Candidates compete for 1st Ward seat

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — Current 1st Ward city of Piqua Commissioner John Martin is running for re-election while Nick Alexander, also of Piqua’s 1st Ward, vies for the same seat in the upcoming Nov. 3 election.

Martin has been representing the 1st Ward for almost eight years, using his position as a middle man between the city and the residents to help get stuff done and look for paths of improvement. One example is Piqua’s Comprehensive Plan.

Martin was involved in the formation of Piqua’s Comprehensive Plan in 2007.

“We had a whole bunch of diverse ideas,” Martin said.

Martin stated the Comprehensive Plan was “described good enough to get you there” but was not too restrictive or tight that changes or additions could not be made.

“I think the Comprehensive Plan was laid out well,” Martin said. He explained that it was not possible to have “everything dialed in” for a whole decade into the future, leaving room for the newest design or engineering work to influence a new Comprehensive Plan after those 10 years are up.

“All in all, it’s a basic guideline … to try and move your city forward,” Martin said.

As a guideline, Martin explained that the city is not seeking to force anyone to move out of their home or relocate. Martin stated that someone moving to help the city pursue its Comprehensive Plan will be entirely voluntary, such as if the business or property owner wants to get out of his or her business and wants to donate the property to the city.

Otherwise, Martin stated that eminent domain, the practice of a government entity offering fair market value to obtain a piece of property, is not on their radar.

“We’re not going to go there,” Martin said about eminent domain. “I think that’s seriously bad form.”

Martin feels that the Comprehensive Plan is an overall good plan that will continue to improve Piqua and keep the city on an upward trajectory. In his opinion, the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Strategy is “us using land that we’ve never used before to improve the perception of Piqua.”

“There are two major things that I would like to get to see finished, or at least start progressing well in the next four years,” Martin said, the first one being riverfront redevelopment.

“I think that is going to be a real bonus for the city of Piqua as it progresses,” Martin said.

The other major thing he would like to see develop is increasing the accessibility to the bike path, so that “wherever you live in the city of Piqua, you have relatively easy access to a bike path to get from point A to point B, but more like cars do,” Martin said.

The goal is not to create another circuit, but to make it so that streets have bike lanes that will get bicyclists and pedestrians across town.

Martin also expressed his support for the renewal levy for the Piqua Public Library.

“I think that people ought to do what they think in their heart is right,” Martin said. “I think that every library levy there’s been, I’ve voted for it.”

Martin went on to commend the uniqueness of the library’s home in the historic Fort Piqua Plaza.

“I think it’s a welcome, nice addition for Piqua that it is here,” Martin said.

Martin is married to his wife Cecilia. He has three grown children, including step-children Letitia Seger and Matt Seger of Troy and daughter Kylie of Vincennes, Ind.

Martin graduated from Lehman High School and spent two years at the Upper Valley Career Center (known as the Upper Valley JVS at the time) for auto mechanics before eventually coming to work at Hartzell Propeller for the last 27 years.

Martin’s current position at Hartzell Propeller is Service Center Final Inspector, inspecting plane parts.

“That falls over well to doing this because it’s attention to detail,” Martin said.

Alexander, Martin’s opponent, appears skeptical of both Piqua’s Comprehensive Plan and the renewal levy for the Piqua Public Library.

“I think parts of it are too ambitious,” Alexander said about Piqua’s Comprehensive Plan, including the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Strategy. “I still question a lot of the dynamics about how it will coincide with the levee.”

Alexander, if elected, stated that he will seek to understand the finer details of the plan.

“There’s a few dynamics that don’t make sense to me,” Alexander said. “Some things just don’t add up.”

Alexander expanded on that, stating that the plan seems “scattered” as if “there’s too many dynamics.”

“What’s going to have to be displaced to do this?’ Alexander questioned. “The spirit of the plan is good; it’s the mechanics … the road getting there might not be as pleasant as what the city leaders believe it will be.”

While skeptical, but still willing to pursue the Comprehensive Plan, Alexander is seeking to focus more on improving all of those roads and parks throughout town, not just the most frequented or most popular ones.

“We need to make the town as a whole look good, not just spot-checking,” Alexander said. “We need to do more than just a narrow approach.”

Alexander stated that bringing all of the roads and parks to an equal standing among each other will provide incentive for big business to come to Piqua when developers check out the entire town. Alexander also argued that focusing on fixing all of the streets and parks throughout the city will bring up the morale of those neighborhoods and inspire them to invest in maintaining their own property.

In regard to the renewal levy for the Piqua Public Library Alexander stated that “realistically, it needs to be done.” Alexander went on, saying, “I’m for it … I know what it means if it fails … Better for it to pass than for it to fail at this point.”

Alexander graduated from Piqua High School in 1998. He has a bachelor of science degree in geography from Eastern Michigan and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Southern New Hampshire.

Alexander is married to his wife Ruth, and they have two kids, Mark, 11, and Enzo, 7. Alexander has been a stay-at-home dad for approximately 10 years, saying that he still follows trends in the fields that he studied.

By Sam Wildow

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall