Mayor's Report

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John Knisely Municipal Centre

150 East High Avenue

New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663

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Joel Day

Mayor

330-364-4491, ext. 1242

John Knisely Municipal Centre

150 East High Avenue

New Philadelphia, OH 44663

Jami Bailey

Executive Assistant

330-364-4491, ext. 1242

Ron McAbier

Service Director

330-364-4491, ext. 1242

Greg Popham

Safety Director

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Julie Courtright

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330-364-4491, ext. 1243

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Mayor’s Report for Monday June 10, 2024

Tuscarawas County needs more Housing for its Workforce

Last week Service Director McAbier, Code Administrator Mathias and I joined other local government officials in a discussion with State officials on the workforce, housing and infrastructure needs in our county. Representatives from the Lieutenant Governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Development called the meeting because of the impact that Schaeffler Group’s development will have in Dover and throughout Tuscarawas County. The lack of affordable housing for workers and families was the main topic of the discussion. The State officials were also told that the high cost of extending water and sewer lines to developments and the lack broadband coverage in the county continue to be impediments to the area’s growth. The need to fund the reconstruction of the Interstate 77/250/39 interchange in New Philadelphia was also brought to their attention.

Red Lobster’s Bankruptcy Closes New Philadelphia’s Restaurant

As you may have read in today’s (Monday’s) Times Reporter online, I am working with State Senator Al Landis to try to persuade Red Lobster officials to keep the New Philadelphia restaurant open. Our effort may be futile because of the corporation’s bankruptcy filing, and the fact that closing restaurants make the numbers work on a balance sheet. The good news is that the Red Lobster employees should have no problems finding another job because most local restaurants and other businesses are hiring.

Crackdown on Junk Vehicles

City Code Administrator Josh Mathias and the Police Department have teamed up to identify and cite the owners of junk vehicles as defined in the City’s codified ordinances. The vehicles will be towed if necessary. Administrator Mathias has told me that the complaints about junk vehicles in the City has increased over the past several months.

New Traffic Box Artwork is in the Works

At its monthly meeting last Thursday the Downtown Design Standards board approved 10 new traffic box wrap designs, which were submitted by high school art students in Tuscarawas County. The art project is expanding outside of the downtown area to other traffic boxes within the City. It’s become a great way to showcase the younger artistic talent we have in our community.

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Mayor’s Report for Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Summer Season is Officially Underway in New Philadelphia

Though the calendar says June 20th is the first day of summer, the season is already underway in New Philadelphia. It began with the opening of Tuscora Park over the Memorial Day weekend. City Parks and Recreation Superintendent Adam Fulton reported that, despite the occasional rain showers, large crowds of visitors were lined up to ride the rides, swim at the pool, and buy food and drinks at the concession stands. Rain cancelled the opening performance at RTY’s Summer Showcase and the ceremonies to unveil a new historical marker and to thank the donors who purchased the new mini-Ferris wheel kiddie ride. Those ceremonies have been rescheduled for this coming Sunday, June 2nd at 6:30pm.

Meanwhile, RTY is awaiting the delivery of the new train it purchased for Tuscora Park and for the installation of a new drive shaft to get the Ferris wheel running. Both of those projects should be completed before the rides close in September. RTY’s Greg Rees provided the photo below of the new train’s engine still under construction.

Tuscora Park Train Engine

Tuscora Park Now Has an Ohio History Connection Historical Marker

Thanks to the data gathering and fundraising efforts of New Philadelphia Rotarian Sam Hitchcock, the Ohio History Connection has given the Rotary Club a marker that designates Tuscora Park as a historically significant site in New Philadelphia. The club invites you to attend the marker’s dedication ceremony this Sunday, June 2nd at 6:30pm. It’s been installed in an area across from the park office building.

The Ohio Historical Markers program began in the 1950s. There are approximately 1,750 such markers, including three in New Philadelphia: at Courthouse Square, the Schoenbrunn Village school house, and at Ohio and Erie Canal Lock 13 on Commercial Avenue SE. To learn more about the marker program, visit https://www.ohiohistory.org/preserving-ohio/history-preservation-where-you-live/ohio-historical-marker/.

Renewing Your Vehicle Registration Just Became Easier

Earlier today (Thursday) I had the honor of attending the unveiling of a new self-service BMV Express Kiosk inside of Discount Drug Mart on 2nd Street NW. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has been locating these kiosks across the state to give Ohioans a faster, easier way to renew their vehicle registration. More locations can be found here: https://ohiobmvexpress.com/. By using the kiosk, they claim it should cut the time to get an auto registration card and license validation stickers to under two minutes.

Best Wishes for Retiring City Auditor Beth Gundy

Monday, June 3rd will be the final day in office for City Auditor Beth Gundy. She is retiring after serving the City for just over 28 years. On behalf of the citizens of New Philadelphia, I wish her much health and happiness in her retirement years.

As permitted by Ohio Revised Code section 733.13, I have appointed Heather Denham to be the interim City Auditor. She currently serves in the Auditor’s office as the executive assistant. A new City Auditor will be appointed by the New Philadelphia members of the Tuscarawas County Republican Party’s Central Committee within the next two weeks. The application deadline for the position is May 31st.

