During the City administration’s virtual meeting with the Ohio EPA on September 15th, OEPA officials said that they wanted to expand the testing area on Bank Lane SW to determine if PCE (tetrachloroethane) was present on the north side of the roadway. PCE is a common cloth dry cleaning fluid that entered the soil by water on the south side of the roadway during the Puritan Laundry fire in 1985. The City Health Department will be utilized if the OEPA determines that it would be necessary to do periodic testing inside of homes in the area. During the meeting, the OEPA officials also said that the phase one environmental study on parcels east of Mill Avenue SE determined that limited remediation is necessary. That clears the way for the donation of that land to the City.
Engineers from Burgess and Niple of Columbus have a traffic study underway that will help determine the best way to redesign the Interstate 77/US 250 interchange in New Philadelphia. The engineers presented their preliminary findings last Thursday to the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation’s (TCEDC) board of directors. The area they are studying is from the Stonecreek to North Dover exits on I-77, west of the interchange to Crooked Run Road and east to the West High/Bluebell Drive intersection. The engineers said that intersection is what they termed “the hot spot” in contributing to traffic congestion and safety issues at the interchange. I am going to ask that their study area be extended further west to include the Five Points intersection. The timetable they presented to the TCEDC board had the study completed by March of 2024. The recommendations will then be presented to the Ohio Department of Transportation for final design and funding applications.
Erin Wright, the chief grant writer at the Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) is helping the City apply for a Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks grant to help fund construction of phase 2 of the Southside Community Park. Letters of support from the public must be included in the application. That’s why she had the following announcement published on the City’s Facebook page:
The City of New Philadelphia is soliciting public support for construction of phase two of Southside Community Park. The phase two improvements would be funded through several grants (State Capital Bill, ODNR Grants, and Local Foundation Grants). Some of the proposed projects would consist of soccer fields, parking lots, concession stands, a play pod, picnic tables, and a continuation of the trail that will encircle the entire park.
The Mayor’s office has sent letters to the councils of downtown churches and to the County Commissioners, asking if they would be willing to utilize their parking lots as public parking spaces. The first to respond was the First Christian Church at 3rd Street and West High. It offered its parking lot on the west side of the church property. Here is the text of the letter sent to the church councils:
Church Board Members,
In planning for the future of New Philadelphia and the revitalization of our downtown area, parking has been one of the most common problems identified by our business owners and residents. As the downtown area continues to grow and attract more businesses and patrons, the need for public parking will only increase.
We feel that the best way to improve the options for off-street parking is through collaboration with the downtown community. One idea that has been brought forth is a shared parking plan that would utilize parking spaces that you may have available during weekday work hours. With your church being located within the Central Business District, this would greatly increase the options for patrons and downtown employees to park a short distance from their destination. We envision using a parking app and/or additional signage to make the public aware of downtown parking options, including shared lots.
Any lots downtown used for public parking would be eligible for winter snow removal by City crews. Opening your parking lots to the public during the week could also potentially be an additional revenue source for the church, as you would have the option to establish paid parking permits or to ask for free-will donations.
Thank you for your consideration. If you feel you may be interested in participating in a shared parking plan and would like to discuss this idea further, or have additional ideas for increasing downtown parking options, please feel free to contact me at 330-364-4491 ext. 1242 or by email at email@example.com
A similar letter has been sent to the County Commissioners asking if they would open the downtown County lots for public parking.
In the November 7th General Election, Ohioans will vote on a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana which, in my mind, would bring on a whole new set of societal and law enforcement problems to our City. Representatives of Empower Tusc, formerly known as the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition, have asked to address Council tonight (Monday) to give reasons to oppose passage of Issue #2 and to inform us of the group’s efforts to raise awareness of the mental and behavioral health issues impacting New Philadelphia and all of Tuscarawas County. President Kemp, I would like to yield the remainder of my time to Jodi Salvo and Kerry Metzger. (You can learn more about Empower Tusc by visiting its website at: https://empowertusc.com/.)
This coming Friday myself and other City administrators will have a virtual meeting with Ohio EPA officials to discuss a plan to continue the environmental cleanup at City-owned property on Bank Lane SW. The property is where the former Puritan Laundry buildings were located. Recent soil gas sampling by the OEPA found areas where elevated concentrations of tetrachloroethane or PCE were present. PCE is a common cloth dry cleaning fluid that entered the soil by water used to put out the fire at the laundry in 1985. Once the remediation is completed a new use for the property will be determined.
