Late last week I received word that the New Philadelphia-Dover area has been named to Site Selection Magazine’s Top 100 Micropolitan Communities in America. A micropolitan site is defined as an area with a population under 50,000 that has shown substantial economic development. Other criteria include location to major transportation, quality of life and amenities. On Wednesday, a representative of the Ohio Department of Development will be in town to present a proclamation from Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted recognizing this achievement. You can read more about the top micropolitan sites here: https://siteselection.com/issues/2023/mar/findlay-on-the-move.cfm.
The City’s newest hotel is set to officially open on Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Noon. The 82-unit Marriott TownePlace Suites on West High Avenue features rooms with full kitchens for extended stays in the area. Please join me in welcoming the owners and management to New Philadelphia’s growing business community.
VFW Post 1445 is looking for your help to launch its “Hometown Heros” banners program in downtown New Philadelphia. The banners feature photos of local veterans of the armed services and are being paid for by the VFW. They will be displayed from the decorative light posts in the downtown area from Memorial Day to Veterans Day each year. If you would like to honor a “Hometown Hero” with a banner, or would like to donate to the program, contact Post Commander Steve Chenevey by calling 330-204-1388 or stop by the post at 441 Park Avenue NW.
Here’s a reminder that the downtown square will be closed to traffic on Monday, May 29th at 11am for the annual Memorial Day ceremony on the County Courthouse plaza. Detour routes will be posted. Join us to honor and remember those Tuscarawas County veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of America and our freedom.
As part of the opening weekend festivities at Tuscora Park, RTY Inc. will dedicate the restored Ferris wheel during a ceremony at 3pm on Sunday, May 28th, and you’re invited! The ride had been shut down over the past two years while it was completely overhauled. The $250,000 project included the installation of two gondolas with wheelchair access. The City is thankful for the businesses and individuals who made the restoration possible. The support of this community is truly amazing.
I want to thank the New Philadelphia Rotary Club members who took two evenings out of their busy schedules this month to plant flowers, brush on fresh coats of paint and power wash to get Tuscora Park ready to officially open for the summer on Saturday. The members don’t hear “thank you” enough for the jobs they do. The swimming pool, concession stands and rides will all be open.
Congratulations to the graduates of New Philadelphia High School, Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School, Quaker Digital Academy and Kent State-Tuscarawas. We are proud of your achievements and wish you the best as you start a new chapter in your life. New Philadelphia and T-County will always be home. We hope that you will choose to live and raise a family here. But if not, come back home as often as you can.
It was an awesome sight to see the downtown alleys filled with vendors and people enjoying the annual spring Art on the Alley celebration this past Sunday. The Tuscarawas Arts Partnership did a great job of organizing and staging the event. The sidewalk chalk art added a new dimension to the celebration. Art on the Alley keeps getting bigger and better and has helped New Philadelphia become a destination for artists and art collectors.
I want to conclude my report by presenting letters of commendation to New Philadelphia Police Sergeant Mitchell Gobley and Officers Tristen Lambert and Andrew Boyd. Their shift Captain Tessa Pohovey recommended they receive this special recognition for the actions they took to help a citizen on Sunday, April 30th. Each commendation reads, in part, as follows:
At around 2:30pm, Sergeant Mitchell Gobley and officers Tristen Lambert and Andrew Boyd were called to an apartment building on Bank Lane SW for reports of a woman yelling for help. The officers arrived at the building to discover the upstairs hallway filled with thick black smoke. The Fire Department was contacted, and the officers ascended the stairs to locate the woman. They were unsuccessful in attempts to talk her out towards them, so they entered the apartment from which smoke was emerging and began to search for her. The woman was located and carried down the stairs and outside to safety by Sergeant Gobley. Officers Boyd and Lambert evacuated an occupant and his dog from the neighboring apartment. The remaining apartments were cleared and confirmed vacant. The Fire Department extinguished the appliance fire upon their arrival and no serious injuries were sustained. Captain Tessa Pohovey stated, “I am very proud of these officers and the way this call was handled. Police work can be unpredictable, and these officers acted without hesitation, prioritizing the safety of others.”
City crews are busy prepping our parks and other departments for the upcoming summer season. We could still use a few seasonal workers, so if you’re interested, go to the City’s website at www.newphilaoh.com/job-opportunities to apply.
RTY is getting the Tuscora Park rides ready to open, including the newly refurbished Ferris wheel. There will be a rededication ceremony for the Ferris wheel on Sunday, May 28th at 3pm. And there are still many rainbow trout in the Tuscora Park pond that need fished out before the water temperature rises.
The Southside Community Park dog parks are open. The County Public Library is planning to construct a story walk along the pollinator garden’s pathway. Repairs are being made to the Crider Avenue walking trail to get it ready for the summer. Repairs are also underway at the Waterworks Park skate park. And the docks are in at both City boat ramps.
