The Bucyrus Bicentennial Celebration is just five years away and it’s not too early to begin planning for this important event. I ask this question, “What do we want our community to look like in five years?” I would like to begin by saying that we have much to be proud of in Bucyrus. Our downtown is one of the best around having preserved much of our historic district especially in the last generation. We have opened a new park (Millennium) and are about to complete another City park in 2017. Our downtown is clean and attractive. Washington Square is a jewel and our City is joined by a dedicated group of volunteers in keeping it beautiful.
I would like to present areas that we need to improve beginning with our parks. Since I have been Mayor I have been amazed by how good our parks look without any funding beyond general maintenance. The City has planted very few trees and currently we have nearly forty dead trees that need to be cut down and stumps removed. We then need to plant at least forty trees to take the place of the dead trees. Aumiller, Harmon and Lions Park are all on a path to be treeless simply because we haven’t kept pace with tree replacement. We must reverse this trend.
I would also like to propose new improvements at Aumiller Park. Let’s add a Splash Park to the pool as most communities have done in the last ten years. The pool also needs an attractive slide. Parking lots need to be finished with asphalt. I propose that we add another closed shelter for rentals. The tennis courts are in disrepair and need to be replaced.
Harmon Park also has many dead trees and stumps. The parking area needs asphalt. I would like to see a new bike/walking loop around the perimeter of the park with exercise stations at intervals.
The river bank is in rough shape and needs to be cleaned up. We also have plans for the area just across the river. A “friendship style” bridge would unite both sides.
I would also like to propose a new park--Bicentennial Park--just north of the bridge on Sandusky Avenue. This is a blighted, poorly maintained area but one with potential. I see a beautiful green space--a lead in to our new bike bath and to Harmon Park. The park would be dedicated to the founders of Bucyrus with a monument as well as bronze plaques to the most influential Bucyrians of our first 200 years.
North Side Improvements
Pickwick Place and Crossroads has brought excitement to the North entrance to Bucyrus. We are planning new traffic signals at the Irving/Sandusky intersection as well as new signage. But North Sandusky Avenue needs more attention. The City has a beautiful appearance as you crest the hospital hill heading south. Now we need to address our appearance from the hospital to the City limits.
Plymouth Street improvement will begin in 2017. I would like to see Plymouth Street as a model street for future City streets and we plan to make sure that this residential street will have a beautiful tree canopy for years to come.
We have proposed a bike path for two years and it’s time to commit to this worthwhile project. If we want to make Bucyrus attractive to young families we need to not only have great parks, schools and shopping, we also need to have other amenities. I firmly believe that the establishment of a bike path through Bucyrus and beyond is one of the most important projects of this generation--preparing us for future growth. I envision a path following from Aumiller Park along the river traversing to Lowe Volk Park. It is possible to connect the entire county in the near future.
Tree City USA
Bucyrus needs Tree City USA certification which allows us, for a nominal fee, to develop a plan to plant new trees. We have lost hundreds of trees in the last fifty years and have planted few new trees. We are heading towards a treeless City unless we reverse course. I propose that we plant 200 new trees in the City in the next five years in honor of our bicentennial celebration. Tree City USA affiliation requires input from City residents and we could easily double our tree plantings by matching plantings from our residents. Just $2 per resident allows us to develop a plan to showcase our City with beautiful trees.
Let’s complete our downtown by adding arches in honor of our 200th birthday. Charles and Mary Street are the bookends for our historic district and iron arches would be a beautiful addition to our downtown. I would like to see “Bucyrus founded 1821” on the arches.
2017--Complete Art Park, begin Plymouth Street improvements. Plant 40 trees.
2018--Pool improvement begin. Complete Plymouth Street plan. Plant 40 trees. Bike Path planning.
2019--North Sandusky Avenue project begins, Bike Path construction begins. Plant 40 trees.
2020--Bike Path continues, Bicentennial Park begins. Plant 40 trees.
2021--Complete bike path, Bicentennial Park opens. Plant 40 trees. Bicentennial Arches erected. Let’s celebrate--Bucyrus is 200 years young!
Of course, all of these improvements in the City require funding. Current taxpayers are sacrificing by paying for our new water treatment plant as well as our EPA storm separation improvements. They deserve to have good parks and amenities and it’s time that we begin funding our parks. We are the only community in our area that does not have a parks improvement budget. This is needed to make our town attractive for young families. We must stop our population decline and I believe that this plan is a strong start and I ask that you approve funding for the Bicentennial Plan.
To achieve the goals in the Bicentennial Plan requires a commitment of approximately $200,000.00 per year by the City. I am requesting that this amount be put in next year’s budget and for the four subsequent years as we move Bucyrus forward, preparing our City for future growth. The Bicentennial Beautification Plan is aggressive but achievable plan requiring cooperation from the City, private sources, foundations and state grants--but the City must take the first step and I ask that you join with me in supporting this vision for a better Bucyrus.
What Qualities should the Mayor of Bucyrus Possess?
It is my honor to offer you my endorsement and support in your election campaign for mayor of Bucyrus! Your leadership and commitment to your community is second to none, and your service to Bucyrus as mayor has made a real difference for the families and taxpayers you represent!
Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio’s 4th District
Being mayor is a tough job with many challenges. I am impressed by your ability to work together and build consensus, both within the community and across Crawford County. You approach every situation with a positive attitude and a can-do spirit, and people greatly appreciate that.
Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio’s 4th District
Thursday, September 24th was a historic day for the City of Bucyrus. I met with Ohio State Treasurer, Josh Mandel for a press conference announcing that our city's finances are now open and on-line ready for your inspection. I believe in government transparency. Your tax dollars are hard earned and you have every right to see where your money is spent. I am proud to have led the effort to open our books for your inspection. Thanks to City Auditor, Joyce Schifer, for her hard work and dedication to this monumental effort.
On the same day, I signed another historic agreement with the US EPA that put our city on a path to comply with federal clean water regulations. These negotiations have been on and off for fifteen years and the city risked criminal and civil penalties in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's a good agreement for the city and our residents who now can rest assured that we will do our part in making our waterways clean and safe. Thanks to the unanimous support of our City Council and the leadership of Tina Wolff from our engineering advisors, ARCADIS.
It's been a busy time for me and I assure you that Bucyrus is moving in the right direction! I am proud to be your mayor.