I am urging City Council to approve legislation that would allow the City’s annual police auction to be held online. Safety Director Popham and Chief Pohovey selected November 8th through November 17th as the dates for bidding for auction items online. Winning bidders would pick up their items on Monday, November 20th at the City storage building at 530 South Broadway at Waterworks Park. Rick Keffer Auctions’ website would host the online auction. Legislation needs to be approved by Council to allow for it to occur. I agree with Safety Director Popham and Chief Pohovey that putting the auction online would be more convenient for bidders, and more efficient and cost-effective for the Police Department.
If you enjoyed this past Saturday’s flyover of New Philadelphia by the T-34 Warbirds aviation group, event organizer Don Whittingham has confirmed that the Warbirds will return to Harry Clever Field sometime next year. The group’s leader, J.D. DeBoskey, is Mr. Whittingham’s college buddy. They collaborated to stage the flyover and the meet and greet event at Harry Clever Field with the pilots and their planes. Such an event is another illustration of why our municipal airport is a valuable asset to the community. And I am grateful for Don Whittingham’s continued efforts to utilize New Philadelphia’s historic and cultural assets.
On September 30th, Joe Bachman will be retiring as the Tuscarawas County Engineer after 35 years of service. I want to thank Engineer Bachman for his assistance to New Philadelphia during his career. He has been a key advisor on various road and bridge projects in the City. And as a member of the Ohio Public Works Commission District 14 Integrating Committee, Engineer Bachman helped the City qualify for state grant money to fund many infrastructure projects.
The City of New Philadelphia is blessed to have members of its safety forces who go beyond their call to duty on a daily basis. One such member is police officer Mark Sadolsky, whose live-saving action on July 12th adverted a potential tragedy. The Certificate of Commendation we are presenting to Officer Sadolsky tells the story and reads as follows:
On behalf of the residents of the City of New Philadelphia, Mayor Joel B. Day and Safety Director Greg Popham are pleased to commend Mark Sadolsky for his heroic actions on the evening of July 12th, 2023. Shortly after 8:00 pm, New Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments were called to a duplex fire on Southwood Drive SW. While enroute, the departments received an update with information that there were visible flames and a large amount of smoke coming from the residence, and most concerning, two children and the family’s dog were trapped on the porch roof. Officer Sadolsky was the first to arrive on scene and, with the assistance of another bystander, was able to calmly talk both children into jumping off the roof to him. After getting the boys to safety, Officer Sadolsky then assisted with clearing the adjoining apartment in the duplex to ensure that it was empty, as the fire had begun to spread to that location. Because of Officer Sadolsky’s quick response and bravery, along with the excellent teamwork of all police and fire personnel onsite, the best possible outcome was achieved, and no injuries were sustained during the fire. In the words of Captain David Morris, “The bravery and commitment to protecting and serving the citizens of this city was unmatched that day.” We are proud and honored to have individuals like Mark Sadolsky serving and protecting the citizens of New Philadelphia.
To improve the pedestrian safety of crossing North Broadway and 2nd Street NW to enter Tuscora Park, the City intends to install crosswalks with flashing lights, similar to the ones on Wabash Avenue NW and downtown on North and South Broadway. I’ve marked the locations in orange on the map below.
The engineer’s estimate puts the construction cost at $115,030.00. Service Director McAbier says that $62,515.00, the City’s share of the cost, can come from the state highway fund and general fund in the City’s budget. We are applying for a grant from the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) for the balance of the project’s cost. If successful, installation of the signals should be completed by the summer of 2024.
I am asking City Council to approve legislation that would move the Police Department’s secretary position from part to full time. Chief Pohovey says that the workload for the position has substantially increased, and the position can also be utilized to apply for and administer grant money to help with personnel costs, equipment purchases, training, and other department improvements.
Earlier this year a steering committee made up of 20 community members was formed to develop a new organization to help guide the revitalization of the downtown area and develop ways to promote New Philadelphia’s businesses and the community in general. The new organization will be under the guidance of the Mayor’s office.
The committee met last Friday to begin the process of creating the new organization, using the data and recommendations from the committee’s consultant, Ned Parks of Aegis 360. The committee selected “NPACT or New Philadelphia Advancing the Community Together” as the name of the new organization. Over the next few months, the group will meet to craft a mission and vision statement, create the organization’s leadership structure and non-profit status. I will keep Council apprised of the steering committee’s progress.