The downtown business community is growing. Last Friday, I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for Diamond in the Rough Property Solutions on West High Avenue. It’s a business that specializes in bathroom and kitchen renovations and home additions. This coming Friday, Custom Needle-Print will have its official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at its new location on Ashwood Lane NW. It outgrew its space at the Tolotty Centre business incubator on Tech Park Drive and selected the downtown location as its new home. Please join me in welcoming them to New Philadelphia!
One strength of our community is the quality of teachers we have in our school systems. Two were recognized this past Friday at the annual Quaker Foundation Recognition Banquet at the KSU Performing Arts Center. High School speech/theatre arts/language arts instructor Mike Exley and sixth grade math teacher and coach Seth Watson received the Hurst Jackson Distinguished Teacher awards for the education and encouragement they have given students inside and outside of their classrooms. The value of former teachers and the education they received at New Philadelphia High School was echoed by the NPHS alumni also honored at the banquet.
Our community is blessed to have organizations like the Quaker and Buckeye Foundations, who award graduating seniors with scholarships and recognize teachers whose influence goes well beyond the high school years.
As the warmer weather sets in, the need for us to be more watchful in our neighborhoods will increase. It’s important to remember that if you see something, say something. Don’t hesitate to contact the New Philadelphia Police Department if you see something unusual. And be more mindful of your neighbors. Be ready to lend them a helping hand when needed.
Two long-time public servants are retiring this month. New Philadelphia Police School Resource Officer Jen Horner’s 23-year duty with the City Police Department will conclude with her retirement on May 19th. And Chris Born’s 45-year career as a custodian for New Philadelphia Schools will conclude with his retirement at the end of the current school year. Chris designed and helped construct the brick pillars at the City’s Schoenbrunn Meadow Cemetery. Both are people with many talents. Their commitment to excellence has been inspiring to all who have known them and worked with them. We wish them good health and plenty of relaxation in their retirement years.
Local realtors that I’ve spoken to recently have said that there has been an increased interest in purchasing homes in residential areas to operate as short-term rentals, more popularly known as Airbnbs or Vrbos. The City doesn’t necessarily want to discourage this type of business development, but it does need to be regulated like our hotels and motels. Presently short-term rentals are not required to meet the code requirements, have inspections, or collect and remit lodging tax as hotels and motels must do. Apparently, the state legislature is no longer interested in enacting legislation to address the issue. So, I’m asking Council President Kemp to assign the development of short-term rental regulations to the appropriate Council committee. Law Director Fete has draft legislation that the committee can use to get started.
This will be a busy weekend in the City with opportunities to spend time outdoors with the family. It begins on Friday at 10 a.m. with the City’s annual Arbor Day tree planting ceremony at the Southside Community Park. Then on Saturday, the City’s first Trout Fishing Derby at Tuscora Park gets underway at 8 a.m. And later in the morning, the first day of the annual Soap Box Derby will start on the Wabash Avenue hill. The Derby will continue on Sunday. Also mark on your calendars that the spring Art on the Alley festival is coming up on Sunday, May 7th from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. According to the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership, the event’s organizer, all vendor spots have been sold so you’ll be able to meet new artists and purchase new artwork and crafts.
Last Wednesday, a kickoff meeting was held between the City administration, Quicksall and Associates and the Ohio Department of Transportation. Its purpose was to begin planning for the 2024 construction of the Kent State – Tuscarawas bicycle and pedestrian trail to downtown New Philadelphia. The construction plans drawn up by Quicksall and Associates will be reviewed over the next two months to measure environmental and traffic impact. An Open House to gather public comment on the project is scheduled for Monday, July 10th at 6:30 p.m., prior to City Council’s regular meeting that evening.
Singh Sukhjinder, the new owner of the former Fuel Depot on East High Avenue, has had representatives contact the City’s Service Department to inquire about the steps that need to be taken to reopen the gas station in the near future. According to Josh Mathias, the City’s Zoning and Building Code Administrator, an architect from Kent needed information to build an addition onto the existing building and another representative inquired about signage permits. Mr. Mathias said he was told that the business will reopen as a BP station. City Fire Inspector Captain Jim Sholtz has been in contact with the State Fire Marshal to make sure that the underground storage tanks meet BUSTER criteria to reopen.
Those of us who knew him and worked with him are still shocked by the sudden passing of Jesse Sefert. I appointed Jesse to the City’s Housing Board of Appeals because of his knowledge of real estate and his desire to improve housing conditions in our City. He was also a member of the steering committee that is developing a strategic plan for the downtown and surrounding economic development areas. Jesse Sefert loved New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas County, and as a community leader, he led by example. The quality of our town is the result of the commitment and vision of people like Jesse. And I encourage people to follow his lead because you truly will make a difference.
