The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

City Council hears development update

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Council heard an update on county activities from Van Wert County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum, as well as an update on local economic development activities from city-county development director Stacy Adam during its meeting Monday. Council also returned to the drawing board on the issue of city trash pick-up and scheduled looked at legislation aimed at streamlining Council functions.

Van Wert County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum (standing) talks about possible expansion of the city's Community Reinvestment Area to include Towns Center, while (from the left) fellow Commissioner Stan Owens and Thad Lichtensteiger, and economic development director Stacy Adam listen. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent
Van Wert County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum (standing) talks about possible expansion of the city’s Community Reinvestment Area to include Towns Center, while (from the left) fellow Commissioner Stan Owens and Thad Lichtensteiger, and economic development director Stacy Adam listen. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Wolfrum spoke for fellow Commissioners Thad Lichtensteiger and Stan Owens, who also attended the meeting, noting that he would like Council to consider extending the city’s Community Reinvestment Area to the Towne Center retail center to assist the development in expanding. Wolfrum noted that would assist the county, which holds the bonds used to finance the center.

He noted his opinion that Arby’s and the city hotels all located near the center, but not in it, made that choice because of the benefits of the CRA, and hoped the city would consider extending that program to Towne Center.

Adam, executive director for the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation, reported on development efforts, while also noting she was pleased with the cooperation her office has received from both city and county officials.

She first reported on the city and county Revolving Loan Funds, which her office administers, noting that the county fund currently had a balance of $68,000 and the city’s has $160,000.

Adam noted that the RLFs currently has three active loan applications for approximately $325,000 and have requested funds from the state. There are currently 21 active RLF loans in the city and county programs.

“I think it’s great news for us that we have folks that are looking at requesting the loans because they mean jobs,” Adam said, noting that job creation is a requirement of revolving loans.

Mayor Jerry Mazur said the RLF program is important to both the city and county, noting that Mercer County receives all of its administrative funding — a substantial amount — from its RLF program.

Adam said she was working with local banks to ensure that those approved for RLF loans can receive local funding.

City Council will be discussing the possible combining of city and county RLF agencies at 7 p.m. Monday, March 13.

She also talked about a recent $500,000 grant received to demolish blighted houses and businesses in the county, noting that four houses have been acquired and will be demolished sometime this year, while two other properties are still in the acquisition process.

Wolfrum said the problem in acquiring blighted properties is in

Adam also noted that her office has received information on five state-approved expansion projects by existing businesses that would result in an investment of $10.7 million and creation of 77 new jobs, while there have also been site inquiries for manufacturing facilities, two in the last week, as well as information on a potential housing development.

“So I think there is interest, and there is opportunity for some growth, not only on the housing side, but also on potentially some new job creation that I think is good news from all of us,” she noted.

In a continuation of discussion on city trash pick-up, Mayor Mazur said he was pleased that Council decided to reject the pending ordinance at the last meeting, noting that, in his research on other communities’ trash ordinances, he feels there is a better way to solve the city’s trash problem. More discussion of the issue will be held at the next Council meeting on March 13.

Trash hauler Jeff Kreischer also attended the meeting and said he would do what he could to cooperate with whatever city officials come up with to solve the problem of trash on city streets and private property.

“I’m willing to do whatever I can to help clean up the city,” Kreischer said, while also noting he would talk to other haulers to get them to do the same.

Judiciary and Annexation Committee Chair Jon Tomlinson also talked about discussion centering around Chapter 30 (Council rules) and the possibility of streamlining the rules to make the legislative process more efficient and less time-consuming. Options include eliminating committees and adding time to regular Council meetings for discussion of issues, as well as creating consent agendas for non-controversial action items. More discussion will be held on the subject.

In legislative activities on Monday, Council approved a new contract with the city firefighters union, while also approving a lease agreement for the transfer station.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of Van Wert City Council will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 13, in Council Chambers, on the second floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 02/28/17 at 9:13 am. FILED UNDER: News