Its 2018! Sunbury continues to be a great place to live and raise a family. We are living in exciting times in the Village and 2018 is sure to be another great year.
I would first like to say Thank You to our four council members who are either newly elected or signing up for another term. Martin Fisher, Joe St John, Dave Martin, and Scott Weatherby.
Our form of government in the Village of Sunbury is the most basic and pure type of local democracy. It takes individuals with an interest in their community to volunteer their time and effort. I would like to say Thank you to the people that just went through the election process and the sacrifice you will make to provide oversight and leadership for the Village of Sunbury.
I also want to say Thank you to Len Weatherby and Tim Gose for their continued service. We are blessed to live in a great community. We have something special in Sunbury, something to be proud of.
As our slogan says “Small Town, Big Ideas, a perfect balance. Sunbury is just that. I think you have to add the extra special ingredient, all of the residents of our Village. The people are what truly make our community special. Sunbury still feels like a small town. We have a sense of community, belongingness, and pride. These are values that are instilled in our village.
2018 will be an exciting year for the Village. Every aspect of our business will be growing and changing. While it will be exciting, it will continue to take planning and work to maintain our Small Town feel and Perfect Balance.
In 2018 The Village of Sunbury has opportunities on all Fronts:
1. Development will continue to be a big opportunity for Sunbury. As Sunbury Point nears its completion of 148 new residential units, and the Kroger plaza out lots sell out, and Sunbury Meadows is on a fast track to complete ahead of schedule. Sunbury has seen a record year in new residential properties with the last count at 96. 2018 is poised to be even bigger.
a. Sunbury is excited about the 2 newest residential developments as they complete the final Zoning and look to break ground in 2018. This will include new diverse options for housing, a new Big Walnut Future Elementary School Site, and 19 acres of wooded parkland unmatched anywhere in central Ohio.
b. The interchange at 71. ODOT recently announced that the new interchange at 71 and Sunbury Parkway has been approved for Tier 1 and $10M in funds to construct the $162 Million Multi Phase construction project. This project will be unlike no other in central Ohio. The project will be funded almost exclusively through development. This is a partnership between ODOT, Northgate Development, and the Village of Sunbury. This is exciting because it is new development, with a plan to pay for the infrastructure and impact the development brings to the community. The Northgate development includes the forethought and vision to include infrastructure to support the development in advance. This is the combination of over 10 years of planning and work.
2. Capital Improvements within the Village. The current and previous councils have been focused with keeping the village budget under control and planning for improvements within the Village. 2018 will be a year where there is a focus on implementing the plans. Sunbury is in good financial position because of this planning and will be able to move forward in 2018.
These plans include:
a. The additional parking at Columbus and Cherry street.
b. The unground reservoirs and the removal of the old water plant. This will lay the groundwork to enable the village to migrate the upground reservoirs from a water source to a park feature the entire village will be able to enjoy.
I. Implementation of the emergency action plan to comply with the ODNR recommendations for the upground reservoirs.
c. Town hall. The village will pursue some individual maintenance and repair items to the town hall. We want to maintain the crown jewel that is the Village of Sunbury.
3. Future Planning: Sunbury has already crossed the number of residents to take the Village of Sunbury to a City. While this will not officially happen until 2020, Sunbury will embark on a process to write its own future in the form of a charter commission. While this was delayed last year to meet the appropriate timeline for the Village, we will work to form the Charter Commission in 2018.
Just 2 years after celebrating our Bicentennial, Sunbury will be writing its future as a city.
4. This continued growth will require the Village to focus administratively on our resources. We will continue to plan and grow our resources in the Village.
a. 2017 was a year of transition in our police department. Chief Howard has continued to work with his team to make improvements and implement his plans. I will be working with Chief Howard to keep our police force moving and growing in the right direction. We will always keep the Villages safety and protection our first priority.
b. Village Services: (Waste water and Streets) We have continued to reinvest in our resources. The Village completed major improvements at the wastewater plant that have us poised to service the future developments of the village.
Our plant remains healthy and with substantial available capacity. The same is true in the street department. We have continued to add resources that enable our employees to meet the needs of the Village. I appreciate the hard work and leadership that Dale Wampler and Brad Gerwig bring to their departments.
While Small Town is a description of size, in Sunbury it’s more of a feeling. While we recognize we can’t keep people from moving to the area, nor would we want too, we can work to maintain the feeling of what Sunbury represents. We will do this through a focus on services that we provide and the partnerships that we make. We will always look at how we do business and how we can better serve our customers.
Big Ideas: There is no shortage of BIG IDEAs in Sunbury. Sunbury continues to be presented with challenges or opportunities. While some could see the growth in Sunbury as a problem, we see it as an opportunity. Bigger is not always better, but growth is healthy.
For Sunbury to continue to be healthy and thriving, we have to have responsible growth. Our BIG IDEAS include smart planned growth. Growth that does not cause problems for existing community members, schools, police, and fire. Our growth has to come with a plan to help pay for the infrastructure and support that is needed to support that growth.
It also comes with working with our partners like Delaware County. How can we work together to provide services for residents of Sunbury while not being a duplication of resources. Sunbury believes we can partner with our school to look for alternative funding that helps support that growth. Sunbury is working very hard to make sure that all new development helps fund the schools. Sunbury believes we can work with the state and the county to plan for our roads, sewer, police and fire. We think we can work to improve our resources without duplication and overlap, making it more affordable.
Perfect Balance: This is where the real challenge is. How do we grow and still maintain all that we love. We believe you do that by celebrating what is so special and not forgetting where we have come from.
Understanding what makes Sunbury great. The community. The schools. The People. The civic organizations. The churches. The Business. The affordability. Our heritage. The square. The old and the new.
We have to always be planning. We have to integrate how we protect the old and still attract the new. There is nothing magical that will make this happen. It requires work, planning, and a willingness to look at new ideas.
Sunbury enters 2018 with a strong team, the planning and resources to take us into the future and maintain the great community we know as Sunbury.
Tommy Hatfield is Mayor of Sunbury.