City administrators recently met with officials of New Philadelphia City Schools to discuss extending City water and sewer services to the school district’s new bus garage. The garage is located outside of the City on State Route 416 in Goshen Township. We explained that providing the services requires the approval of City Council because of it being outside of the corporate limits. We also urged them to find a way to annex the bus garage property into the City. Otherwise, the water and sewer rates would be two-and-a-half times the rate for in-city users. We agreed that, if Council approves the extension, the City would provide the materials necessary, such as pipe and manholes, but the school district would have to pay the costs for engineering design and construction. The school officials said the information we provided will be taken to the New Philadelphia school board to consider.
Saturday, April 22nd at 1pm. Mark it on your calendar and plan to attend. That’s when the New Philadelphia Fire Department will have its Push-In Ceremony for the new Pierce ladder truck. The purchase of the $1.8 million dollar truck is being financed by the First Federal Community Bank with a 20-year loan, which is being paid back with your City tax dollars.
So, the Push-In Ceremony will give you an opportunity to actually touch what you bought. The new Pierce replaces the old ladder truck, which was sold to a fire department in Kansas. The old truck was over 20 years old and was frequently out of service to be repaired. A fire department’s job is to protect people and property. The growth of our manufacturers in the City made the purchase of the new ladder truck necessary.
On Monday, April 17th, the City Civil Service Commission will be conducting promotional tests for these positions in the City Police Department: Chief, Captain and Sergeant. Current Chief Mike Goodwin is scheduled to retire in July. His retirement will open positions at all three command levels. The plan is to conduct the exams now, so that the officers have enough time to train in their new positions.
President Kemp, I would like to ask City General Services Superintendent Ray Grewell to join me here at the podium for a special presentation. The City of New Philadelphia is blessed with department heads that deeply care about the welfare of our City and our citizens. Superintendent Ray Grewell is among them. And at the urging of his employees in General Services, I am presenting him with a Certificate of Commendation for his recent repair of the flashing traffic lights near Tuscora Park. It states:
Certificate of Commendation given this 10th day of April 2023
On behalf of the residents of the City of New Philadelphia, Mayor Joel B. Day is pleased to commend Ray Grewell for his outstanding leadership of the General Services Department and his dedication and commitment to our residents. Ray consistently goes above and beyond what is asked of him, leading his employees by example. One instance of this is the flashing lights on North Broadway at Tuscora Park. Ray took it upon himself to take them down, rewire them, and clean them up to get them working like new. As Ray’s employees recently stated in a letter, “He is a great boss and a true leader and is someone who takes pride in the City, in how it looks and operates.” We are truly grateful to Ray for all that he does on a daily basis for the City of New Philadelphia and for his General Services staff.
We are looking for non-working streetlights in your neighborhood. So if you see two guys in a car shining a flashlight on AEP power poles, know that it’s me and retired AEP customer service rep Dave Heck at work. This past Sunday night we searched neighborhoods in the northeast section of town and found nine streetlights not working. Mr. Heck, a New Philadelphia resident, took it upon himself to start the search a couple of weeks ago in the northwest and southwest sections, where he found 35 lights out. He reports the outages to AEP, which sends out work crews to repair or replace the streetlights. Our streetlight patrol will continue over the next few weeks until we’ve covered the entire town.
I want to thank Mr. Heck for volunteering his time to perform this important public service and thank AEP for its prompt response. I’d also like to give AEP a big shoutout for working diligently to restore power in the aftermath of last Saturday’s windstorm.
Following word that Tuscarawas County received approval of its request for technical assistance from the Ohio Appalachian Community Grant Program, I submitted an application to procure a state-funded planner to handle the engineering and design requirements to build New Philadelphia’s section of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. From the ACGP’s list and at the recommendation of Dan Rice of the O & E Canalway Coalition, I selected Environmental Design Group, DLZ and MS Consultants, all from Akron. All have worked on other Towpath Trail construction projects. The engineering and design work has to be completed by November to meet a deadline to apply to have our construction project funded by the ACGP.
The Cleveland-based non-profit Center for Community Solutions has published new Ohio Legislative District Fact Sheets. And the fact sheet for the Ohio House 51st District has some interesting information. For instance, there are more children under 5 years of age in our area than the state-wide percentage. And while our House District has more high school graduates than the state-wide percentage, it has lower percentages of persons with associate or bachelor’s degrees. It’s worth the read if you’d like to know how we fare in comparison to all of Ohio. The fact sheet can be downloaded here: http://www.newphilaoh.com/downloads/House-Legislative-Districts-2023-HD51.pdf. If you want to see other House District’s fact sheets, go here and choose a district: https://www.communitysolutions.com/resources/community-fact-sheets/ohio-legislative-districts/
“A rare moment in time.” That’s how Gail Manchin described the increased level of Federal funding of programs and projects in America’s Appalachian region. Manchin is the Federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). At the recent National Association of Development Organizations and Development District of Association of Appalachia conference I attended in Washington D.C., she told attendees that our region will probably never see such support from the Federal government again, so we’d better take advantage of the opportunities that come with it. She was talking specifically about Federal money from the CARES and ARPA acts and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
However, there’s a big problem. There has not been an increase in funding that would allow Local Development Districts (LDD), like the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA), to hire additional staff to help develop projects, and administrate the programs and money. That was one of the takeaways I had from attending the conference as a member of OMEGA’s board of directors. I joined a delegation of Appalachian Ohio LDD members that went to Capitol Hill to urge our area Congressmen and Ohio’s Senators to provide more funding to the LDDs. Some other takeaways from the presenters at the conference were:
There was little talk about improving and expanding the region’s electric grid to handle the use of electric vehicles. Other breakout sessions at the conference dealt with economic development, infrastructure projects that could be funded by the BIL, and sharing project ideas with LDD representatives.
