MOUNT GILEAD — Mayor Jamie Brucker needed 3 pages to outline all that the village accomplished in 2021.
“As the global pandemic continues to cause economic uncertainty, I’m happy to report our village has continued to hold a strong economic position thanks to our village council, village administrator, fiscal officer and department heads,” he said.
As his second year in office came to an end, Brucker talked about the development of the parks and recreation area that took place last year during the State of the Village address at the Jan. 3 village council meeting.
Pool renovations were discussed and approved with work beginning to take place.
“Our parks and rec board brought back the 5K Fun Run, which many youth and adults participated in. Also, design began on basketball, tennis and pickle ball courts and we opened a dog park with extra amenities to entertain our canine friends.”
It was named Riggs Memorial Park in honor of the late Dr. Harry Riggs, a local veterinarian. It opened Dec. 4.
The year brought leadership changes to the Mount Gilead Police Department as Adam Lakey was appointed police chief. Tom Cronenwett was promoted to captain. New officers also were hired to fill the ranks.
The department acquired a mobile traffic speed sign.
“It can be moved to key areas of concern within our community,” Brucker said.
Also, the Explorer Post, under the direction of officer Roger Meyer, was re-started. To date, 5 cadets are participating in the program.
The fire department’s Central Ohio Fire Academy was a busy place.
“We saw 58 participants in various classes and also became a CPR instructor site,” Brucker said.
Several promotions took place within the fire department. Firefighters Jake Wyat and Paul Hartschuh were promote to lieutenant and Robert Walker to captain.
Council approved purchasing a ladder truck from Liberty Township in Delaware County. “It meets the needs of our community and saved the taxpayers greatly,” he said.
Brucker noted new business openings in the village, anchored by Pillar Credit Union on Meadow Drive.
“It was a significant investment in developing that property.”
Also, LSI, through one of their business arms, purchased the former News Color Press and a popular eatery, The Purple Indian, re-opened. Other businesses started operating in Mount Gilead, among them Clarity Corporation, Leavitt Group, Victory in the Village and E.D.S The Sauce Guys.
Major demolition and clean up took place at the former HPM property.
“We remain hopeful that it will attract new interest in development of the vacant property,” he said.
Street crews completed various projects, including storm sewer repair near Cherry and High streets.
Thirty new trees were planted as part of the Tree City USA program and new recycling bins were provided to all residences.
“The implementation of Dumpsters for the annual trash collection helped improve efficiency and keep the streets of the village cleaned up.”
The village pumped 105.148,000 of gallons of water to residential and business customers, and responded to 13 water main breaks.
Thirty-nine homes were tied in to the new 10-inch main as part of the Bank and Union streets water line hook-ups, Brucker said.
The village awarded its largest street paving program, which will be completed in 2022. Kokosing will do the work at a cost of $403,000.
“This is the largest street investment since The Great Recession,” he said.
All 5 traffic lights in the village were upgraded with battery backups. “This provides an extra measure of safety to our residents when the power goes out.”
Automatic payments for utility bills was instituted last year.
The mayor was pleased that several community events returned after the pandemic put most of them on hiatus the previous year.
“At times of uncertainty, the village of Mount Gilead continues to pull together to share the traditions of our community,” he said. “Among those are the fireworks display, the 3rd of July pulls, the return of the county fair, Downtown Days and the annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade.”
Brucker said the village continues to move forward in many areas.
“We look forward to what we can accomplish as a group in 2022,” he said.