CW mayor looks back and ahead

A year ago, Mike Ebert was a Canal Winchester resident traveling throughout the area on business as a sales manager; he now finds himself leading the community he has called home his entire life.

Ebert is finishing up his first year as mayor of Canal Winchester and looking forward to the future of a village on the verge of city status. The Canal Winchester High School graduate, who attended Columbus State and the Lancaster Branch of Ohio University, said the job is pretty much what he expected.

"I knew what the issues were before I ran for mayor," said Ebert from his office in the municipal building, "and there haven’t been any real surprises, although there’s always a learning curve. Each week and month it gets easier than the one before. I have a really good bunch of people working with me, not for me. I’m not doing this on my own. We have staff and team meetings every week."

Looking back over 2008

Taking a look back over 2008, Ebert said renovation of Columbus Street was a challenge and one not initially supported by a number of residents.

"Not everyone was 100 percent for it," recalled Ebert. "But once we met at people’s houses or one-on-one, they got the picture. It went real well once everyone knew what was going on. I made it a point to be out there everyday so people would see me and feel free to come up and talk about the project. During this year we also came to terms on the Lithopolis lawsuit on the amount of sewage flowing into Canal Winchester and the Snider-Thornton annexation is finally ready and the paperwork has been turned in to the county."

Ebert said he and his staff are hopeful commercial businesses and light industry will move into the area once it starts to develop and generate tax revenue for the village. In addition, the mayor was pleased with the start of construction on the Mt. Carmel-Fairfield emergency medical complex near Hill/Diley roads

"I’m also very proud of the new Community Watch program. Right now we have nine volunteers who went through 40 hours of training. The volunteers said they just love it and we’re also getting good comments from residents about the program," said Ebert. "As for community activities, Relay for Life took in over 300 percent more than the previous year and we had the largest attendance for the Labor Day Festival than I’ve ever seen before. I think people were sticking closer to home this year."

What’s ahead for 2009

In looking to the future, Ebert felt one of the biggest challenges facing Canal Winchester as it becomes a city is the ability to fund infrastructure projects.

"Some of our funding will go away because we’re at city status," Ebert said, "and then we’ll be competing against other cities like Columbus. Next year we’ll be working on extending the Joint Recreation District agreement and it will probably be a much longer agreement the next time around.
"I’d like to see people get more involved in the community again. This was one of the reasons behind starting the Community Watch. I’d also like to see Canal Winchester have good, steady growth in light industrial and commercial development and I think the Mount Carmel/Fairfield complex will bring in more offices space."

Prior to his November 2007 write-in election victory as mayor, Ebert served three terms as Director of the Ohio Association of Meat Packers, is a Past-President of the Lions Club, coached Little League baseball in Canal Winchester, and is a volunteer with the Family Program at Rickenbacker ANGB.

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