The Genoa Township Trustees received an update on the growing county they live in at their meeting on Dec. 7.
Giving the presentation was Delaware County Commissioner Barb Lewis and recently-named County Administrator Mike Frommer.
Lewis noted that the administrator position was filled from within, with three staffers taking on the role. Frommer has the title and handles infrastructure and development; and deputy administrators Dawn Huston (administration, human resources and insurance/risk) and Seiji Kille (management and budget) handling the rest of the duties.
Frommer showed a slide of growth areas within the county, which featured Northstar and the Tanger outlet mall in the east, and the Olentangy Berlin High School and Evans Farm development on the western side of Alum Creek Reservoir. When completed, Northstar was described as an “1,800-acre, master-planned community with 1,300 houses and condos, 400 acres of commercial development, ample green space, two sites for elementary and middle schools.”
Evans Farm was described as a small city, with 2,000 homes and 300,000 square feet of commercial development on its 1,600 acres in Orange and Berlin townships.
Creekside is another development in the pipeline. This 100-acre industrial park will be in Lewis Center behind the Menards, and already has Community Reinvestment Area and Tax-Increment Financing agreements in place.
There were three economic development goals for the county.
“We want to attract investment in our commercial and industrial sectors, which in turn creates well-paying jobs,” Frommer said. “Other goals are to increase the number of shovel-ready locations; and improve business retention since 80 percent of job growth comes from the expansion of existing businesses.”
The county is big on planning, and those plans include a Regional Sewer District Master Plan. This plan looks at 25 years of continued growth in the county and ultimate buildout. The sewer system will need to double by 2045. Frommer said the sewer rates are 60 percent of the state average, and the district has achieved a AAA bond credit rating.
Frommer praised the county engineers for their aggressive approach to road and bridge repair. Among the projects he mentioned were the just-completed widening of Sunbury Road; the Southern Interchange (I-71, south of routes 36/37); the Big Walnut Interchange; Home Road Extension and Delaware city’s “The Point” of 36/37.
There is also a county-wide multi-use trails plan that shows where trails are needed and help local jurisdictions obtain necessary funding.
Another master plan is for Delaware County Facilities. Lewis noted that the new County Courthouse opened Nov. 6, and had a public open house on Dec. 3. She said the nearby historic courthouse will be renovated to house offices for the commissioners, human resources, economic development and Veterans Service Commission.
In addition, the recently-purchased North Campus of the Delaware Area Career Center will be renovated to house the Regional Sewer District, Engineer’s Office, Department of Code Compliance and Sheriff’s Office.
Lewis also mentioned two initiatives the county was active in. The Stepping Up Initiative provides “proper treatment and healing for non-violent offenders with mental health challenges.” By using mental-health courts and closing gaps in assistance and treatment, it “aims to ensure that jail does not become a revolving door for these citizens.”
Lastly, Veterans Court attempts to help veterans in the court system by connecting them with mentors who served in similar conflicts. The statewide initiative was headed in Ohio by former state Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton and locally by Municipal Court Judge Marianne Hemmeter.
“These programs help individuals and families get back on their feet,” Lewis said. “They also benefit taxpayers by reducing long-term expenditures and the community by lowering crime rates.”
After the presentation, Lewis, a former Genoa Trustee herself, noted that the meeting start time of 6:30 p.m. was earlier than when she served.
“You get done sooner,” she said.
“Sometimes,” said trustee Karl Gebhardt, to laughs.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.