Mt. Sterling: To-do list, special events, squad and fire staffing shortages

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(Posted Feb. 16, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

“We’ve got a lot on our plate, and there’s lots of reason for optimism,” said Andy Drake, council president pro tem, about the year ahead for the village of Mount Sterling.

At the Feb. 14 council meeting, Drake listed the big items on the village’s 2022 to-do list:

• finish the water line project on London Street;
• look at options for water tower replacement;
• work on a five-year capital improvements plan;
• pursue grant money for parks and infrastructure improvements; and
• explore potential development opportunities.

“I think there’s a lot of work ahead, there’s a lot of hard choices, but we have a great crew and we’re getting through stuff,” Drake said.

He added that council plans to make draft copies of the capital improvements plan available to the public.

“We’re going to do this to show the community where your dollars are going and how they will be invested in infrastructure,” he said.

Drake invited residents and other stakeholders associated with the village to get involved and voice their opinions about the community’s needs. He said council is seeking feedback about prioritizing those needs.

“We need to make sure our investments are going to the right place at the right time,” he said.

Drake also reported on plans for street repairs for 2022. The village continues to divide pothole repairs into two categories: small ones that village crews can repair and large ones that require repair by an outside company. He also said the village wants to hire an engineering firm to conduct a study to prioritize street repairs, identifying which streets have the worst curbs, surfaces, and sub-surfaces.

Movie nights and other events
Council member Becky Martin announced the dates for this year’s movie nights at Mason Park: May 28, June 25, July 30 and Aug. 27. The village shows family-friendly movies on its inflatable big screen. The movies start at dusk.

Martin also requested and received permission from the rest of council to close roads for several events on this year’s calendar, including Summer Jam which is set for June 16-18, Market Crew’s Fall Street Market on Sept. 24, and Christmas in the Village on Dec. 2.

She requested a rolling road closure with a Madison County Sheriff’s Office escort for the Independence Day parade. Currently, plans are to hold the parade on July 4. Martin said Tom Corbin, a member of Masonic Lodge 269, likely will be in touch with council for road closure needs for this year’s Haunted House, as well.

She noted that the village will coordinate the road closures with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Sheriff’s Office and communicate the exact times of the closures to the people who live along the impacted streets.

As for other programs and events, Martin said that baseball, softball and T-ball signups are taking place now in-person and online. Interested families can contact the Mount Sterling Youth League or council’s parks and recreation committee members for more information. Practices likely will start in early April.

The Mount Sterling Community Center will hold a spring bazaar on April 2. Martin said the downtown businesses plan to hold a shop hop the same day.

Squad and fire staffing
The Sterling Joint Ambulance District and the Tri-County Joint Fire District are experiencing staffing shortages, according to council members who attend the districts’ meetings.

Council member Rob Longcoy reported that the ambulance district recently lost a staff member to resignation. Also, a volunteer who has put in many hours covering shifts is out with a broken wrist.

“We’re pretty much brainstorming what we can do to entice people to come work for us and pretty much how to cover those shifts,” he said.

Council member Bill Tilley reported that the fire district is experiencing staffing issues, too.

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