~Appointments and Re-appointments to begin the New Year~
As the New Year began I made appointments and re-appointments to several City government bodies. Members of the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) board of appeals were appointed. They are retired construction contractor Len Gundy, builder Gary Lawver, retired master plumber Doug McIntire, carpenter and building restoration expert Jeff Miller, retired master electrician John Schmidt and architect Bruce Widder. The board will hear any appeals of citations made using the IPMC.
Anne Geib of Geib Funeral Homes has been appointed to the City Board of Health and Jan McInturf of McInturf Realty has been appointed to the City Planning Commission.
Reappointments made were Joe McCartney and Kelly Watson to the City Planning Commission, Bill Morgan and Phil Tidrick to the Parks and Recreation Board, Tom Strickling and Carla Barker to the City Board of Zoning Appeals, Alan Welch to the Airport Commission and Rich Geib and Mark Wideman to the City Cemetery Board.
I want to thank all of these New Philadelphia residents and business owners who are volunteering their time and expertise to serve our community in these positions.
~Seven New Firefighters are now on Duty~
The oaths of office have been given and now the six firefighter/paramedics hired with the three year Federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFR, grant are on duty, as well as a seventh firefighter/paramedic hired to fill a retirement vacancy. Their two week orientation training began this morning. All three shifts at the fire station will now have nine firefighters on duty, which should significantly reduce overtime costs and handle the increasing call volume. The new personnel will be introduced to City Council at its January 28th regular meeting.
~NP Schools Superintendent Asks for Residents Input on Facilities’ Issues~
New Philadelphia Schools Superintendent David Brand has scheduled three community meetings to receive residents’ input and guidance on how best to address the need to improve the school district’s facilities. The first meeting was tonight. Two others will be held on Thursday January 17th at 6:30 pm and on Tuesday January 29th at 7:00 pm at the Front Avenue Administration Building. I urge you to attend one of the meetings to learn about the overcrowded conditions and aging at the City’s school buildings. The growth of New Philadelphia is increasing school enrollment figures. It’s important that the educational assets in our City remain competitive because they give us a distinct advantage over surrounding communities to keep and attract families and businesses.
~City Hall will be closed for Martin Luther King Junior Day~
The John Knisely Municipal Centre will be closed on Monday January 21st because of the national observance of Martin Luther King Junior Day. Trash will be picked up on its regular schedule.
~City Planning Commission Recommends Zoning Change for NP Pre-School Operation~
At its January 8th regular meeting, the City Planning Commission voted to recommend that City Council change the zoning at the Quaker Dome on 24th Street SE and surrounding parcels on East High Avenue from industrial to business zoning. This would allow the school district to operate a pre-school at the Quaker Dome facility and return the other parcels to their original zoning classification. It is unclear why the parcels were relabeled from business to industrial on the City’s zoning map. The Service Director’s staff could find no record to support the relabeling. The commission’s recommendation has been assigned to Council’s Zoning and Annexation committee for consideration.
~The NPBCA Board names an Interim Director and begins its 2019 Membership Drive~
The board of directors of the New Philadelphia Business and Community Association has appointed Rick Arredondo as the organization’s interim director. Mr. Arredondo is a retired banker and co-founder of the Ezekiel Project on Ashwood Lane NW. He has been a driving force in establishing the downtown artistic business community. His goal is to establish a stronger relationship between the NPBCA and local businesses. The NPBCA will hold its first Mayor’s Breakfast and membership meeting on Wednesday January 16th at 7:30am at the Joe Carlisle Café at Buckeye Career Center. Interested business owners and community members should attend. I will lead a discussion on why New Philadelphia’s economic development depends upon business collaboration and partnerships.