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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 31st. The detours set up for the Route 250 project have routed some of the truck traffic through New Philadelphia. ODOT officials want to see if the traffic changes once the detours are removed.
Before the buildings can be demolished on the former Puritan Laundry property, which the City owns, an asbestos abatement has to take place. Last week, testing showed the existence of asbestos in window glazing and maybe some roof and flooring material. Once all the results are in, the City will know how the hazardous substance needs to be removed. Then the buildings will come down.
The annual fall Art on the Alley downtown festival is coming up on Sunday, October 16th from Noon until 5pm. And it will be the largest ever according to Wilma Mullet of the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership. She says that three entertainment stages will be set up along the festival route, which will extend to Around the Corner Frames and Gallery on South Broadway. Thanks to the County Commissioners, the county parking lot behind the Courthouse and the county parking lot at Fair Avenue and 2nd Street NE will be used for festival parking.
I request that we have an executive session tonight so that the City’s labor attorney Brian Mertes can explain the fact-finders report and recommendations to settle contract negotiations with the City’s firefighter’s union.
I’m requesting that Council suspend its rules and vote to approve Ordinance 19-2022 tonight (Monday), so that a special “Battle Motors Road” sign can be placed under the Reiser Avenue SE street sign on the road that leads to the Battle Motors plant. I presented the sign to Company CEO Mike Patterson at last week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the plant.
The ceremony marked the completion of the company’s $40 million dollar expansion, which increased the size of the plant to 325,000 square feet and tripled its production capacity. Mr. Patterson said Battle Motors’ goal is to produce 16 trucks per day by the end of 2023. Currently the plant employs nearly 300 workers and intends to significantly increase that number by the first of the year. We are very fortunate to have this level of industrial investment and commitment to New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas County.
With the help of State Representative Brett Hillyer, New Philadelphia is receiving $48,873.00 to demolish five dilapidated houses targeted by the Fire Inspector and Building and Zoning Code Administrator. The release of the grant money was delayed by the State Department of Development for unknown reasons. Representative Hillyer contacted DoD officials, who then released the funding to the County’s Community and Economic Development office for distribution to New Philadelphia and the other county communities who applied for the grant money. The list of properties to be demolished in New Philadelphia include:
- 252 St. Clair Avenue SW
- 451 Ray Avenue NW
- 607 Ray Avenue NW
- 1142 Tuscarawas Avenue NW
Also, the City is using Service Department funds to take down the buildings and car wash at the old Puritan Laundry property on the west side of Mill Avenue SW.
Prior to tonight’s (Monday’s) Council meeting, I attended the annual Schoenbrunn Village Volunteer Dinner to thank the volunteers for their efforts to make this year’s 250th Anniversary celebration one to remember. The events they planned reminded all of us of the historic significance of Schoenbrunn and why the village and its story must be preserved for future generations to learn.
Last week at the Quaker Foundation’s building dedication ceremony, I presented John and Peggy Stratton with a proclamation honoring their philanthropy, which established the Quaker Foundation in 1993. To date, the organization has provided New Philadelphia High School graduates and teachers with over $2.4 million dollars in scholarships and grants. The Strattons purchased the former Diamond Shop Jewelers building on North Broadway in 2007 to be the Foundation’s headquarters, and last year donated the building to the Foundation.
Tomorrow (Tuesday), members of the City administration are meeting with ODOT District 11 officials to discuss the creation of a truck route to guide semis and other large vehicles away from the downtown area. City police have noted an increase in heavy truck traffic through the square over the past two years. Downtown merchants and restaurants have also complained about the noise level created by the traffic, particularly during the summer months.
In a related matter, the equipment ordered has finally arrived and soon, pedestrian crossing flashing lights will be installed at the mid-block cross walk at Allen Lane and South Broadway. The flashers will be similar to the pedestrian lights installed on Wabash Avenue by Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium.
During its regular monthly meeting tomorrow (Tuesday), the City Planning Commission will interview a second company that specializes in making municipal zoning code revisions. Many of the regulations in the City’s existing zoning code have not been updated since 1987. Since then, there have been changes in the types of signage and property uses. The Commission members and I agree that revisions are necessary to fit the City’s Master/Vision Plan and to try to remove gray areas of zoning code enforcement. The first interview of a company took place last week. Only two firms answered the request for proposal that I issued in July.
Have you seen the newest public art in downtown New Philadelphia? This past week, local mural artists Sarah Dugger and Jon Stucky completed their latest works. Ms. Dugger’s “Greetings from New Philadelphia” mural was painted on the west side of the J.I.M.S. Place building on West High Avenue. Mr. Stucky painted a new mural on the east side of the building on 1st Drive SW behind the Mini-Shop Drive Thru.
I want to thank the property owners and financial contributors for their support of public art in our downtown area. The murals give visual artists the opportunity to display their creativity and talent, while drawing more residents and visitors to our downtown to support local businesses.
These new murals join the county high school art students’ traffic box wraps as the newest additions to the downtown public art gallery.
The City’s Fire Inspector has served a Notice of Initiation of Nuisance Declaration Process letter to the owners of the Days Inn, formerly the OYO Motel, at 181 Bluebell Drive SW. The notice said that criminal and drug activity has occurred at the motel, stating: “Over the past 12 months, the New Philadelphia Police Department and/or Fire Department have responded to complaints at the above-address at least 51 times.” Under the nuisance ordinance adopted by City Council earlier this year, the letter is the first step toward declaring the motel as a nuisance property if it does not comply with the corrective actions listed by the Fire Inspector. The notice states that if additional nuisance activities or any additional felony occurs over the next year on the property, or within a thousand feet of the property, the motel will be declared a “Nuisance Property”, and the owners would be responsible for the cost of the response of all Safety Force Personnel. Under the ordinance, the owners can appeal the notice to the City’s Housing Board of Appeals.