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Mayor’s Report for Monday, May 13, 2024

The Intent of the ACGP Was to Fund “Transformational” Projects

The $2.9 million grant the City received last week to fund the redesign of three downtown quadrants was in keeping with the intent of the Appalachian Community Grant Program to fund “transformational” projects. Our project will transform the center of our town, making it more walkable and as written in our funding application: “This project will make downtown New Philadelphia into a high-quality place by converting its central square into an interconnected four-quadrant plaza that buzzes with activity – entertainment, outdoor dining and recreation, retail, and community events”. It’s my hope that the project also spurs more investment in the downtown buildings and properties. I thank Service Director McAbier and Meredith Reed and her team at Designing Local of Columbus (https://www.designinglocal.com/) for developing the quadrant’s redesign, Ironton-Lawrence Community Action Organization for including our project in its ACGP application, Lydia Mihalik the Director of the Ohio Department of Development, and Governor Mike DeWine and his Office of Appalachia for selecting the project for funding. I am disappointed that completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail to New Philadelphia didn’t make the funding cut. But there are other State and Federal grant programs that can be utilized to obtain funding for that project.

Art on the Alley Is This Sunday

Downtown New Philadelphia will be buzzing this Sunday, May 19th with the return of “Art on the Alley”, which has evolved into one of the biggest arts-centered events in Eastern Ohio. The Tuscarawas Arts Partnership organizes and stages the event. TAP Executive Director Wilma Mullet has told me that all vendor spots have sold out and there will be three stages of live entertainment, and of course, food trucks and other food vendors. The hours for Art on the Alley are from 11am to 4pm. Parking will be available in the County lots on 1st Drive NE and 2nd Street NE and in the City/County lots at 1st Drive and Front Avenue SE. Don’t forget to include a walk down Artagain Alley while you’re enjoying the festivities.

The First Draft of the City’s New Zoning Code Has Arrived

At tomorrow’s (Tuesday) City Planning Commission meeting, Wendy Moeller of Compass Point Planning plans to review each chapter of her first draft of the City’s new zoning code. Included in her presentation will be a first look at the new zoning map created by her study. Once City officials have had a chance to read the first draft and recommend revisions, the new zoning code will be presented to the public for comment.

The Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market Would Like a Year-Round Home

The Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market is looking for a location to build a year-round home. At a meeting last week at the KSU-Tusc Performing Arts Center, Mark McKenzie of the Market’s leadership team said the Farmer’s Market has outgrown its location at the County Fairgrounds in Dover, and the popularity of the market has shown that a year-round facility is necessary.

Farmer's Market Drawing

A year-round facility would require five acres for food and crafts vendors, a food preparation and test kitchen, parking, and space for outdoor horticulture (see the attached architect’s rendering of a possible design for a year-round market). I suggested that, if interested, the TVFM board contact the County’s Economic Development and Finance Alliance (port authority) to ask if it would be willing to donate five acres of the Howden Buffalo property it owns on South Broadway. During his presentation, McKenzie also stated that the TVFM needs volunteers, financial sponsorships and donations. To learn more, visit its website at www.tvffm.org. The Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market is held every Wednesday from 3pm – 7pm June through October at the Fairgrounds.

Thanks to the NPAct Committee for the Downtown Flowers

Just in time for Mother’s Day, this past weekend volunteers from the New Philadelphia Advancing our Community Together (NPAct) organization filled the planters on the downtown quadrants with flowers. The flowers were purchased from the Service Director’s downtown maintenance fund. I thank NPAct for taking on this project and look for the group to become more active in downtown revitalization efforts.

This Wednesday is Peace Officers Memorial Day. Remember those men and women in blue who gave their lives in service to their communities. And keep New Philadelphia’s police officers in your prayers. And remember they are willing to put their lives on the line for our protection.

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Mayor’s Report for Monday April 22, 2024

Rod Miller’s Retirement

After a 52-year career with the City, Rod Miller is retiring on Sunday, April 28th. But his positive influence on this City as the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation will continue far into the future. The improvements that have been made in the City’s parks system over the span of his career were the result of Rod’s support and encouragement. There is no doubt: He loves this town and its people.

We are having a retirement party for Rod on Friday (April 26) from 11am to 1pm at the Tuscora Park pavilion. Please attend if you can. I know Rod doesn’t want a lot of fanfare about his retirement, but he deserves it. To commit your entire adult life to serving the citizens of New Philadelphia as the steward of Tuscora Park and the City’s parks system is worthy of our praise and gratitude.

Annual Arbor Day Tree Planting Ceremony

Also this Friday (April 26), the City will hold its annual Arbor Day tree planting ceremony at the Southside Community Park. One new tree will be planted along the Oldtown Valley Road entrance road. The dirt will fly at 10am. Tomorrow, Service Director McAbier and General Services Superintendent Grewell will travel to Canton to receive an award for the City being designated as a Tree City USA community for the 37th consecutive year.

It Will Be a Busy Weekend at Tuscora Park

The new season at Tuscora Park officially opens on Saturday (April 27th) with the second annual Rainbow Trout Fishing Derby, the annual County Classic Middle School track meet at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium, and the first day of the two-day annual Soap Box Derby races on the Wabash Avenue hill. Also, the Quakers varsity baseball team has a game scheduled at Field #1.

The Algae at the Tuscora Park Pond Will Become Fish Food

Last week the City Parks and Recreation Board approved adding tilapia to the assortment of fish in the Tuscora Park pond. Tilapia are algae eaters and should remove the nutrients that encourage algae growth. Lake management specialist Alec Hillyer recommended the use of tilapia to control algae blooms. The downside is that the fish can’t survive in water temperatures below 55 degrees, so they will have to be fished out of the pond by October. That will give Councilman Mitch Pace another opportunity to plan a third fishing derby at the park this year. The second annual Rainbow Trout Fishing Derby is this Saturday at Tuscora Park. Another derby, featuring a different species of trout, is planned for this fall.

