By Georgetown Mayor Dale Cahall & Art Owens, Administrator –
We hope you each have enjoyed a Happy Holiday season. The Village of Georgetown has certainly been busy throughout 2016 and we have made progress on several fronts.
• We saw several business’ move to town during 2016. Our largest came from the sale of the Southwest Regional hospital to the Oglethorpe Corporation. Oglethorpe will be opening a new renovated behavioral health and alcohol and drug dependency rehabilitation center in the coming months.
This venture is expected to provide nearly 200 jobs at the outset and will provide even more when they reach full capacity.
• Healthsource of Ohio is currently in the process of building a new facility in the Village. This project will be completed very soon and should open sometime in January. Healthsource has merged another of its offices into this office and will offer expanded services through the new Georgetown location, which will provide even more jobs within the Village.
• The Department of Veteran’s Affairs made a commitment to stay in the Village of Georgetown and are currently awaiting the completion of renovations to their new location on Home Street.
• The Marathon First Stop also renewed their commitment to provide fuel and grocery supplies by building a new structure on the site of the old one. This project is expected to be completed with the next few weeks and re-opened to the public.
• Rumpke Waste Inc. was recently awarded an EPA permit to allow for the construction of a methane to electricity plant at the landfill site. This energy will be sold on the power grid and the Village will be purchasing most of the electric through our contractual partnership with American Municipal Power (AMP).
We are pleased to be a user of an alternative power source.
• There were a couple other business’ started here in 2015. Sonny’s Smoke Shop is now in the Village on commercial row and Summit of Grace Church located on Mt. Orab Pike.
• In January of 2016 Village Council passed a Zoning Ordinance for the Village. This Zoning ordinance was placed in effect to help protect property owners and business’ alike. This program has already proven to be effective. You can see the zoning ordinance, zoning map, and all zoning applications on our new website at www.georgetownohio.org.
• Early in 2016 the Village applied for funds from the State of Ohio’s Capital Budget for improvements to Gaslight Theater building which also houses the administration offices. Senator Joe Uecker and Representative Doug Green worked with us on this project and helped us secure funds in the amount of $300,000.00. With $150,000.00 matching funds from the Village, we have $450,000.00 to put in to the renovations and repairs of this facility. A majority of these funds will be spent on the exterior of the structure repairing the brick and mortar and a portion will be spent on the inside of the Gaslight Theater to upgrade emergency exits and other features of the Theater.
• The Village is also in the process of upgrading antiquated water mains along E. State Street, W. State Street, and North and South Main Street. The current water mains in these areas are very old and provide for main breaks at a high rate. We called in an engineer to study our system and found our weakest areas of our water system. Part of this project will also be a new water tower and another master connection to Brown County Rural Water. All of these repairs and additions will provide a better drinking water supply to the residents of the Village and will ensure a system capable of allowing for future growth and adequate fire protection throughout the Village.
• We continue to work on paving projects each year and 2016 was no different. Our main paving project in 2016 was along S. Main Street from Home Street to the corporation limits, a portion of W. Fork Road, Fairway Drive and Lakewood Lane. In total this pavement project was nearly 20,000 square yards of pavement 2” thick. We will continue yearly paving projects to ensure all the Village roads, streets, and alleys remain in good useable condition.
• Another exciting project involves the Kathryn Hanlon Park. Through the efforts of Nancy Montgomery and Council Member Susan Bean, the Village received a grant through the Ohio Division of Natural resources for the purchase and installation of exercise equipment in the park. We have plans for other park improvements in 2017.
• Over the past several years, this community and communities throughout the nation have faced a crisis in the number of volunteers staffing our fire and EMS services. Georgetown has not been able to escape this crisis. The demands placed on volunteers and the amount of training and continuing education required the endure have led to shortages of volunteer personnel throughout the nation. The Village hired an independent consultant to evaluate the emergency services we provide and to no surprise we found we are facing a serious crisis in our Fire and EMS services. After many meetings of the Emergency Services and Budget Committees the Village Council has set a plan in action that will allow the Fire and EMS to staff part-time personnel 12 hours during the daytime 7 days a week. These personnel will be trained for both Fire and EMS services and will be on staff to ensure our EMS and Fire Units are staffed and ready to respond to emergencies within our response territory. This is the beginning of corrections to this situation and as we move forward we will continue to evaluate our emergency services and will keep the public advised of our situation.
• The Village made a commitment in 2016 to better inform the citizens of events happening within our community. We have a new website www.georgetownohio.org. We now have a facebook page which can be found by searching @georgetownohio.org. We also have a twitter account which can be found by searching @gtownohvillage. The Village also has an automated call service, (ONE CALL NOW), that allows anyone in the community to sign up a telephone number(s) and receive recorded messages whenever and event occurs that may impact the community. If you would like to sign up for the One Call Now please call the office at 937-378-6395 or email the Village Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We have had a busy 2016 and we hope to continue the hard work in 2017. We appreciate the support the community shows us and we look forward to working hard for each and every one of you in the upcoming year. We want to keep each of you informed and are willing to talk to you whenever you have a question or concern. Our council meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 7pm in the Village Council Chambers. We invite each of you to attend meetings when you are able to do so.