The muddy grass parking lots at the Southside Community Park have been covered with crushed limestone. Linda Bailiff, the Director of the Ohio Public Works Commission, approved that solution last week at the request of the City. OPWC restricted the type of material that could be used because Clean Ohio grant money was used to construct the parking lots. It had to be a permeable covering that allows for water penetration instead of runoff. Crews from the City Water Maintenance Department did a great job of spreading the limestone so that the parking lots could be reopened.
Service Director McAbier and I are working with the staffs at the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) and Quicksall and Associates to plan for the construction of phase 2 of the Southside Community Park’s master plan. The second phase calls for completion of the roadway through the park to the high school soccer fields, installation of lighting on the roadway, completion of the walking path around the entire park, construction of youth soccer fields, and two concession stand/restroom facilities. OMEGA is helping the City find grant money to fund the project.
Brandon McBride, the executive director of the Appalachian Regional Committee and Gayle Manchin, the Federal co-chair of the ARC, will be among the featured speakers at the annual National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and the Development District Association of Appalachia (DDAA) conference I am attending March 12th through the 15th in Washington D.C. The Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) sends members of its board of directors to the conference each year. I’m attending as the OMEGA board’s secretary. The conference gives me good insight on how the Federal government views the Appalachian region and what’s being done at that level to encourage economic development and solve the issues faced by New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas County, one of 32 Appalachian counties in Ohio. The conference also gives us an opportunity to visit with our Federal elected officials and establish stronger relationships with economic developers and others who can help New Philadelphia. When I return, I’ll craft a follow-up report to share with you.
Another encouraging sign of the health of our local economy is the growth at New Towne Mall reported recently by the Times-Reporter. In the TR story about the opening of the Ohio Collective store at the mall, General Manager Tori Noah said 80 percent of the space is now leased. Ms. Noah and mall ownership have been creative in bringing new businesses into the mall and developing it as a center for community activities. New Towne Mall and its businesses are valuable assets to our City, and we must continue to support them.
If you haven’t noticed already, all the buildings have been torn down on the former Puritan Laundry property at Bank Lane and Mill Avenue SW. The City owns the property and received State grant money for the demolition. There are no immediate plans for the use of the property, but the view for motorists at that intersection is much better.
I am urging City Council to respond to the Ohio Municipal League’s Call to Action, and adopt Resolution 3-2023, which would give Council’s support of full restoration of the State’s Local Government Fund. These funds are state tax dollars returned to local communities to help pay for basic services, rebuild infrastructure, and bolster public safety services. In 2011, the LGF was slashed 50% to its current level of 1.66% of the State’s General Revenue Funds. There is talk among General Assembly members to keep the funding at its current level, and even reduce it further because of the COVID-recovery money that local communities received. The OML is urging lawmakers to restore the LGF to pre-recession levels to help communities cope with the rising costs of providing services and infrastructure projects. The resolution will be sent to State Representative Brett Hillyer and State Senator Al Landis.
Last week Safety Director Greg Popham, Police Chief Mike Goodwin, City Auditor Beth Gundy, and I met with New Philadelphia City Schools Superintendent Amy Wentworth to discuss ways to fund a second School Resource Officer for the school district. The City is willing to use the $6,696.00 in opioid settlement payments it’s receiving to help. The cost of the officer is estimated to be in the $95,000.00 a year range. Superintendent Wentworth was taking the information she gathered to the NP School Board. We all agree that a second School Resource Officer is needed and will work together to make it happen.
I want to thank everyone who attended, in person or online, last week’s public forum on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail in New Philadelphia and the zoning code meeting with Compass Point Planning. Your input was invaluable and will help refine each study. More opportunities for public input will be coming in the future.
This Saturday from 7am to 11am at the Tuscora Park pavilion, the Tuscora Park Foundation is having a pancake breakfast fundraising event. Tickets are five dollars each. They’re available at the Mayor’s office, McInturf Realty, and from any Foundation Board of Trustees member. The money raised by the Foundation goes to help fund projects in City parks. Most recently, the Foundation helped secure funding for the pickleball courts construction. Now the trustees are focusing on funding the removal of the batting machine and cages at Tuscora Park, so more children’s rides can be located there.
It’s obvious that the grass parking lots at the Southside Community Park were not a good idea. They were required to receive Clean Ohio grant money for the park’s construction. The lots are an unusable, muddy mess. So, I am researching alternative surfaces that could be used to replace the geogrid and grass. If you know of any, please let me know.
On February 3rd, representatives of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) visited New Philadelphia to learn about the advanced manufacturing training programs at Kent State University-Tuscarawas and Buckeye Career Center. I met the JETRO team last year at a Mayors Association of Ohio conference in Columbus. When I told them about the programs at KSU-Tusc and BCC, they wanted to visit to learn more about them. JETRO and Japanese manufacturers are looking for more locations and partnerships in Ohio because of Intel and the growing market for electric vehicles. According to the team members, Tuscarawas County and New Philadelphia could be prime locations for suppliers to Intel and electric vehicle manufacturers.
After touring the advanced manufacturing classrooms and labs at both schools, we took the JETRO group to the Gradall plant, to see first-hand how it’s using advanced manufacturing equipment and providing internships to students in the training programs. From their reactions, I believe that we left the group with a lasting impression of our workforce training capabilities and the advantages of our location and natural resources. Now we must build on this newly created relationship with JETRO.
On February 6th, I joined members of the County’s Economic Development and Finance Alliance (port authority) and representatives of American Structurepoint, Inc. on a tour of the Joy (Howden Buffalo) Redevelopment Property on South Broadway. The EDFA invited the Cleveland architecture and engineering firm to visit the site to better understand its redevelopment opportunities. American Structurepoint will assist the EDFA in marketing the property.
This week, department heads and I will hold separate labor – management meetings with representatives of the City’s four bargaining units. One thing we learned from last year’s contract negotiations is that both sides can improve their communications with each other. That’s why I suggested that we sit down each quarter to discuss problems and find solutions together.
This Wednesday, February 15th at 7pm, Compass Point Planning will host a meeting in City Council’s chamber to present the findings of its recent public survey. The survey asked residents and businesses for their opinions on the City’s current zoning code and suggestions on improvements that could be made. Compass Point President Wendy Moeller will also discuss what has been learned from her audit of the City’s code.
It’s that time of the year again. The City Income Tax Department is now accepting 2022 City income tax returns and payments. For more information on how to file your return, here is a link to the Income Tax Department’s website: http://www.newphilaoh.com/Income-Tax.
This past Friday morning, former New Philadelphia Mayor Dave Knisely and his wife Catherine stopped by my office for a visit. Mayor Knisely was in town to join the fellow members of the NPHS Quakers 1967 regional tournament team that was honored at Friday night’s boys basketball game. At the age of 25, he became New Philadelphia’s youngest mayor when he was elected in 1975 and served from 1976 to 1979. Mayor Knisely lives in Massachusetts, and comes home at least once a year to recharge his Quaker pride.
Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc. of Columbus has issued its report of the magnetometer survey conducted last November on the parcels located on the southeastern end of the runway at Harry Clever Field. The 4.85-acre survey focused on locating the presence of possible archaeological features related to nearby Schoenbrunn Village and concluded that no further work is recommended unless there is further development on the runway land. The magnetometer revealed iron objects that could be related to the removal of 19th century fences or other outbuildings on the former farmland. The property was transferred by ODOT-Aviation and the Ohio History Connection to the City in August of 2021. The survey was required by OHC. It was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The City and the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition will host a public forum on Monday, February 13th at 6pm to gather feedback on the planning study to determine the ideal route of the Towpath Trail through the City. The forum will be held in City Council Chambers prior to Council’s February 13th regular meeting. The study is being conducted by Envision Group of Cleveland, the same company that developed the City’s plan for bicycle and pedestrian trails. The proposed Towpath Trail route would link its southern terminus at Waterworks Park to the trail section in Dover. Look for a flyer with more information to be posted on the City’s social media.
Your thoughts are also needed for a study underway to revise the City’s zoning and signage code. The online survey by Compass Point Planning is located here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NewPhiladelphiaZoning
The update of the code is intended to modernize the City’s land use regulations. The responses to the survey will be used to lay out an approach to updating the code. Public meetings will be held later this year to gather more feedback on the revisions.
Congratulations are in order to Council President and New Philadelphia businessman Don Kemp, who has been named to the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Fame. He will receive his well-deserved award at the Chamber’s annual awards banquet on Wednesday, February 1st at the Performing Arts Center at KSU-Tuscarawas.
We also want to congratulate Buckeye Career Center for being named as the Chamber’s Large Business of the Year and Custom Needle-Print of New Philadelphia as the Chamber's Small Business of the Year.
