The Expositor recently posed several questions to Wauseon Mayor Kathy Huner regarding the city’s accomplishments over the past year, and the direction in which the city is heading:
Which accomplishments by the city in 2015 were you particularly proud of or pleased by?
The city has been working jointly with the Ohio Department of Transportation getting the Linfoot Street project started in 2015. This project has been a long time in the making and a much needed project for our community and industrial businesses. The project is slated to be completed by the end of June 2016, weather permitting.
I am very pleased to have seen the pool levy pass this past year. I feel working together as a community for our children and families can only help the economic growth for the future of Wauseon. Wauseon residents spoke up at the polls this last year, and I feel that the pool committee, along with a lot of education and dedication, has helped our community make a positive decision for Wauseon.
We have been working together with the Clinton Township Trustees, and an anonymous donation was given to the city, so that we were able to extend the sidewalk 740 feet on the north side of West Elm Street down to Enterprise Avenue, allowing a safe walking path for our citizens.
The city has been working with Fulton County Regional Planning Director David Wright, City Council, and Wauseon citizens in creating a Downtown Revitalization Committee. This committee will meet to discuss revitalization of our downtown area with a $300,000 grant that is available to building/business owners for private rehabilitation; all activities need to be completed by Aug. 31.
The city has updated its web page and added a new video created by CGI Company promoting Wauseon and its economic growth, industrial park, schools and quality of life. Check out our new web page at www.cityofwauseon.com; we are pretty proud of this upgrade.
The Wauseon Fire Department began performing ALS/BLS interfacility transports for the local healthcare facilities in our community in March of 2015. We did 274 transports in 2015.
Which, if any of the accomplishments, do think gave Wauseon an aspect of uniqueness?
I feel the uniqueness is working together with other entities to promote our community. We need to step out of our box to get the job done! The state is promoting communities that will join together on future projects.
Which projects failed, got delayed or didn’t get the results anticipated? Which projects in particular may have proven disappointing to you?
I really do not feel that we had any failed projects in 2015. We may have had a project that didn’t get completed in 2015, such as the Linfoot Street project and the swimming pool. However, these are two major projects that have been started, and pool levy money is being finalized by City Council. As long as a project has been started and continues to move forward, it is progress. We are very excited about the pool project! City Council and the mayor have listened to the people and brought the project back to the table, and the citizens voted for the swimming pool. I am a mayor that will listen and try to address citizens’ concerns.
Can you describe to the average citizen how complex it can be to launch a city project, i.e. the number of people involved, the financing, and why in some instances it can take a long while?
Each project can be different pending the financing and which committees have to act on such projects. Projects that fall into a certain line item of financing will require a finance approval from Finance Committee, and will be recommended to council for their approval. Then it may have to go through a few readings just to get passed. It could take up to six weeks just to get all finances into place before a project could go out for bidding. Then, by law you have to have so long for the bidding process to take place. Engineering, EPA approval, and Health Department approval. Patience is the name of the game when it comes to a city project.
What projects are on the board for 2016? What potential projects?
Completion of the Linfoot Street project, groundbreaking for the new swimming pool at Reighard Park, new curbs on Potter Street, and the Downtown Revitalization Project.
I feel all projects are priority to the city. Infrastructure is always an ongoing priority, along with promoting our positive industrial and economic growth.
Are you satisfied overall with what the city accomplished last year? I am very pleased with the city’s accomplishments this past year. Like all cities, there is always room for improvement. I’m very pleased with City Council, city administration, department heads, supervisors, and all employees. I feel we are all working hard together to promote Wauseon.
My motto this year is “A City Moving Forward.” I feel that, as long as I continue to keep plugged in with the community and listen to the citizens, we will continue to grow.