audio technology. Hitchcock Sound has been contracted to design and install the new system, which we hope will be up and running in time for the First Town Days Festival’s Grand Parade on June 30th.
If you’ve been wondering what is being built beside the pickleball courts at Tuscora Park, it’s an enclosed viewing area and storage facility. There will be three tiers of seating in the viewing area. I want to thank the O’Donnell Foundation for its funding of the project and its continued effort to promote the sport of pickleball in New Philadelphia.
Now I would like to call Kyle Doran, Ray Morrow and Brody Barbee to the podium so I can present them with Letters of Commendation. Our Sanitation Department workers are among the most visible City employees to the public. They have one of our toughest jobs: it’s physically demanding and must be done in all sorts of weather. These men have earned special recognition because they exemplify what it means to be a public servant. Their Letters of Commendation read, in part:
On Friday, May 19th, 2023, Kyle Doran, Ray Morrow, and Brody Barbee were working their sanitation route when they noticed that a resident on 3rd Street SW was having some d
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