State of city: Last year’s progress, this year’s plans

(Posted Jan. 31, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

On Jan. 18, London Mayor Patrick Closser gave his state of the city address, covering a wide range of topics, sharing progress made in 2023 and plans for 2024.

The following covers Closser’s reports on building and zoning, streets, the police department, the fire/EMS department, and parks and recreation. A future article will cover his reports on water, wastewater, sanitation, and the city’s transition to joining the Mid-Ohio Water & Sewer District.

Building and Zoning
“2023 was a busy year for our building and zoning department, despite rising interest rates,” Closser said.

The department issued 539 permits, of which 58 were for dwellings, 144 were for commercial permits, and two were for multi-family buildings. These numbers mark a 50 percent increase in total permits and a 65 percent increase in residential permits over 2022.

“The amount of dwelling permits is great, and I anticipate that number rising over the next two years with the Brooksedge expansion, Pulte project, apartment, condo, and townhouse builds,” Closser said. “We have come so far from having only one residential permit in 2015 to averaging about 40 per year over the past four years.”

Street Department
Repairs were the name of the game for the street department last year. The crew installed storm sewer in the Marimont Road and Graceland Avenue area, paved streets in the Sheffield Boulevard and Oxley Drive area, and helped with sewer repairs on Second Street and McNeal Court, along with replacing several fire hydrants.

The to-do list for this year includes: storm sewer repairs on Lincoln Avenue, Center Street, and Olive Street; repairs to the water main on North Main Street; more street repairs using a micro seal process; and more work on the storm water system throughout the city.

Police Department
Closser reported that the police department increased its traffic enforcement efforts in 2023, resulting in a decrease in crashes and an increase in enforcement of instances of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI). The latter number increased by 50 percent over the previous year, exceeding the department’s goal of a 10 percent increase.

This year, the department will continue to pursue funding to develop a modern police facility. Last year, Congressman Mike Carey notified the city of $5 million in potential funding to put toward that goal. Closser said the city is “currently awaiting final approval (of that funding) through the federal budget.”

The police department also plans to develop a chaplaincy program, implement a new K-9 unit, increase community outreach, and look for ways to increase efficiencies and modernization in its dispatch and communication operations.

Fire/EMS Department
Last year, the fire department took delivery of a new fire engine, secured federal funding for vehicle exhaust removal systems at both stations, and participated in a county-wide hazardous materials drill, along with other training.

This year, the department plans to reinstate its child car seat installation program, implement a Red Cross smoke alarm installation program, develop bike helmet safety and community outreach programs, develop more scenario-based joint training drills with other local agencies, and establish a drug take-back and disposal program.

Parks and Recreation
About the parks and recreation department’s work in 2023, Closser said, “They worked hard to resurface and paint the pools, as well as replaced the outdated filtration system for the pool. (They) also created a sand volleyball league and added additional playground equipment at Merri Mac Park.”

The to-do list for 2024 includes: installation of pickleball courts at Cowling Park, continued revitalization of the ball diamonds at Merri Mac Park with adult softball returning, continued improvements at the pool, revitalization of the horseshoe pits at Cowling Park, and improvements to youth sports programs.

Previous articleHix appointed to Mt. Sterling council seat
Next articleSplash pad groundbreaking planned for April

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.