Geib Family Foundation’s Donation

I would like to publicly thank the Geib Family Foundation for its donation of $10,000 to offset expenses related to the acquisition and installation of a new children’s Ferris wheel on the Tuscora Park midway. Rich Geib’s leadership of RTY, Inc. has resulted in untold private financial support for the repair and maintenance of the existing children’s rides at the park, and for the acquisition of new rides. By the way, the delivery of a new train is expected by mid-to-late June. RTY traded the old train to an amusement ride operator for three additional children’s rides that will be installed along the midway sometime in the future.

Why You Should be Yodeling Every Day

My Executive Assistant Jami Bailey has been working to develop a community calendar where everyone can go to find out what’s happening in New Philadelphia. As a result of her effort, the City has partnered with a company called Yodel. Mr. President, I would like to give the remainder of my time to Jami to allow her to introduce Council to Yodel and show you how easy it is to use. 

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Mayor’s Report for Monday April 8, 2024

City Receives an ODOT-Aviation Grant for Airport Taxiway Relocation

April 15th is the scheduled start date for a major construction project at Harry Clever Field. The project will be fully paid for by Federal and State grants. It will relocate and reconstruct the taxiway that is parallel to the main runway at the airport. To pay for the $2.8 million dollar project, the City received a $2.6 million dollar grant from the FAA and a $144,606.00 matching grant from ODOT-Aviation. The project will be done in four phases. All airfield lighting and NAVAIDS will be out of service during the construction period. And the main and grass runways will be closed periodically. ProAv, the airport manager, will issue all applicable NOTAMs or notices to aviators. The annual fly-in pancake breakfast fundraiser by Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 1077 on Sunday, May 26th should not be affected by the project.

Goshen Twp Trustees Receive Notice of a Fire/EMS Contract Price Increase

A letter signed by myself, City Safety Director Popham and Fire Chief Parrish has been sent to the Goshen Township Trustees, informing them of a cost increase should they decide to renew the township’s fire and EMS contract with the City in 2027. New Philadelphia’s taxpayers have been subsidizing the fire and EMS services to the township for many years. The level of service by our Fire Department to the township is identical to the level of service received by New Philadelphia residents. Therefore, the cost per call should be the same.

There are two years remaining on the current contract, which has the township paying the City $180,000.00 per year. That would increase to $537,691.87 annually, based on a per-call cost of $1,122.53. Last year, the New Philadelphia Fire Department answered 479 calls in Goshen Township. We sent the cost increase notice early to give the Trustees time to inform their constituents and plan for future fire and EMS service to the township.

Art on the Alley Vendor Spots are Sold Out

The downtown New Philadelphia “Art on the Alley” event continues to grow. Wilma Mullet, the executive director of the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership, reports that all vendor spaces are sold out for the Sunday, May 5th event. And, as of this writing, there are only 28 spots available for the Art on the Alley October 6th event. More information about the events can be found at https://www.tuscarawasartspartnership.org/art-on-the-alley.

The First Draft of the City’s Complete Zoning Code Revisions

Wendy Moeller of Compass Point Planning is expected to unveil the first draft of a complete revision of the City’s zoning and planning codes at tomorrow’s (Tuesday) monthly meeting of the City Planning Commission. She has been working on the project for the past year, updating the codes to meet modern land uses and standards. Tomorrow’s 1pm meeting will be recorded, then posted on the City’s YouTube channel. Once the final draft of the codes is completed, it will be presented to City Council for its adoption.

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Mayor’s Report for Monday March 25, 2024

The Benefits of MWCD’s Move to the Technology Park

MWCD Site Plans 1MWCD Site Plans 2

The decision by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District to consolidate its operations at a new location on Tech Park Drive NE is in sync with the Tech Park’s founder’s original intent. Quoting from the minutes of the Tuscarawas Research and Technology Park Kick-off Meeting of February 3, 2005: “We need to translate the special qualities to the physical environment: create a sense of place, we must encourage and enhance interdisciplinary work and interaction, foster casual and formal connections. When people visit our park, they should think ‘I want to be a part of this!’”

By viewing the proposed campus design and its amenities, you can see that MWCD’s plan fits many aspects of the founder’s vision. Its proximity to Buckeye Career Center and the Kent State-Tuscarawas campus should create exciting opportunities for students seeking careers related to MWCD’s mission of land management and environmental preservation. The walking trails included in the campus’ design will tie into the trails on the KSU-Tusc campus and into the connector trail that will be built this year to downtown New Philadelphia. They fit into the City’s plan to use trails to encourage health, wellness, family activities and an appreciation of New Philadelphia’s rural setting.

Thank You Dr. Nick Weininger

Business growth is always encouraged in New Philadelphia. I was pleased to read the recent announcement that Dr. Nick Weininger will be moving his dental practice this fall into a new building at 170 Marketplace Commons SW behind BW3’s on West High Avenue. Thank you Dr. Weininger for choosing to keep your growing practice in New Philadelphia. I look forward to attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new location.

The First Draft of the City’s New Zoning Code is Nearly Finished

Revisions to the City’s regulations on signs was the topic of last week’s Planning Commission workshop with Wendy Moeller of Compass Point Planning. If you weren’t able to attend, the link to follow to watch the recording on YouTube is here:

https://youtu.be/jfDhYYsRuQc?si=PFV1TF57CnaVAik-

At the conclusion of the workshop, Ms. Moeller said she will now prepare the first draft of the new zoning code to present to the Planning Commission during its April 9th meeting. In the meantime, she also plans to hold a virtual meeting with members of the City’s Downtown Design Standards Board of Review to go over the zoning revisions that affect the downtown area.