2023 will be another busy year for the City. Here are updates on the projects already underway:
At tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s) monthly meeting of the City Planning Commission, the members will learn about two proposed business developments: a car wash to be built on the southern Menard’s outlot at 611 Bluebell Drive and a dental clinic at 175 Marketplace Commons SW behind BW3’s. In a related note, Petco is working through the permitting process to build its new store on Bluebell Drive NW on Menard’s northern outlot. Construction of these developments is expected this year.
The final numbers are in. The City collected $708,486.73 in additional income tax revenue than was collected in 2021. That is a clear indication of the impact the jobs added by Battle Motors, our other manufacturers, and small businesses in the City are having on the local economy. I want to thank our business community for their investments in New Philadelphia and for employing our citizens.
I have appointed Federal Administrative Judge Bob Preston, Attorney Lacee Felix and Kevin Milligan, a former City firefighter and State Highway Patrolman as the new members of the City’s Civil Service Commission. Safety Director Greg Popham will provide more details about the appointments and the Commission during his report to City Council.
Later this month, City department heads will attend two leadership training sessions at KSU-Tuscarawas. One is titled “Supervisor Essentials” and the other “Getting Results Through People.” I will also be attending the classes. They should help improve management skills and help us to be proactive to changes in the workplace.
City offices will be closed on Monday, January 16th in observance of Martin Luther King Day.
The approaching New Year gives us an opportunity to look back at what was accomplished in our City in 2022. Some of those accomplishments enhanced City services and our quality of life, and positioned New Philadelphia for future economic growth:
This list came off the top of my head. More details about 2022’s accomplishments will be included in my annual State of the City Report, which should be issued by the end of February.
This past year, our City was blessed with major expansion projects at Battle Motors and Freeport Press, which led to payroll city income tax receipts exceeding the amount collected in 2021. New Philadelphia emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic with positive economic growth, which would have been stronger had many of our employers been able to meet their hiring goals.
This year had its share of challenges to our City, in particular for our safety forces. Many of the calls to New Philadelphia’s Fire and Police Departments involved persons suffering from mental illness and drug abuse, and in some cases domestic violence. The final year-end figures are not in, but it’s likely that the Fire Department ran at least 300 more EMS calls than in 2021. While the City Health Department saw a decline in the number of reported cases, the coronavirus was still active in our community. Several drive-up clinics were held at Tuscora Park to administer COVID vaccines and boosters.
On behalf of the City administration, I want to thank 4th Ward Councilman Jimmy Seldenright for his service to New Philadelphia. In his resignation letter to Council President Kemp and the Board of Elections, Mr. Seldenright said “I have received increased responsibilities with my full-time employer that will not allow me to dedicate the time necessary to fulfill my duties as the Ward 4 representative.” His resignation is effective on January 1st, 2023. The New Philadelphia members of the Tuscarawas County Republican Party Central Committee will choose his successor later in January.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY 2023 BRING YOU GOOD HEALTH AND PROSPERITY.
Go Buckeyes! Beat those Bulldogs!
Last week we learned that the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 10-year Job Creation Tax Credit for Crane Carrier/Battle Motors to help with the company’s expansion. Battle Motors’ project was one of 14 projects recommended to the OTCA by JobsOhio and its regional partners. If the company reaches its goal of 434 full-time positions, generating $18 million dollars in new annual payroll, it could mean $270,000.00 in additional income tax revenue for the City of New Philadelphia. Recently I met with officials from JobsOhio and TeamNEO, the county’s regional economic development partner, to ask that they also assist other manufacturers in New Philadelphia with their expansions and workforce development.
Now we wait. The staff of the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association finished writing the Technical Assistance Grant application for Tuscarawas County, and last Thursday submitted it to the Ohio Department of Development’s Appalachian Development Program. OMEGA served as the lead applicant to the program. If approved, Tuscarawas County could be eligible to receive up to $250,000.00 to cover planning and design costs for the projects included in the application. The Governor’s Office of Appalachia is looking for “transformational projects” that will have significant economic and social impacts on the 32 county Ohio Appalachian region. We should know by mid-February whether our application is approved. If it is, later next year OMEGA will work with us to apply for funding for actual project construction.
City Airport Commission chairman Don Kennedy has started a fundraising effort to pay for the restoration of the old airport beacon light. It was replaced earlier this year when the City used an FAA grant to relocate a new beacon at the top of Tech Park Drive SE. Chairman Kennedy wants to restore the beacon to its original working condition, and mount it for display at Harry Clever Field. Buckeye Career Center students will be doing the work. If you would like to donate to the effort, contact the Mayor’s office at 330-364-4491 or email email@example.com.
The City Health Department is working with the Stark-Wayne-Tuscarawas Solid Waste Management District to develop a New Philadelphia location where residential and illegally dumped tires can be collected. There are more such tires in town than you can imagine. And having a place where they can be collected and taken for recycling will greatly benefit our community. A meeting has been scheduled for December 20th to continue the discussion.