New Philadelphia resident, entrepreneur and high school swimming coach Nathan Levengood wants your opinion. He is exploring the idea of building a “climbing gym” inside the former Brogan building downtown at the corner of 1st Drive and Allen Lane SW. He would like those persons interested in the idea to complete a Google survey he’s created. Follow this link to the survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQQsLZQdrzDELz1yNScKl5aC5eL0C2LA-Y-YHvhViwcHc2RA/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0&pli=1
He's named the proposed business “Boulder Downs Climbing Gym.” The link above and a link to watch a video fly-through of the gym’s concept will be available on the City’s Facebook page.
Like many employers in New Philadelphia, the City workforce has positions that remain unfilled. City Human Resources Director Lacey McKain provided me with this list of current openings:
Director McKain will be running radio ads and posting a sign outside the gates of the City garage on Commercial Avenue SE to help raise awareness of the job openings. If you are interested or know of someone who may be interested, please go to this page on the City’s website for information: http://www.newphilaoh.com/Human-Resources.
I want to thank those residents and organizations who have sent donations to the City Police Department’s K-9 Fund. Chief Pohovey reported to me last Thursday that over $2,500.00 has been donated so far. The goal is to raise somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000 dollars to help fund K-9 Unit training and cruiser repairs. If you’d like to donate, make checks payable to The City of New Philadelphia and write “K-9 Fund” in the memo line. The K-9 Fund depends on support from the public. It was depleted by the need to replace a retiring K-9 team and the cost of urgent repairs to a K-9 cruiser.
The new Petco store on Bluebell Drive NW will hold its grand opening on Saturday, August 19th from 10am to 3pm. The event is being billed as a “Petco Family Fest” with food, music, and games. Bring your pets and enjoy the fun. The New Philadelphia store is one of Petco’s new small-town and rural concept stores. You can read more about them by visiting this page on Petco's website: https://corporate.petco.com/2022-06-16-Petco-Unveils-New-Small-Town-and-Rural-Retail-Test-Concept-Tailored-to-the-Health-and-Wellness-Needs-of-Pets-and-Farm-Animals.
Habitat for Humanity has joined the list of local organizations that support the maintenance and growth of Tuscora Park. Recently Habitat’s Jerry Hansard and Chuck Kontt were invited to the park to receive a personal “thank you” from RTY, Inc. for their work to give the airplane cars on the children’s ride a fresh, new look.
Habitat’s Executive Director Beth Lechner contacted RTY late last year to volunteer to restore the airplanes in the organization’s Canton workshop. Volunteers Hansard and Kontt did the restoration over the winter months to have the children’s ride ready for the park’s opening in May.
RTY treated the volunteers and their families to an evening of free rides and ice cream to show its appreciation. Director Lechner said that Habitat is exploring other ways to help RTY and the City maintain the rides and other features of Tuscora Park.
Safety Director Popham, Police Chief Pohovey and I will meet later this week to review the Police Department budget and decide how to fund a second School Resource Officer for New Philadelphia City Schools. Currently the City is charging the school district $58,410.65 for a single SRO, which is about two-thirds of the total cost of the officer’s wage and benefits. The Police Department also provides a cruiser for the SRO, who works approximately 180 days each school year. The budget review will tell us if the cost to provide a second SRO to the school district needs to increase. Once that’s determined, we will meet with Superintendent Wentworth to negotiate an agreement. There is also the matter of finding an officer to fill the SRO position. But we will deal with that once the budget question is answered.
City Council’s Zoning and Annexation Committee will be considering a recommendation from the Planning Commission to rezone the parcels on which The Little Theatre is located at Carrie Avenue and 5th Street NW. The parcels’ current zoning is Residential. At its monthly meeting last week, the Commission members unanimously agreed that the property be rezoned to Business to allow The Little Theatre to complete its renovation project. The parcels adjoin existing Business zoning on Carrie Avenue NW. If the Zoning and Annexation Committee approves of the rezoning, it will take legislation to the full Council for a vote. Prior to the Council’s action on the legislation, a public hearing will be held to hear comments from neighboring property owners.
This Thursday (July 27th) RTY, Inc. will be honoring the Habitat for Humanity volunteers who repaired and repainted the airplanes on the kiddie ride at Tuscora Park. The airplanes were taken to Habitat’s Canton workshop this past winter, where they were restored to “like new” condition. RTY has invited the volunteers and their family members to attend a “Thank you” ceremony at 4:30pm, followed by an evening of entertainment at the park. Habitat for Humanity has been a partner in community housing projects in New Philadelphia. The fact that the organization volunteered to take on this restoration project at Tuscora Park is a welcomed surprise.