Celebrate Easter

My favorite Easter Bible passage is John 3:16. It puts the reason we celebrate Easter into one sentence. City offices will be closed on Good Friday.

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Mayor’s Report for Monday March 11, 2024

Attending the Annual NADO & DDAA Washington Conference

As the president of the Ohio Mid-Eastern Government Association’s Executive Board, I am in the nation’s capital attending the annual National Association of Development Organizations and the Development District Association of Appalachia Washington Conference. It’s an annual gathering of officials from economic development districts like OMEGA within the 13 state Appalachian Region. During the three-day conference, we will hear from Gale Manchin, the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and have break-out sessions that will focus on Federal funding and programs that impact Tuscarawas and the other 31 Appalachian counties in Ohio. There will also be opportunities for OMEGA to meet with Ohio’s members of the U.S. House and Senate to push for more help in solving our issues at home, like the lack of affordable housing and workforce development.

The New Philadelphia Housing Plan

A program is being developed to use U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) direct loan funding to help first-time home buyers in New Philadelphia find affordable housing. Successful eligible low-income applicants could use the USDA loan to purchase an existing home in New Philadelphia or build a new home on a vacant lot in the City. The City is partnering with the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation and the USDA in this effort, which is being spearheaded by former Tuscarawas County resident Matt Karam. He learned about the USDA direct loan program by attending a TCEDC-sponsored conference last year in Dover. Mr. Karam has a concern for young adults and families not being able to afford a home and saw the USDA program as a way to make that happen.

                                            NP Housing Plan

The plan is to encourage home ownership and utilize vacant lots within the City on which to build housing for successful applicants. This flyer will be posted on the City’s website and social media to help get the word out. For more information and to apply, go to www.tuscedc.com/applyusda or call 330-401-3623.

Spring Cleaning? Old Tires? Call Zach at the City Health Department

If getting rid of some old tires is in your spring cleaning plans, call Zachary Phillips at the City Health Department at 330-364-4491 extension 1206. He will schedule a time when you can bring the tires to the City Garage for disposal. Zachary is the Health Department’s Director of Environmental Health. The program is nearly a year old. So far, it’s collected around 100 old tires each month. The Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne Recycling District partnered with the Health Department to create the collection program.

The Tuscora Park Foundation’s Annual Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser

If you would like to help purchase a new cotton candy machine for Tuscora Park, plan to attend the Tuscora Park Foundation’s annual pancake breakfast on Saturday, March 16th. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees will be serving pancakes and sausage from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Tuscora Park dining hall. Tickets are $5.00 each and are available at the Mayor’s office or at McInturf Realty’s office on Tuscarawas Avenue NW. Tickets will also be sold at the door on Saturday. See you there!

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Mayor’s Report for Monday February 26, 2024

Balancing the Permanent Appropriations Budget

Yesterday (Sunday) I met with Council Finance Committee Chairman Rippeth to get a summary of last week’s committee meeting that I missed due to illness. The chairman and I came up with a list of revisions to the permanent budget’s General Fund appropriations that the Finance committee should consider. We believe that the revisions would result in a balanced permanent appropriations budget for 2024. Staff reductions are not on the list. Chairman Rippeth and I agree that monthly budget review meetings will be necessary for the remainder of the year to make sure that the budget remains in line with revenue projections.

Removal of the Batting Cages at Tuscora Park

RTY, Incorporated plans to obtain three more kiddie rides for the midway at Tuscora Park. To make room for them, the City will be removing the batting cages, which have remained inoperable for several years. There have been no takers in the City’s attempt to sell the batting machinery. So, it will be taken as scrap by the contractor doing the demolition job, which should be completed within the next two months.

Thank You Reeves Foundation Trustees

On behalf of the City, I would like to thank the trustees of the Reeves Foundation for helping to fund two key community projects. The Foundation awarded RTY, Incorporated $108,000.00 to help pay for the replacement of the broken axle on the Ferris wheel at Tuscora Park. And the Foundation also gave $31,231.00 to the New Philadelphia Youth Soccer Association to construct new fencing around the soccer fields at the Southside Community Park. The Reeves Foundation continues to be a blessing to our community because of its support of projects that benefit people of all ages and sustain our quality of life.

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Mayor’s Report for Monday February 12, 2024

City Finances and the State’s Rainy Day Fund

State Rainy Day Fund

Over $3.7 billion dollars: that’s how much money the State of Ohio is holding in its State Budget Stabilization Fund, otherwise known as the “Rainy Day” fund. And as the attached graphic shows, that number has been increasing since 2022 and is on track this year to hit its maximum balance allowed by law (Source: https://checkbook.ohio.gov/State/Resources/BSF.aspx). Ohio’s 88 counties used to receive 3.68% of the State’s General Revenue Fund (GRF) to disperse to municipalities and townships as Local Government Funds or LGF. In 2012, the Ohio Legislature slashed that percentage to 1.66% to fill the state’s projected $8 billion budget hole (Source: Ohio Municipal League LGF white paper). In the State’s last fiscal budget, that LGF percentage increased to 1.7%. I bring this to your attention because New Philadelphia, as are many Ohio cities, is facing increased operating costs: in our case in funding safety forces. Inflation is taking its toll on City finances. It might not be raining in Columbus, but it’s raining in New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas County. I brought this to the attention of State Senator Al Landis. And he’s agreed to a meeting to discuss LGF and our need to see the percentage restored to 3.68% or higher. The State of Ohio can clearly afford it. In the future, City taxpayers could face a decision to pay more for safety forces while the State sits on that amount of money waiting for a rainy day.

