PIQUA — Piqua City Manager Gary Huff is resigning from his position and will be headed south of the Ohio River.
Huff confirmed on Thursday night that he has accepted a position as the new city manager of Ashland, Ky. He has signed a 36-month contract with the city of Ashland, which has a population of slightly more than 21,000 people, according to the 2013 census.
On Friday, Huff commented that an opportunity arose to move closer to loved ones.
“The Ashland job was an opportunity to go home after all these years to be near family and long time friends. It is the only job that could have pulled me away from Piqua,” Huff said. “My time in Piqua has been wonderful. I had really planned on finishing out my career here, but this unique opportunity came along to get back to the tri-state area.”
Huff expressed his appreciation to the Piqua City Commission along with city staff, ending on a soft note for city residents.
“The City Commission and staff have been so great to work with, and I have no doubt that the city government will not miss a beat with my absence,” Huff said. “The citizens of Piqua have been the most giving of anywhere I’ve been, and I wish nothing but success in the future. For me, Piqua will always be a special place.”
It is unclear when Huff will be leaving the city of Piqua.
“We were very lucky, very fortunate to have him,” Mayor Kazy Hinds said on Friday. “He has set us up on a very good path, and I feel like we will continue moving forward as we have.” Hinds also noted that the city has a good, talented staff in place to accomplish that.
It is also unclear when the city will begin the search for Huff’s replacement, but Hinds said that he or she will be “lucky” to come work for the city of Piqua due to the “many good things” happening in the city right now.
“We wish him the best wishes,” Hinds said. “I’m thrilled for him and his family that they will be able to be closer together.”
More details and an official press release from the city are expected next week.
Huff has been the city manager of Piqua since October 2011, originally hired under former Piqua Mayor Lucy Fess.
Since then, Huff has overseen projects like the construction of the new Water Treatment Plant, which is expected to open this summer; the construction of the new water tower on Fox Drive; the refurbishing of the East Ash Street water tower; the reconstruction of a portion of County Road 25-A near Piqua High School and Indian Ridge; the reconstruction of Ash Street; the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Strategy; and more.
The Downtown Riverfront Development Strategy includes the study and design phases of the Lock Nine Renaissance Park project, the Piqua Community Center Campus Plan study, along with the Historic East Piqua Master Plan, and the beautification of the downtown.
Other projects that began with Huff behind the city reins include the upcoming design and installation of a Precision Approach Path Indicator System at the Piqua Municipal Airport; the redevelopment and completion of the bike path and other improvements behind the old Piqua Power Plant; the possibility of utilizing the old Piqua Power Plant as a possible source for energy generation; participation in American Municipal Power’s solar energy project as well as the possibility of Piqua being a location for a future solar energy site; the city’s in-house recycling program; the resurfacing of Covington Avenue; the painting of the railroad bridge over U.S. Route 36/Ash Street; and others.
The city has also received new honors with Huff in charge, including Piqua being named as a Trail Town and being recognized as a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists. Piqua was the first municipality in Ohio to receive the latter status.
Other new awards that the city has recently received include recognition as one of the best commuter cities in the state, American Public Power Association’s Safety Award and E.F. Scattergood System Achievement, Community Partnership Award from from the Career Based Intervention Program, Bicycle Friendly Businesses, Best Places for Millennials from Nerdwallet, Best Places to Live in Ohio from Niche, and more.
Huff is currently a member on the board of directors for Grow Piqua Now and the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to coming to Piqua, Huff was the town manager of Fishers, Ind. between 2005-2011. He has also worked as the town manager of Blacksburg, Va., between 1998 and 2005 and the deputy town manager of Leesburg, Va., between 1996 and 1998. In addition, he is a veteran of the U.S. Army.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336