The City Parks Department is partnering with the Tuscarawas County Public Library to construct a StoryWalk in the pollinator garden at the Southside Community Park. A StoryWalk places an illustrated children’s book, displayed page-by-page, along a walking route. At the pollinator garden, each page will be displayed on placards mounted on stands located along the route. The idea behind a StoryWalk is to encourage children to read, and families to enjoy the outdoors. The garden is a perfect setting.
The project will be completed by Saturday, August 19th when the County Library will have a dedication ceremony from 2pm to 3:30pm in the garden, with a ribbon-cutting at 2:15pm to officially open the StoryWalk. The project is being funded by Brian and Amanda Huprich, in honor of Brian’s parents Ken and Carol Huprich.
Last Wednesday Service Director McAbier and I, and Municipal Court officials, met with representatives of Patterson Pope, the company that installed the Court’s filing system in the basement of the Police Department. I asked for the meeting so that the company reps could develop a quote for moving the filing system into the north bay of the old fire station. The Police Department building is near capacity and needs to reclaim the basement space. Plus, locating the records in the old fire station would make access to them more convenient for the Court. The Fire Department has a new building. So now it’s time to focus on the future needs of the Police Department and law enforcement in the City. I plan to include the hiring of additional officers and the cost of moving the filing system in my 2024 budget proposal to City Council.
The Board of Trustees of The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County will be presenting a rezoning request to the City Planning Commission tomorrow (Tuesday) during the Commission’s monthly meeting. The board owns five parcels at Carrie Avenue and 5th Street NW. The trustees’ request is to rezone the parcels from residential to business to complete The Little Theatre’s renovation project. The Planning Commission meeting begins at 1pm in the City Council chamber.
As you read in Sunday’s Times-Reporter and heard on the local radio news last week, ProVia has purchased a lamination company and is moving into the vacant Times-Reporter building on Wabash Avenue NW. It’s encouraging to see the expansion of manufacturing in New Philadelphia. Credit goes to City Council and the City Administration working together to support our businesses, which helps inspire employers in the City to grow.
I want to thank President Joe Croft and the other volunteers of the First Town Days Festival Committee for giving the community another festival to remember. Friday evening’s Grand Parade featured the final ride of now retired Police Chief Mike Goodwin in the lead car. The City Slickers thumped the County Terminators 18-1 in Saturday’s annual softball game, and the fireworks show by the Northeast Ohio Pyrotechnics Group was spectacular.
I have invited representatives of Buckeye Energy Brokers to address Council tonight, to propose an electric aggregation program. As we know, the cost of electricity is on the rise and residents are looking for options. Aggregation may be one of them. That will be up to Council to decide. I would like to yield the remainder of my time to Mr. Tom Bellish, so he can explain Buckeye Energy Brokers’ aggregation proposal.
At the Mayors Association of Ohio annual conference I attended last week in Dublin, two issues were brought to light by presenters. J.P. Nauseef of JobsOhio told us that Ohio’s business outlook remains strong, but decision making on new construction and expansion projects is slowing. He speculated that the rising cost of capital and supply chain issues were to blame. And Lydia Mihalik, the Director of the Ohio Department of Development, revealed that Ohio’s birthrate is declining. As a result, her department is undertaking a migration effort to attract workers and families from other states and from other countries to Ohio.
Here are highlights from some of the other presentations given at the conference:
During the roundtable discussions, the mayors shared concerns and ideas about attracting and retaining younger workers, affordable housing, downtown development, and dealing with problematic rental properties and dilapidated structures. And there was a strong consensus that mental illness is the cause for the crime and social problems all communities are experiencing.
To help attract and retain security personnel for Tuscora Park and School Crossing Guards, I have approved the wage increase requests from department heads. Tuscora Park Auxiliary Police will now be paid $20 per hour and the two park security positions will be paid $15 per hour. School Crossing Guards will now earn $15 per hour. Anyone interested in these positions should contact Lacey McKain, the City’s Director of Human Resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 330-364-4491 extension 1245.
