PIQUA — Enthusiasm is not lacking in Piqua City Commission candidate Cindy Pearson. Pearson, who is a longtime resident of Piqua, 30-year employee of Piqua Family Practice, and vice chairperson of the Piqua Planning Commission, is running for the Ward 2 seat.
For Pearson, her interest in getting involved in city government began with participating in Piqua’s Government Academy.
“I took a Government Academy class and graduated, and I loved it,” Pearson said. “I loved discovering what our city does for its citizens. And there aren’t that many employees, and what they accomplish in a day is amazing to me.”
The commissioners do an “excellent job,” Pearson added. Pearson also said that residents should be “grateful and in awe” of what all of the different city departments accomplish.
“I would recommend that academy class to anybody,” Pearson said. “It’s an eye-opener.” Pearson said that she took the Government Academy courses at the time when the city was beginning to undergo changes, including the bike path and the issues surrounding the schools.
“Look now at what we have,” Pearson said, commending the city.
Pearson went on the praise different departments and different workers of the city, from snow plow drivers to Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison.
“Those men are out there on cold, wintery, snowy, icy nights, clearing our roads for us,” Pearson said. “And I don’t know how they do it. They’re just dedicated workers. And the police, I think Jamison is doing a great job with our neighborhoods.”
Pearson said that the Piqua Police Department came through for her neighborhood, helping the neighborhood get a building allegedly affiliated with drug users torn down.
“All of our neighbors are happy,” Pearson said. Pearson was able to see how getting involved in and reaching out to local government could help with solving problems in the community.
Piqua’s Government Academy put Pearson on the to path getting more connected with local government and her neighborhood.
“That academy then allowed me to get involved in the neighborhood,” Pearson said. All Piqua residents can get involved in their neighborhood by reaching out and helping their neighbors, according to Pearson.
“If there are problems in the neighborhood, then I think you should be able to get your neighbors together and get out there and solve your problems,” Pearson said.
Pearson meets regularly once a month with her neighborhood group, Southview Neighborhood Association. Pearson complimented Jim Vetter, president of the Southview Neighborhood Association, on how he brings in workers from city government to their meetings.
“Jim Vetter does a great job bringing folks in from our city who are out there working day-to-day, solving problems for Piqua,” Pearson. “And it’s an eye-opener. And we’re able to talk to these people and ask questions.” Now, if someone from the Southview Neighborhood Association has a problem in the neighborhood, he or she will know who to go to in city government.
Pearson also became involved in Piqua and in her neighborhood in two other programs, including Adopt-a-Program and Nextdoor.com.
“Sam Pearson is my nephew, and he was killed in Iraq, and so the golf course created, for him, a garden out there,” Pearson said, explaining the Adopt-a-Program in which she takes part. “My husband and I… have adopted that little garden out there, and every year we plant flowers.”
As for Nextdoor.com, it is a website that allows neighbors to get connected and speak only to people in that specific neighborhood.
“You can talk to one another, and nobody else sees what you are all talking about,” Pearson said. “Like, if you have a concern about trash being thrown around in the neighborhood and you want to do something about it, you can get your neighbors together and say, ‘Let’s go pick up some trash.’”
Participating in Piqua’s Government Academy and in her own neighborhood led Pearson back to connecting with the city.
“I’ve been on Planning Commission now for two years,” Pearson said. “I’ve learned a lot. Folks have come in and wanted to start up a business.” Pearson has been able to watch that happen and progress for people.
“I have learned a lot from being on Planning Commission,” Pearson said.
Pearson’s enthusiasm for Piqua and desire to be in the midst of the changes she perceives is clear.
“What I’m seeing on the city level are wonderful things that have already happened and things to come, like the development of the waterfront along the river,” Pearson said. “I’ve enjoyed watching how that is evolving as well.” Pearson explained that part of the development of the riverfront area is the development of the Historic East Piqua area.
“Once it gets started, we’re going to see a lot of changes there as well,” Pearson said, citing examples, such as building condos on the riverfront and the creation of a variety of gathering places on the riverfront up on the levee.
“I really think that once this all gets developed, then we’re going to be able to expand on it,” Pearson said.
Pearson is also a visionary herself, explaining one idea she saw in Dayton that she would to apply in Piqua.
“In Dayton, they’re taking some of their old … buildings downtown and they are allowing — at low rent, low cost — allowing entrepreneurs to come into these buildings and start up their little businesses,” Pearson said.
Pearson explained that she learned about this at a conference at Sinclair Community College, and the low rent helped allow those businesses to grow. Some of those businesses eventually left those low-rent spaces due to a need for more space.
“I think that there’s room for that in Piqua,” Pearson said. “If you really want to start a business, I think we should be able to provide a space and allow these young entrepreneurs or older entrepreneurs to experiment and see if they can create their own businesses.”
Pearson knows that she wants to be involved, and she sees City Commission as way to do that.
“I love the term ‘love your city,’” Pearson said. “I love Piqua. I think that Piqua has a lot to offer young families.” Pearson mentioned the examples of “great schools,” recreation opportunities, the downtown, and “accessibility to anything that piques their interest.”
Pearson has been a resident of Piqua for 32 years. Her husband, Ron Pearson, is a retired teacher and coach who taught at both Piqua City Schools and the Upper Valley Career Center. Pearson and her husband are members of St. James Episcopal Church, where Pearson has served on the vestry and started the Lunch with God feeding ministry.
Pearson is also a member of Positively Promoting Piqua, serving on the Citizens Committee. Pearson also hosted the 5k walk “Pack the Path” on Saturday, July 18, which contributed canned goods for the Bethany Center.