Working with NP Schools Administration to Find School Locations

The City’s administration is working with New Philadelphia City Schools to help find a suitable location for construction of new school buildings. We recently sat down with Superintendent Wentworth and her team to discuss the location choices revealed in recent public meetings. Ideally, a new location should fit into the City’s Master/Vision Plan for future growth. The Master Plan encourages the location of new middle and high schools in the vicinity of Buckeye Career Center and the Kent State-Tuscarawas campus. The education hub that could be developed by connecting all three institutions would be unique to Eastern Ohio and would give our children educational opportunities not seen in other communities. In addition, there would be savings in transportation costs and eliminate the need for redundant facilities for academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities. We will continue to partner with the school district to find suitable locations.

Have You Noticed the Latest Improvements at Tuscora Park?

Take a few minutes to walk or drive through Tuscora Park to view the improvements being made to Field #1, the high school baseball field. The Turf Tuscora Diamond organization has raised money through grants from local foundations and from individuals to begin transforming Field #1 into a baseball stadium. A new scoreboard and outfield fencing have been installed. Next, new dugouts and a new backstop will be installed. On another note, RTY has purchased a mini-Ferris wheel kiddie ride and has plans to acquire three more kiddie rides to install at the park. And the main Ferris wheel will be undergoing more repairs this spring, with hopes that it’s up and running sometime this summer. Also, the restrooms by the tennis and pickleball courts are being renovated. The inside is nearly completed. The outside will be finished in the spring.

And How About the Soccer Field Improvements at the Southside Community Park?

Councilman Kris Kreinbihl and other members of the New Philadelphia Youth Soccer Association have taken it upon themselves to raise the money needed to install fencing around the high school soccer fields and build new dugouts and bleachers. Our kids will greatly benefit from their efforts. Thank you!

The City is also helping with the improvements by spreading a new layer of crushed stone over the soccer fields parking lot.

A Presentation by Flourish Founder Michaela Thomas

Her day job is the Community Engagement Director for the Stark County Sheriff’s Department. And in her spare time Michaela Thomas created the very popular Newsymom website, which is full of information for moms of all ages. Now she has launched a new project for moms called Flourish, and it’s located at New Towne Mall. President Kemp, I would like to give the balance of my time to Ms. Thomas, so she can explain the concept for Flourish, and how, I feel, it will greatly benefit our community.

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Mayor’s Report for Monday January 22, 2024

Remembering Mayor Greg Erb

Today we learned of former Mayor Greg Erb’s passing. His heavenly journey continues with the Lord and with his beloved son Daniel. Mayor Erb was a passionate man. He loved God, New Philadelphia, and America. And he had his own way of reminding you of that. To me Greg was a friend and mentor. Our City is better because of his efforts. Remember his family in your prayers. Information about his memorial service can be found on the Geib Funeral Home website: https://www.geibfuneral.com/obituaries.

New Business Officially Opens in Downtown New Philadelphia

Last Friday, Service Director McAbier and I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the Keller Williams Legacy Group Realty – Tuscarawas County office at 216 North Broadway next to the post office. KW Legacy is a new real estate company in the county. We are pleased that it chose New Philadelphia as its home. Please join me in welcoming them to our growing downtown business community.

Tuscora Park Will Have Signage for Persons with Special Needs

     Tuscora Park Communication Board

New signs will soon be erected at Tuscora Park to assist persons who struggle to verbally express their wants, needs and feelings. The City Park Board approved the communication boards designed by Lacey Herbert-Stephen and donated by her Lacey PAC Adaptive Movement Center. One of the boards will be placed at the children’s playground adjacent to the main parking lot on Tuscora Avenue NW. The other will be located in the kiddie ride area. A Spanish language version is located on the backside of the boards. The communication boards fill a need to make Tuscora Park more handicap accessible.

Please Attend Tomorrow’s NP Schools Facilities Meeting

Tuesday night at 6:30pm the New Philadelphia Schools administration will be having a public meeting to discuss the future of the school district’s buildings. The meeting is being held at the Front Avenue Administrative Building. Among the issues to be discussed will be the location of new school buildings. I urge all City Council members to attend. To me, it’s essential that the City partner with the New Philadelphia School Board to determine the course of action to address the school district’s aging buildings.

Mayor Taylor’s Memorabilia Collection to be Displayed at City Hall

Items from former Mayor Mike Taylor’s extensive collection of New Philadelphia memorabilia will soon be on display at City Hall. George Lawrence of Museum Acrylics has built and installed three display cases in the vestibule outside of the Mayor’s office. Mayor Taylor’s collection is now in the hands of the Tuscarawas County Heritage Home Association, which donated the cases. Items from his collection will be rotated periodically. I will announce when the cases are filled and ready for public viewing. I want to thank Mayor Taylor and the Heritage Home Association for using this project to give all of us a better appreciation of New Philadelphia’s history.

                         Mike Taylor Collection

A Group of Downtown Business Owners Would Like a DORA

I would like to give the remainder of my time to property and business owner Jim Knisely, who is leading a group of downtown businesses that are interested in creating a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, in the downtown area. Following his presentation, President Kemp, I ask that the DORA idea be assigned to a Council committee for consideration.

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Mayor’s Report for Monday January 8, 2024

City Planning Commission Continues its Work on Zoning Code Revisions

The City Planning Commission will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1pm in the Council chamber to have another workshop with Wendy Moeller of Compass Point Planning. Her company was hired last year to modernize the City’s zoning and planning codes. Ms. Moeller told us last week that she has completed about 75 percent of the revisions. The latest changes will be reviewed at tomorrow’s meeting.

