In my campaign, one of the things I talked about was my desire to get out into the community with the eyes and the ears of our citizens as my focus. With this in mind, I began “Walks with the Mayor” last month. My plan is, during the warmer months of the year, to hold a “Walk with the Mayor” in the different wards of our city each month. This will get us out of our offices in the city building and going where the people are! We are taking it to the streets. you might say, as we walk and talk with citizens right where they live and call home within the City of Piqua!
My first “Walk with the Mayor” was held in Ward 1 and we focused on part of the Shawnee neighborhood. Ward 1 Commissioner John Martin joined me and at my invitation, Doug Harter, Public Works Director, Brian Brookhart, Assistant Public Works Director, and Devon Alexander, our Stormwater Coordinator joined us. Other city folks that joined us were Commissioner Judy Terry along with Director of Information Technology Dean Burch and Nikki Reese, the Development Program Manager, who has been very involved with getting CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) monies to this part of our city.
Many local citizens from Shawnee and other parts of our city joined us as well, along with some that had businesses in Shawnee, even some children tagged along and gave us their perspectives on this part of our community. It was a beautiful evening and it was wonderful to see the community pride as we walked and observed many who were out mowing, planting flowers, and enjoying the beautiful out of doors.
That evening, we spoke about street issues — potholes and other such problems. Since then, our Public Works department has been busy filling potholes and doing other street repairs. I heard from one Public Works employee that to date over 100 potholes have been filled in Shawnee after our walk! We also discovered a gas leak during our walk and Brian Brookhart quickly made a call and Vectren was there within minutes to address the issue.
We talked about the stormwater issues in Shawnee, and Devon Alexander addressed what is currently underway to help address those issues. Nikki Reese also shared that the CDBG monies we are applying for will be used in Shawnee to do the improvements needed to the stormwater system.
On our walk, many citizens shared with us about property issues Shawnee — things such as vacant houses that are not maintained, high grass, vacant lots that are overgrown, and other issues where citizens are not taking care of their property as they should. The Health Department is currently working the areas we cited on our walk. I also want our citizens to know that the city has hired a code compliance coordinator who will start on June 6. He has over 10 years of hands-on experience in building and design, and will help to monitor problems such as these and other similar issues in our city.
My next walk will be in Ward 2 on Monday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. We will meet at Pitsenbarger Park in the parking lot by the pool. I have once again invited Doug Harter and Brian Brookhart from our Public Works Department to join me and also Fire Chief Brent Pohlschneider. I hope you will join me as we take it to the streets once again here in our fine city!
Kathryn “Kazy” Hinds is the mayor of Piqua. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.