Newcomerstown made great progress in its efforts to move forward with improvements to the Village in 2016 and more is scheduled for this year.
The greatest point of progress was the State of Ohio's removal of Newcomerstown from the Fiscal Emergency status held since 2012, due to the excellent efforts of Lisa Stiteler, our Fiscal Officer. Last year also saw the beginnings of processes to remove the Cooley Hotel and Simonds Plant with the assistance of the EPA and County. There were paving improvements to the railroad crossings at Nugent, West, and Chestnut Streets with new crossing gates lights constructed also on Nugent Street. Sections of State and River Street received new paving along with the alley by the large Cy Young Park shelters. Four buildings and trailers were removed by the owners.
The Street Department completed major projects on Starkey Drive, Ohio Drive, and the alley at the end of First Street. The ten year Street Levy was renewed for the third time, ensuring funding for the repairs and repaving of our streets, alleys culverts, storm sewers, and curbing. The Street Department has also begun the replacement of many of the signs in town, in particularly, the stop signs to new heights and state-required reflectiveness. The Water/Waste Water Department, under new Superintendent Tom Sauerbrey, completed mapping of all of the fire hydrants as well as the hydrants flushing while making sure all hydrants are in working order.
Several grants were applied for and received by the Village. The Reeves Foundation granted $22,680 for a new emergency-tornado siren and at the end of the year, the Village was in the lead for a $171,000 Small Community Grant from the State of Ohio to assist with next year's paving projects.
For 2017 more improvements are on the way. Police Chief Gary Holland has written and received grants to help with the cost of a new state-mandated Sally Port on the Municipal Building and for a new surveillance camera system. A new handicapped entrance will also be installed on the east side of the Municipal building as mandated by the American Disability Act. The Newcomerstown Community Improvement Corporation is courting several promising business opportunities for the Newcomerstown Industrial Park.
Renovations will continue at the Municipal Building to update the facilities. New street department projects include repaving Park Hill Drive, Crestview and Crestview Manor, and the portion of Neighbor between Park Hill and Goodrich. A new culvert will be constructed on Park Hill near Cross Street. The Water/Wastewater Department will be putting in new water lines in the areas of the new paving. New Zoning policies and procedures will be introduced to residents at a public meeting for review. These will be crucial to the removal of structures within the Village especially the Cooley Hotel. Discussions have been on-going since the beginning of the year on possible solar projects to lower the cost of electricity used by the Village facilities, in particular, the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
A new organization, The Thomas R Little Community Fund, has been formed to create more grant opportunities for Newcomerstown to assist families, organizations, and students.
Our goal is to always do the best we can to improve the services for our residents, businesses, and visitors to our Village. Making this happen is making progress.