In a related matter, I have appointed retired City Councilman Dean Holland to fill the vacancy on the Commission created by Tom Simmelink leaving to take his at-large Council seat.

The Cost of Providing City Services on the Rise

The City’s cost of providing its quality services has not escaped rising prices of equipment and materials due to inflation and supply chain issues. Department heads have reported increases anywhere from 30 percent to 100 percent for materials and equipment, and delivery dates up to 18 to 24 months in some cases. And landfill fees for sanitation and recycling are expected to increase this year. To offset these rising costs, I have asked Service Director McAbier to review the various fees charged by his service departments and recommend revisions.

Using Rent from the Bank Lane SE Building for Economic Development

Included in the donation to the City of the Hicks property on Bank Lane SE is a storage building being rented to a Cleveland area company that provides commercial cleaning and maintenance supplies. Now that the City owns the building, I would like to use the rent money to create an economic development fund that could provide grants and loans to downtown businesses to improve building facades and make other improvements. Council President Kemp, I ask that this proposal be assigned to the proper Council committee for consideration.

County Regional Planning Commission Considers Land Use

As the mayor of the largest municipality in Tuscarawas County, I have the privilege of being a member of the County’s Regional Planning Commission. One of the issues that will be discussed by the RPC this year is land use in the county. Land available for housing and industrial development is at the top of many lists in State government and among private developers. Ohio’s industrial and technological growth, particularly by Intel, is driving the need. The challenge for Tuscarawas County is to protect its agricultural land while identifying logical areas for development. That’s why a plan is necessary.

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Mayor’s Report for Monday December 11, 2023

Thank You to the Kimble Foundation

Last week the Mayor’s office received a check for $50,000 from the Kimble Foundation to help pay for construction of Phase 2 of the Southside Community Park. I sent a “Thank You” letter to the Foundation that expressed the City’s gratitude for its support of the project. Phase 2 of the Southside Community Park’s development calls for completion of the lighted entrance road from Oldtown Valley Road to the high school soccer fields, construction of youth soccer fields, completion of a mile walking path around the circumference of the park, construction of two restroom/concession stands and parking lots. The City has also applied for construction grants from the Federal government through Senator Sherrod Brown’s office and from the State’s biennial budget through Representative Brett Hillyer’s office. An application for a State NatureWorks grant was recently rejected.

The City’s Department Heads Make It Happen

Much of what the City has achieved this year is the result of the leadership and skill of our department heads. They quietly carry out their daily duties of managing their offices, the workforce, and complete projects with not a lot of fanfare. But I want to take this time to thank them and ask that you do the same: Service Director Ron McAbier, Water Department Superintendent Scott DeVault, Wastewater and Sewer Department Superintendent Brian Myers, Cemetery Department Superintendent Kelly Herron, Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Rod Miller, General Services Superintendent Ray Grewell, Safety Director Greg Popham, Fire Chief Jim Parrish, Police Chief Tessa Pohovey, Human Resources Director Lacey McKain, Income Tax Administrator Vicki Daniels, and Health Commissioner Vickie Ionno. And don’t forget Mayor’s Office Executive Assistant Jami Bailey and our Assistant Superintendents Chris Osborne, Adam Fulton, Mike Pyle, and Assistant Fire Chief Matt Tharp. The commitment to excellence by these individuals is why New Philadelphia is Tuscarawas County’s leading city and why our services are second to none. They don’t ask for recognition, but they deserve it.

Include Tuscora Park and Our Downtown in Your Christmas Celebration

If you’re still not in the Christmas spirit, let me help you. McInturf Realty’s annual Christmas in the Park celebration is on Sunday, December 17th from 4-8 pm at Tuscora Park. The Tuscora Park Foundation will be selling limited edition 3D printed Ferris wheel Christmas tree ornaments for $20 each to help RTY purchase a new cotton candy machine.

The new LED Christmas tree on the House of Stones downtown quadrant is programmed to perform a musical light show every half hour between the hours of 5:30pm and 9:30pm. The shows run around nine minutes. So, include that in your plans to shop downtown and eat at our locally owned downtown restaurants. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Christmas window display. The contest runs through December 16th.

And I encourage you to read the real Christmas story to remember what we are celebrating: Luke 2 verses 1-20. Show love for one another and do your part to bring joy to the world. Merry Christmas New Philadelphia!

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Mayor’s Report for Monday November 27, 2023

The City’s 2024 CHIP Program Will Be Fully Funded

Dale Hartle, the President and CEO of the Ohio Regional Development Corporation, informed me this past Friday that the City’s 2024 Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) will be fully funded. With ORDC’s help, the City applied for $650,000.00 from the Federal program, which provides funding for housing rehabilitation and emergency home repairs to homes owned and occupied by low and moderate income households. The City will share the funding with the City of Uhrichsville.

Now We Wait to Hear from the Governor’s Office of Appalachia

Completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail to New Philadelphia was among the county projects submitted to the Governor’s Office of Appalachia for construction funding from the Appalachian Community Development grant program. The Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) developed the project list as the lead applicant to the program. The list included railway improvements to allow for more excursion trains to run from the Historic Dennison Railroad Depot to Newcomerstown. OMEGA should learn sometime in the first quarter of next year which projects in its application were selected for funding. Those who make the cut will have until October 2026 to have their projects completed. Governor DeWine set aside $500 million dollars of Federal American Rescue Plan Act money to fund what he termed “transformational projects” in Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.