SUPPORT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES. SHOP and EAT LOCALLY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!
Earlier today (Monday) in City Council’s chamber, the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) continued to gather information on the county projects that could be submitted for technical assistance grant funding from the Ohio Department of Development’s Appalachian Development Program. As the lead applicant for the $250,000.00 grant, OMEGA has taken on the task of melding all the projects into a single county-wide project to submit as required by the program’s guidelines. If approved, the money would be used to create a plan to implement the county-wide project. The plan would then be submitted for development funding. Each of Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties could be eligible to receive at least $17 million dollars for construction. New Philadelphia has joined the City of Dover, the Village of Zoar, the Tuscarawas County Parks Department and the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition to create a project to finish construction of the Canal Towpath Trail from Zoarville to the trail’s southern terminus in New Philadelphia.
Other projects in the county include upgrading the rail line between Dennison and Newcomerstown to run additional train rides from the Historic Dennison Depot, creating mobile units to increase access to public health services in rural areas, revitalizing downtowns and workforce development. The deadline for OMEGA to submit its application is December 9th.
I want to make you aware of a couple of strategic plans that are being developed and will help the City of New Philadelphia.
Funds remaining from closing the New Philadelphia Business and Community Association non-profit organization are being used to pay the Aegis 360 consulting firm to create a strategic plan to guide downtown improvements. If you haven’t already, you can share your thoughts on the improvements by taking an online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XWJCYL9. A Steering Committee made up of business and community leaders will review the results of the survey and use the data to develop the plan.
The other strategic plan is being created to help the Tuscarawas County Economic Development and Finance Alliance (port authority) improve its economic development efforts. Assisting in that plan’s development is consultant Mark Babash of the Ohio Economic Development Institute. He has divided the plan into three categories: Business Retention and Expansion, Business Attraction and Entrepreneurship. I have participated in two days of the development sessions. I’ve found them to be very productive. The plan that results from them should give the EDFA a clear direction for focusing its future economic development efforts for our county.
The official start of our Yuletide season celebration is this Friday, December 2nd, when the City’s annual Christmas parade steps off at 6:30pm on North Broadway at Tuscora Avenue NW. Santa will follow the parade units as they travel to the downtown square, then turn onto West High Avenue. Following the parade, he will stop by the Tuscarawas County Library on Fair Avenue NW, where free cookies and hot chocolate will be served.
Children can visit Santa at his house on the downtown Gavin’s quadrant from 5 – 7pm on the following days: December 3rd, 10th and 17th. They can also write letters to Santa until December 18th. His North Pole mailbox is located next to Santa’s house. Don’t forget to include a return address on the envelope to receive a reply from the Jolly Old Elf.
SUPPORT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES. SHOP LOCALLY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!
The City of New Philadelphia is partnering with the City of Dover, the Village of Zoar, the Tuscarawas County Parks Department and the Ohio and Erie Canal Coalition to apply for funding from the State’s Appalachian Community Grant Program to complete the construction of the Towpath Trail in the county. Once completed, the trail would extend from Cleveland to its southern terminus in New Philadelphia and would have significant economic, and health and wellness impacts on our City and Tuscarawas County. It’s possible that our project will be folded into a three to four county regional application to create what the Governor’s Office of Appalachia terms a “transformational project.” Our technical assistance application will be submitted to the Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA), as will applications from other groups in the county, to make a single “lead application” as required by the grant program’s guidelines. Resolution 35-2022 would designate OMEGA as the lead applicant for funding. The process has been chaotic. The guidelines were released about a month ago, which gave all applicants little time to gather the information necessary to meet a December 9th deadline.
In a related matter, the City received word this past Friday that it’s application did not score high enough to receive funding to build a four-mile bicycle and walking path to Roswell. The funding would come from the Federal Abandoned Mine Land Revitalization (AMLER) grant program, which is administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resources Management (DMRM). There were 17 applicants and $17 million dollars available. The estimated cost of our Roswell project was $3.2 million, so we knew there was a chance our application would be denied in the first round of funding. The City is likely to submit another application next year.
Recommendations by a factfinder have settled 10 months of contract negotiations with the City’s Firefighters Union. Both City Council and Local 1501 of the International Association of Firefighters have accepted the fact-finders report, which recommended the union’s wages be increased by 10 percent over the next three years, retroactive to the first of this year. The City offered a 9 percent increase over three years, which the City’s other bargaining units had accepted. Local 1501 members will see their health benefit contribution increase from five percent to 6.5 percent per pay. The factfinder also recommended a one-time payment of $600 in Hazard Pay for each member for working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other proposals by the union were rejected by the factfinder.
There is a new business at 261 West High Avenue in downtown New Philadelphia. Solace Relaxation Massage and Float Spa will have its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 2nd at 3 p.m. Owners Michael and Michelle Gossett told me that the float spa will be the first of its kind in this area. Visit the Solace website at www.solacerelax.com for more information. Please join me in welcoming the Gossett’s and Solace Relaxation Massage and Float Spa to our growing downtown business community!