History will be made this Wednesday when Captain Tessa Pohovey is given her oath of office to become the first woman promoted to Chief of Police for the City of New Philadelphia. She scored the highest among the four officers who took the Chief’s promotional exam. Also during Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony, Officer Dave Morris will be promoted to the rank of Captain, Officer Wayne Clark to the rank of Sergeant, and the department’s second K-9, Pablo, will be sworn-in. The ceremony begins at 2:30 pm in the City Council chamber on the lower level of the John Knisely Municipal Centre (City Hall).
The City’s current Chief of Police, Mike Goodwin, is retiring on July 7th. That means that he will lead the First Town Days Festival’s Grand Parade for the last time this coming Friday evening. I’m encouraging everyone along the parade route to create signs thanking Chief Goodwin for his service to New Philadelphia and wishing him well in his retirement. The Grand Parade steps off at 6:30 pm from the Park Avenue and 3rd Street NW intersection, then makes its way downtown to North Broadway, where it will end at Tuscora Park. I selected Greg Rees of RTY, Inc. and Mike Popovich of Gradall Industries as this year’s Grand Parade Marshals because of the key roles they played in the restoration of the Ferris wheel at the park.
Now I would like to ask Wilma Mullet to come to the podium to present certificates of award to those high school students who designed the newest traffic box wraps that you will soon see in the center of town. Ms. Mullet is the executive director of the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership and also a member of the City’s Downtown Design Standards Board of Review. She helped develop the traffic box project, which gives high school art students from across Tuscarawas County the opportunity to display their creativity in the county’s seat.
The 46th Annual First Town Days Festival begins this Friday at 4pm with the opening ceremony and plate auction at the midway stage at Tuscora Park. Follow this web link to learn more about all the festival’s activities: https://www.firsttowndays.com/
See you there!
Eight more traffic boxes in the City will be decorated with designs created by high school art students in Tuscarawas County. The art project is expanding to include traffic boxes at North Broadway and Donahey Avenue NE, Beaver Avenue and Fair Avenue NE, Market Square at East High and 4th Street SE, Ray Avenue and 2nd Street NW, Ray Avenue and 3rd Street NW, Ray Avenue and 4th Street NW by the high school, South Broadway and Mill Avenue SW and at Franklin Square at West High and 4th Street NW. The Downtown Design Standards Board of Review selected the designs from a dozen student entries. The traffic box wrap project has been a great way to showcase the talented young artists in our county. The artists have been invited to City Council’s June 26th meeting to receive special recognition from the City and the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) the steering committee working to develop an economic strategy for the downtown area will reconvene to review the results of its public survey and recent mind mapping, or brainstorming, session. Aegis 360, a marketing firm from Akron, is assisting the committee in creating the strategy and a new organization to implement it. The end goal is to build a public-private partnership that will direct and sustain economic growth in the City, particularly in the center of town.
The City is using some of the funds appropriated into the downtown improvements budget to purchase a new music and sound system for the downtown quadrants. Some of the original equipment has reached its end life and is no longer compatible with new audio technology. Hitchcock Sound has been contracted to design and install the new system, which we hope will be up and running in time for the First Town Days Festival’s Grand Parade on June 30th.
If you’ve been wondering what is being built beside the pickleball courts at Tuscora Park, it’s an enclosed viewing area and storage facility. There will be three tiers of seating in the viewing area. I want to thank the O’Donnell Foundation for its funding of the project and its continued effort to promote the sport of pickleball in New Philadelphia.
Now I would like to call Kyle Doran, Ray Morrow and Brody Barbee to the podium so I can present them with Letters of Commendation. Our Sanitation Department workers are among the most visible City employees to the public. They have one of our toughest jobs: it’s physically demanding and must be done in all sorts of weather. These men have earned special recognition because they exemplify what it means to be a public servant. Their Letters of Commendation read, in part:
On Friday, May 19th, 2023, Kyle Doran, Ray Morrow, and Brody Barbee were working their sanitation route when they noticed that a resident on 3rd Street SW was having some difficulty in getting a sizeable amount of yard waste to the curb in time for the truck. They proceeded to stop the truck and all three employees helped the gentleman, who happened to be former mayor Greg Erb, carry the remainder of the trash and load it onto the truck. When he thanked them for their help, Mr. Erb was told, “We don’t mind because you matter.”
All three of these employees went above and beyond the normal call of duty and their actions were a true example of what it means to serve New Philadelphia’s residents with kindness and compassion.
President Kemp, I would like to yield the remainder of my time to Bryant McAfee, the Director of Business Development for Omni Fiber. The company has begun a construction project to bring another choice for broadband Internet service to New Philadelphia.
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.
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