Greenfield to enforce traffic violations at McDonald's; awards announced and housing shortage discussed
Members of Greenfield Village Council are pictured during the March 16 meeting. (Photo by Angela Shepherd)
By Angela Shepherd
Village of Greenfield
Anyone driving through Greenfield on Jefferson Street east of downtown has likely encountered the traffic congestion in front of McDonald’s as cars wait to get in line. It is a matter that came up again at the March 16 village council meeting.
The level of congestion is a safety concern, not just for other cars and trucks which often have to swerve around the waiting vehicles, but other larger vehicles, like school buses, semis, and farm equipment.
On Tuesday, city manager Todd Wilkin reiterated all that has been considered to remedy the jammed traffic in front of the restaurant. He said in speaking with the owners they have discussed several possibilities, but it is just an issue that there isn’t an answer for yet.
Until that answer comes, however, Wilkin announced that from now on Greenfield police will enforce traffic laws in the area, specifically vehicles stopped in the westbound lane of Jefferson Street as they wait to turn right into McDonald’s. Stopping in that manner in a traffic lane is illegal, he said.
In other business, resident Steve Fligor addressed council about the need for housing in the village.
He said Greenfield has “come a long way” in the last few years with tackling crime, jobs availability, a steady middle class, and clearing blighted properties, but there’s still a problem and that is a shortage of housing.
“We are a great place to live,” Fligor said, and people outside the area are figuring that out. But there is just not much housing available.
Wilkin agreed, and said the administration has been working on the housing shortage. Just last week he met with a group of community leaders to begin forming a Community Development Corporation that can spearhead efforts to establish good housing in Greenfield, both through downtown apartments and homes throughout the village.
The endeavor will take time and work and dedication, Wilkin said, but this type of established group within a community has proven time and again to work.
Council chair Phil Clyburn also noted that the recent zoning changes make it easier to build homes on lots, which goes toward helping the housing shortage. Additionally, three blighted houses were demolished last year, and the village is working on more.
Village solicitor Hannah Bivens said the village identified seven more properties that it is currently taking action on.
Bivens also reported that she is working on updating the junk vehicle ordinance to reflect stricter penalties on offenders. This has been a matter the village has been working on for some time as abandoned vehicles parked on streets are an ongoing issue.
In his report, Wilkin said people have voiced concerns over two planned solar fields, one in Fayette County and the other in Ross County. The city manager has been trying to find out as much information as possible, and a meeting scheduled with the Fayette County Commissioners next week should offer some answers. He said he would also continue to investigate the concerns that have been voiced by residents and find the needed answers.
The city manager also reported that Ohio will be receiving approximately $2.2 billion through the newly-passed American Rescue Plan, with Highland County’s share to be about $8.3 million. Wilkin spoke with Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley Tuesday on the matter, but the details of how the money will be distributed and on what it can be spent aren’t yet known. However, Wilkin said top on the priority list for Greenfield is infrastructure, followed by a pedestrian bridge on the west end of Jefferson Street by Highland County Community Action, as well as development at Felson Park.
On other matters, March’s Citizen-of-the-Month Award recipient is Rod Halterman who was recognized for his love of the community, as well as his going “above and beyond” for the police department where he has helped make bunk beds and other items needed there, Wilkin said.
“Without the partnership and care displayed by Mr. Halterman,” Wilkin said, “our jail would not be a possibility. We are so thankful for his consideration and dedication to Greenfield, and specifically, our police department.”
It was Halterman that nominated the village’s very first citizen-of-the-month, which was received last summer by Ryker Stark, a child whose quick action helped get emergency personnel to two people needing immediate medical attention.
Honored as March’s Employee-of-the-Month was Sherry Parker, the village’s administrative assistant and council clerk. She has been recognized for the care she gives to her job and those she works with, for her hard work, and for her willingness to step forward when needed.
“I would be in a state of confusion without her,” Wilkin said.
Wilkin presented his annual report for 2020 at Tuesday’s meeting. In it, he highlighted achievements of the year like the completion of the Mill Street project, demolition of blighted properties, the restoration of the clock tower, a new zoning code, and implementation of employee and citizen recognition awards.
Additionally, the strategies of Greenfield’s Economic Development Plan are highlighted, as well as the areas of focus of the administration, and a vision for the future.
To view the report in its entirety, go to greenfieldohio.net. It can also be found on the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page.
A recently-implemented program that allows people who have been ordered to complete community service to fulfill that obligation in service to the village is already making its mark. Last week community service workers cleaned up around Felson Park clearing brush and picking up trash.
Currently there is firewood available at the park from the brush clearing. It is available to those interested on a first come, first served basis. Other cleared materials will be mulched, Wilkin said, and that mulch will be available soon to those interested.
Community service workers will be working every Thursday to clean up downtown of weeds and trash, maintain the bike path, as well as maintain other public areas needing attention.
If there are suggestions or ideas where community service workers can help, contact Wilkin at the village offices or police chief Jeremiah Oyer at the police department.
Lastly, Wilkin said the village has received complaints about papers piling up outside homes. In the discussion that followed, it was detailed these are free papers and some are just being left where they are thrown. They need to be picked up, as the unwanted papers amassing on properties constitute an eyesore.
For the safety of everyone, the city offices on the third floor remain closed to the public at this time. To reach the office by phone, call 937-981-3500, or reach the following by email: City Manager Todd Wilkin, firstname.lastname@example.org@greenfieldohio.net; and for Building and Permits, cemetery, or council matters, email Sherry Parker at email@example.com. To reach the Water and Sewer Department, call 937-981-2082, email Kathy Patton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenfield Village Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of the city building. The meetings are also live-streamed on the village’s Facebook page. For information and updates, go to greenfieldohio.net or the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page.
March’s Employee-of-the-Month is administrative assistant and council clerk Sherry Parker. She has been recognized for the care she gives to her job and those she works with, for her hard work, and for her willingness to step forward when needed.
March’s Citizen-of-the-Month Award recipient is Rod Halterman, who was recognized for his love of the community, as well as his going above and beyond for the police department where he has helped make bunk beds and other items needed there. “Without the partnership and care displayed by Mr. Halterman,” city manager Todd Wilkin said, “our jail would not be a possibility. We are so thankful for his consideration and dedication to Greenfield and, specifically, our police department.”