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Garrettsville Mayor reviews 2013 village’s accomplishments in ‘State of the Village’ Report

As we begin 2014, I would like to start out by saying how beautiful our Village looked for Christmas. There was a comment on our Facebook page that I thought was very appropriate. It was stated at the Christmas Tree Lighting that Garrettsville reminded them of a Hallmark Christmas Card. I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

I would like to now reflect back on 2013. January started out rather mild and the rest of the winter was not bad. I started my second year as Mayor and the Village council re-elected Steve Hadzinsky to Council President.  The Village Council remained the same as well as The Planning Commission.

As we enter  2014 I can state that thanks to all the hard and endless hours of the Village Council, the Clerk’s Office, Planning Commission, Board of Public Affairs, Police, Fire, Street, Water Departments, Community Ambulance and all other Village part & full time employees, the Village remains in good, sound condition.

Two new advisory groups were formed. These are a Village Services Visions Group created to look over the Village Departments and to advise the Village Council on improvements if needed, and a Beautification Group created to look at areas of the Village where we might be able to enhance its charm and beauties such as the entrance signs, parks, boardwalk and the Main Street area.

In a step designed to make it an easier process to start a business in Garrettsville, the duties of the Design Review Board were reassigned to the Planning Commission, therefore allowing decisions to be made at one meeting instead of two separate meetings. Some applications have been simplified and some will be able to be approved by the zoning inspector without having to be reviewed by a separate board.   One of my goals is to continue to simplify our procedures wherever possible and I will continue to strive to simplify the processes of starting a business, commercial and residential construction and other zoning issues.

The Village website now contains a revised version of the Village’s Codified Ordinances which is easily searchable and much more user-friendly.

After successful negotiations with the Village of Windham, we entered into a contract in July to provide dispatch service for their police department. As we continue to update, a much-needed new phone system, updates to the radio system and a repeater to aid in communications were purchased for the police department. A new police cruiser, a 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe, was purchased to replace a 2003 Police cruiser. This is the second Chevrolet Tahoe on the fleet as it was decided that as the Chevrolet Tahoe is built on a truck chassis, they are more heavy-duty than a car, and therefore will provide longevity and safety for more years of service before a replacement is needed.

The Clock Tower steeple was renovated with new paint, rehabilitation of the weather vane peak and replacement of the original roof with a new standing seam metal roof with the permanent copper like appearance.  This new type of roof will make it maintenance free for many years to come.

On a low point, the torrential downpours of rain in July played havoc on our Village with much flooding, not just in our area but all of Portage County. It was said that it was the worst flood our area had experienced since 1913. We got through it as well as could be expected with the aid of the fire, police, street, water departments and many helpful Village residents. Thanks to everyone that aided in that devastating time.

Once again the million-dollar question is what are we going to do about the Paul’s Grist Mill? The time for demolition has expired and the owner is now in violation of the Portage County Building Inspector’s demolition order. In the next few weeks, myself, the Solicitor, the County Building Inspector and the Chief of the County Prosecutor’s Office Civil Division will be meeting to discuss our next course of action.

Improvements for the year included paving on Maple Avenue and Liberty Street, sidewalk and storm sewer replacement on High Street from the alley to Main Street, patching the roads, culvert replacements, and the donation of two additional park benches constructed by Eagle Scout Dustin Savick.

Projects scheduled for completion in 2013 but postponed until 2014 are the paving by ODOT of State Route 82 and the bridge replacement on Liberty Street located by the Street Department. I am hopeful that they will not be postponed again but completed in 2014.

New businesses that we welcomed to our Village in 2013 were Snap Fitness, Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard, and Go To Girls Ohio, Second Style Clothing, The Pasta House Restaurant and Matt Kissell, CPA. The Weekly Villager purchased and moved to the Cornerstone Building on Main Street. Ace Hardware purchased Garrettsville Hardware and renovations have started on the Portage Motors Building for University Hospital. Thank you for investing in our community.

Praise to Charles Chevrolet for the renovations and new showroom of their dealership, Randall’s Restaurant for his outside décor and Mike Maschek for the continued renovation of the Irwin Building.

A big thank you goes to the service groups & clubs that help to make our Village prosperous, especially the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce which brings us events such as the Community Garage Sale, St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, Car Cruise Nights, Peach Social, Business Showcase and Christmas on Main Street and also to Aaron King & The Summerfest Committee for bringing us a great festival for each of the past nine years.

Winter is upon us and the Street Department is working hard and many extra hours to keep our roads, sidewalks and parking lots clear. Please remember that there is no overnight parking on any of the Village streets between 1:00am and 6:00am. Please remember that sidewalk plowing is a courtesy service and that they are plowed on a priority basis usually after all the roads are cleared.

In closing I apologize if I have forgotten to recognize anyone.  It brings me great pleasure when I am somewhere out of the Village and I tell a person where I am from they frequently praise Garrettsville and tell me what a nice town it is and how much they like shopping here, visiting the restaurants or attending one of our events. Hardly a day goes by when I’m not asked, “How do you like being Mayor?” I answer with, “I do like being Mayor and sometimes it is a challenge but I am always up for a challenge. “ If you see a Village Councilperson or a Village employee, thank them for what they do as they oversee and conduct the daily operations that keep our Village in perfect condition.

If you have any ideas, questions or comments do not hesitate to call me at 330-687-9637 or email mayor@garrettsville.org

Mayor Rick Patrick