The Christmas Lights Are On. Next Up: The City’s Annual Christmas Parade

I want to thank everyone who braved the rain to attend the annual downtown Christmas Lighting Ceremony on November 17th. As expected, the LED Christmas tree on the House of Stones quadrant has been quite an attraction. Now it’s time to get ready for the City’s annual Christmas Parade, which steps off from Tuscora Park at 6:30pm this Friday, December 1st. After the parade, the Tuscarawas County Public Library will serve hot chocolate and cookies. Plus, Santa will be there to visit with the kids. There is still time to enter a unit in the parade. Contact my Executive Assistant Jami Bailey at jbailey@newphilaoh.com.

Shop Local for Christmas Gifts, and Vote for Your Favorite Window

I encourage you to spend your Christmas shopping dollars with New Philadelphia’s businesses as often as possible. Small businesses count on purchases by holiday season shoppers to have a profitable year. When you’re visiting the downtown stores and restaurants don’t forget to vote for your favorite Holiday Window Decorating Contest display at participating merchants. The contest ends on December 16th, with the winner announced the week of December 18th.

The New Philadelphia Fire Department’s Annual Toy Drive

The City’s firefighters will be collecting toys for local families in need at the fire station this coming Sunday, December 3rd from 11am to 1pm. Please bring new, unwrapped toys to the event. The fire house is located at 134 Front Avenue SE.

City Hall is a Marine “Toys for Tots” Drop-off Location

Again this year, the John Knisely Municipal Centre (City Hall) is a donation site for the Marine Corps annual “Toys for Tots” campaign. A drop box is located in the lower level of the building across from the Water Office window. Donations of new, unwrapped toys will be accepted through December 11th.

Continue to pray for the Tusky Valley School District and for the families who lost loved ones. 

Mayor’s Report for Monday November 13, 2023

New Attractions in the City’s Christmas Lighting Ceremony

You don’t want to miss it! Make plans to bring the family to the annual Downtown Christmas Lighting Ceremony this coming Friday, November 17th at 6:45pm. The City has purchased several new pieces of decorative lighting for the street light poles. But the most impressive new addition is a 20-foot LED lighted Christmas tree, which will be located on the House of Stones downtown quadrant. The tree was purchased by local arts supporters Don and Susie Whittingham and donated to the City by the Rotary Heritage Fund. The tree will feature LED lighting displays programmed to music throughout the holiday season. In addition, the Southside Neighbors Facebook group has brought back a Christmas holiday tradition. This past weekend they put up a number of original Christmas displays on the lawn at the corner of South Broadway and Commercial Avenue SE. The lighting of those displays will be included in Friday’s ceremony, which will also feature holiday music and performances by New Philadelphia students and community members.

As an added touch to our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, the Mayor’s office is encouraging downtown merchants and restaurants to decorate their storefronts. I want to thank everyone for their efforts to make this a very special holiday season and the beginning of new traditions in New Philadelphia.

The City Health Department Has Its First Accreditation Visit

The New Philadelphia Health Department has completed the first of two site visits by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), which are required to achieve national accreditation. State law now mandates that health departments in Ohio become accredited to show that they meet or exceed a common set of national standards. Members of the PHAB will be in New Philadelphia on November 30th to meet with the City Board of Health and with community stakeholders. The Health Department should learn by February if it earned accreditation or if it will be put on a work plan to reach that goal.

Finalizing Plans for a 2nd School Resource Officer

The Police Department has been successful in finding a new cruiser. So now all that’s left to have a second School Resource Officer (SRO) in place is for Police Chief Tessa Pohovey and New Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Amy Wentworth to finalize contract details. An officer has completed the required training. The new SRO should be on duty in January.

A Reminder about Where to Rake Your Leaves

The City’s annual fall leaf collection is underway. Remember to rake or blow your leaves to the tree lawn, not into the street. Leaf piles on the street can end up blocking storm sewer grates. City crews will be working throughout the months of November and December and will make it around the City at least twice for leaf pickup. If you bag your leaves, please contact General Services at 330-339-2121 to arrange for pickup. Thank you!

City Hall will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on November 23rd and November 24th. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Join me in giving thanks for the blessings in our community.

Mayor’s Report for Monday, October 23, 2023

RTY Requests Ride Repair and Maintenance Funds from the City Budget

The cost of the repair and maintenance of the rides at Tuscora Park continues to rise. As a result, I received a letter from RTY, Inc. asking the City to create an expense line in the Parks Department budget that would earmark $25,000 this year and in 2024 for ride maintenance and improvements. Since Tyler’s Law was implemented in 2021, RTY’s expense to keep the amusement rides in compliance has more than doubled. Its cost in 2022 was $25,697.00, over $18,000 more than it paid before the law was enacted. The letter states: “Until recent times, profits from rides and miniature golf ticket sales were sufficient to pay for most preventive maintenance and repairs to the rides. But escalating operating expenses, especially wages and ride maintenance/repair costs, have reduced net profits and in recent years even resulted in operating losses.” I ask City Council to seriously consider this request from RTY. As it stated in its letter: “Without some assistance, these rising expenses could push RTY out of business when the money is exhausted.”

The Sound of Music is Back in Downtown New Philadelphia

Recently the City had the downtown audio system upgraded. So now music can be played during the day and throughout the holiday season. The system can also be utilized for events at the downtown gazebo quadrant and for announcements during our annual parades.

Watch Out for Ghosts and Goblins This Saturday

This Saturday from 6 to 8pm is the City’s annual Trick or Treat Night. If you want ghosts and goblins to come to your door for treats, please put your porch light on. Keep an extra eye on kids and adults crossing the streets. City police will be patrolling the neighborhoods. Don’t hesitate to ask if you need their assistance.