Over the weekend on social media, the owners of Miller’s Creamery announced that they had purchased the former Arby’s restaurant building at 2337 East High Avenue. The owners said that the new location will allow Miller’s Creamery to be open year-round with a drive-thru, dine in seating and a large patio out front. So, this will be the last year for their seasonal location by the airport. Thank you, Miller’s Creamery, for growing your business in New Philadelphia!
The City’s Airport Commission received word last week that the installation of new runway lighting at Harry Clever Field is being delayed because the construction contractor is awaiting parts from a supplier. The contractor is hoping the boards for the lights and lighting package arrive by mid-October. When the project does get underway, Harry Clever Field will be periodically closed because of the construction schedule. Once that’s known, notices will be sent out to the aviation community.
The City Park Board and the Tuscora Park Foundation have set the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony to officially open the new pickleball courts at Tuscora Park for Sunday, October 16th at 1pm. The Foundation will have a Chicken BBQ fundraiser on Al Maloney Drive prior to the event from 11am to 1pm. Tickets are available from any Tuscora Park Foundation board trustee or at McInturf Realty’s office on Tuscarawas Avenue NW. The construction of the four new courts is progressing on schedule. The project should be completed by the end of this month.
The City has cleared the first hurdle in the effort to build a bike and walking trail to Roswell. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resources Management has approved the City’s request to apply for a federal Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grant to construct the trail. It would be built on the City-owned railroad right-of-way that extends from Beaver Avenue NE, east along State Route 39 to the Roswell village limit. The route traverses an area where deep, slope and strip mines were once located. Preliminary estimates put the cost of the project at around $3.2 million dollars. Project assistance is being provided by Rural Action’s New Philadelphia office. The next step is to complete the application for funding and submit it to ODNR by the September 16th deadline. The AMLER grant program is very competitive. ODNR said 24 other communities received approval to apply for funding. The Roswell trail is included in the City’s overall bicycle and pedestrian connectivity plan.
The active shooter training sessions held this past weekend at New Philadelphia High School were successful, according to Police Chief Mike Goodwin. All patrol officers participated in the training, as well as members of the police auxiliary unit. School teachers and staff members were trained on how to respond to active shooter threats. I thank Captain Ty Norris for organizing and supervising the training, and all the participants for making the commitment to this effort. Captain Norris is also advising local churches that want to develop or update their security plans.
Before the rain arrived last Saturday evening, I presented a mayoral proclamation to Margaret Bonamico to honor her 50 years of service to Trumpet in the Land and to recognize “Trumpet’s” 53 years as being Ohio’s official state play and the longest outdoor theatre production. The text of the proclamation is attached to the end of my report. Saturday’s was the final performance of “Trumpet” for this season, but not the final production on the amphitheater stage. Many of the “Trumpet” actors will return on September 30th, October 1st and October 7th and 8th for their annual Halloween performance of “Dracula.”
President Kemp, I would like to give the remainder of my time to New Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Amy Wentworth, so she can give us an update on school activities and what to expect in the new school year.
City of New Philadelphia
Office of the Mayor
WHEREAS, The “Trumpet in the Land” actors walked onto the stage of the Schoenbrunn Amphitheater to perform Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Paul Green’s outdoor drama for the first time on July 3, 1970; and
WHEREAS, Now celebrating their 53rd season, they continue to bring the story of the founding of Ohio’s first settlement to life, set in the very hills that David Zeisberger and his group of Moravian missionaries once walked with their Christian Delaware brethren two hundred fifty years ago; and
WHEREAS, “Trumpet in the Land” has become an integral part of our community, as well as Ohio’s official state play and longest running outdoor theatre production, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Bonamico siblings (Margaret, Joe, and Roseann) and the many actors, technicians, and volunteers that have graced the amphitheater stage over the years; and
WHEREAS, General Manager Margaret Bonamico also celebrated her 50th anniversary with “Trumpet in the Land” on June 29th of this year, tirelessly giving of her time and talent through long hours, endless details, and the occasional rain storm to make the production possible each summer; and
WHEREAS, It is only fitting that we recognize “Trumpet in the Land” for sharing the rich history of our area through the performing arts as we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Schoenbrunn settlement this year; and
WHEREAS, We wish Margaret many more years of success at “Trumpet in the Land” and thank her and the “Trumpet” cast and crew members for their work to continue to bring the play’s message of peace and brotherhood to New Philadelphia’s citizens and visitors
NOW THEREFORE, I, Joel Beahm Day, Mayor of the City of New Philadelphia, do hereby designate and proclaim Saturday, the 20th day of August 2022 as
“TRUMPET IN THE LAND APPRECIATION DAY”
in the City of New Philadelphia, and I urge all City of New Philadelphia residents to join with us in extending a warm congratulations and heartfelt appreciation to “Trumpet in the Land” for 53 wonderful seasons and to Margaret Bonamico for 50 years of service to “Trumpet in the Land” and her community.
In Witness, Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of New Philadelphia to be affixed, this, the 20th day of August 2022.
Joel B. Day, Mayor
City of New Philadelphia
At noon today (Monday), a ground-breaking ceremony was held at Tuscora Park to mark the beginning of pickleball court construction. Four courts will be built on Al Maloney Way, just north of the tennis courts. The $220,000.00 project will take a month to six weeks to complete. It’s being funded by private donations and $30,000.00 from the City Parks Department budget.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) members of the City’s safety forces will meet with local church representatives to discuss security and become familiar with any plans that churches may have to respond to active shooter and related emergencies. This meeting continues our initiative to create a community-wide response plan.
The City will be using the $6,600.
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