Also, if you haven’t heard the news, Modern Men’s Wear has opened in the former Crete Clothing location at 130 West High Avenue.
At its monthly meeting last Tuesday, the City Planning Commission gave unanimous approval to the preliminary plat of the Oak Shadows subdivision. During his presentation to the Commission, developer Bob Martinelli showed that the plat will have 11 lots for single-family homes. The Commission’s recommendation will go to City Council for approval once the final plat is received by the Service Director’s Office.
The City’s annual downtown Christmas Lighting Ceremony is coming up this Friday, November 18th at 6 p.m. on the gazebo square and the Christmas Parade will be held Friday, December 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Please bring your family and friends to join us.
As you’ve heard me say before, one of the great joys of being mayor is to recognize City employees for their achievements and for going the extra mile to help our citizens. I want to honor two of our employees tonight: Police Officer Jenn Horner and Assistant General Services Superintendent Mike Pyle.
You may know Officer Horner as the City’s School Resource Officer. But recently she revealed that she is also an amazing athlete. The proclamation I am giving her tonight (Monday) tells the story:
I think that if you would ask him what he enjoys most about working for the City, Assistant Superintendent Pyle would say “helping people.” The certificate of commendation I am presenting to him tonight (Monday) clearly illustrates that.
Tonight (Monday), we are honored to have with us the high school artists who created the designs for the traffic box wraps in downtown New Philadelphia. The City would like to present each student with a Certificate of Recognition for their contributions to our growing downtown public art gallery.
The certificate identifies each student “for reimagining the everyday use of the Downtown New Philadelphia traffic boxes into creative visual art displays of original work. Your work helps the City of New Philadelphia look brighter and a place we are proud to be a part of.”
Students, when I call your name, please come forward to receive your certificate:
Rae Ann Haring of New Philadelphia High School, Marlee Shepard and Nicholas Carpurso of Indian Valley High School, Nora Bryon of Dover High School, Olivia Swigert of Claymont High School and Buckeye Career Center, and Vanessa Hernandez of Strasburg High School.
Upon the recommendation of the City Planning Commission, Compass Point Planning of Blue Ash, Ohio has been contracted to update the City’s zoning and signage regulations. Compass Point was one of two companies that answered a Request for Proposal issued this past July. The work will get underway on Tuesday, November 1st in a meeting with the Planning Commission and members of the Mayor’s Property Review Committee. Compass Point has done similar work for the cities of Wooster, Vandalia, Xenia, Tipp City and North Olmstead. Future work sessions will be conducted with City Council and New Philadelphia residents and businesses. The process will take about a year to complete at a cost of $48,000.00. Half of that amount will be paid this year from the Mayor’s Economic Development budget line. Many sections of the City’s zoning and signage codes have not been updated since 1987.
Have you ever wondered how much the Ohio EPA charges the City to operate its water plant, or the number of service connections that are in the City? This morning (Monday), the Ohio EPA sent an email notification that revealed both numbers. According to the OEPA’s fee structure, the City of New Philadelphia will be paying $10,986.66 to receive its 2023 License to Operate (LTO). That’s based on the number of service connections in the City, which the OEPA says is 8,199. The email asked that the Water Department confirm that number before the invoice is sent in November.
The annual Halloween Trick or Treat Night will be held this Saturday, October 29th from 6pm to 8pm. Please be aware of kids crossing the streets at crosswalks. City police will be on patrol. If you’re suspicious of any candy your child receives, take it to the police station at 122 2nd Street SE.
Pedestrians using the mid-block crosswalk on South Broadway at Allen Lane will be able to activate crossing signals before they walk. New pedestrian crossing signs and flashing warning lights were installed there last week. The warning lights will be activated this week.
I want to thank City Safety Director Popham, Police Chief Goodwin, and Service Director McAbier for spearheading this project. They’ve informed me that the manufacturer of the crossing system sent an extra set of signs and warning lights. So, they will be deciding which other mid-block crosswalk downtown will have the safety equipment installed.
The Mayor’s office has received complaints from downtown merchants about persons violating the downtown parking two-hour limit. On the downtown parking map, the yellow areas are the two-hour parking areas, and the green hatched areas show where free public parking is available.
I have asked the Police Traffic Control Officer to step up efforts to identify violators and issue parking tickets. Vehicles left in parking spaces beyond the two-hour limit help create the perception that there is limited downtown parking available. If you work downtown and need an off-street parking space, there are spaces available in the City parking lots. Come to the Mayor’s office to purchase a parking pass.
At our recent meeting with ODOT District 11 officials, it was decided to wait until the US Route 250 rehabilitation project at Tappan Lake is completed before considering a truck traffic study. The project is slated to be completed on October
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