Proclaiming This as “Red Ribbon Week” in New Philadelphia

Young Marines of the Marine Corp League is joining National Family Partnership in sponsoring the annual Red Ribbon Campaign, to raise awareness of the harm done to families and communities by the selling and use of illicit drugs. This week has been designated as “National Red Ribbon Week” across the United States. At this time, I would ask Chris Osborne, the City’s Assistant Water and Sewer Department Superintendent, to come to the podium. He is a representative of the Young Marines, and I’d like to present him with a proclamation that declares this week as “Red Ribbon Week” in New Philadelphia.

 

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Mayor’s Report for Monday, October 9, 2023

Notice the New Pedestrian Pathway on 1st Drive SW

If you travel 1st Drive SW between West High Avenue and Allen Lane SW, you’ll notice that a yellow stripe has been painted on the west side of the alley, marking the area where pedestrians can walk to the entrances of the Branch Church and the Lacey PAC dance studio. The City has installed the pedestrian pathway for safety purposes at the request of business owners.

Public Meeting for a Towpath Trail Design Update

The Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition is planning another public meeting for Monday, October 16th to gather feedback on the new route it’s proposing for New Philadelphia’s Towpath Trail. The meeting will begin at 6pm in the City Council chamber. The new route design is in response to recommendations made by Councilwoman Ramos and others who have attended previous public meetings. The trail would follow sections of Front Avenue SW, 10th Street SW and NW, Miller Avenue NW, and Union Avenue NW. OECC Executive Director Dan Rice has mailed meeting notices to residents and businesses along the new route. If you have not received one, email him at drice@ohioeriecanal.org.

Fire Safety Open House

The New Philadelphia Fire Department will hold its annual open house this coming Thursday, October 12th from 5pm to 7pm. Lowe’s will provide free hot dogs and the firefighters union will have free popcorn and refreshments. There will be demonstrations that will illustrate the skills of our firefighter/paramedics. As a taxpayer, the open house is always a great opportunity to see the fire department’s apparatus and equipment you’ve purchased and meet some of the employees being paid with your City tax dollars.

Tuscora Park Foundation Chicken BBQ Fundraiser

The Tuscora Park Foundation is raising money for the repair of the rides at Tuscora Park. And you’ll be able to help by buying a ticket to the Foundation’s Chicken BBQ fundraiser, which will be held this coming Sunday, October 15th. The drive-up event will be held on Al Maloney Drive at Tuscora Park from 11am to 2pm. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased from any Foundation trustee (Joel Day, Mike Ernest, Tom Farbizo, Darrin Lautenschleger, Don Kemp, Paul McEwan, Jan McInturf, Rod Miller, and Jim Range), at McInturf Realty, and also at the Mayor’s office.

“Flourish”: A Newsymom Vision to Help Young Mothers in T-County

Last Friday, I met with Michaela Madison, the founder and executive director of the popular Newsymom.com website, to learn about her new business concept that she says is “designed to empower mothers, enrich the community, support economic growth, and unleash the untapped potential of local mothers”. The new business would be called “Flourish” and would be located inside New Towne Mall. The concept is to create a safe, inclusive, and nurturing childcare center for working moms and moms with young children, and a space where moms can focus on their mental well-being, personal growth, and productivity. Over the past several years, I’ve heard a lot of talk about workforce development. But the subject of childcare has not been raised in the discussions. In my mind, Ms. Madison’s “Flourish” concept would address this need while helping employers in our county fill job openings. Her concept has been well-researched. If you’d like to learn more about it, contact Michaela Madison at michaela@newsymom.com.

Dates to Mark on Your Calendars

Downtown Art on the Alley Event – Sunday, October 15th, 11am to 4pm

Halloween Trick or Treat Night – Saturday, October 28th, 6pm to 8pm

City Downtown Christmas Lighting Ceremony – Friday, November 17th at 6pm

City Christmas Parade – Friday, December 1st at 6:30pm

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Mayor’s Report for Monday September 25, 2023

Ohio EPA Wants Further Testing for PCE on Bank Lane SW 

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. 

Progress on the I-77/US 250 Interchange Redesign Study 

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. 

You Can Help Support Funding for Phase 2 at the Southside Community Park 

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. 

You can send your letter to support to:  
Erin Wright  
Senior Community Development Specialist 
326 Highland Avenue, Suite B 
Cambridge, Ohio 43725 
Or by email – ewright@omegadistrict.org 
The deadline to submit your letter is Monday, October 2nd. Thank you! 

Asking Churches and the County to Help Expand Downtown Parking Choices 

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: 

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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 jday@newphilaoh.com 

A similar letter has been sent to the County Commissioners asking if they would open the downtown County lots for public parking.  

Empower Tusc Presents Reasons to Oppose State Issue #2 

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/.) 

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Mayor’s Report for Monday September 11, 2023

We Remember….

Meeting with the Ohio EPA to Discuss Its Findings at the Former Puritan Laundry Site

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.

The Annual Police Auction Could Be an Online Event

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

Contact Information

330-364-4491

330-343-2489

John Knisely Municipal Centre

150 East High Avenue

New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663

8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Joel Day

Mayor

330-364-4491, ext. 1242

John Knisely Municipal Centre

150 East High Avenue

New Philadelphia, OH 44663

Jami Bailey

Executive Assistant

330-364-4491, ext. 1242

Ron McAbier

Service Director

330-364-4491, ext. 1242

Greg Popham

Safety Director

330-364-4491, ext. 1242

Julie Courtright

Clerk of Council

330-364-4491, ext. 1243

Information Desk

330-364-4491, ext. 1210