The Greenfield Police Department was highlighted in the city manager’s report to the village council this week, not only because of a commendation received from the county prosecutor’s office, but also due to the nature of the job and what officers deal with daily.
City Manager Todd Wilkin spoke about an email from Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins wherein she recognized the “hard work and dedication” of the GPD, calling attention to the amount of cases it deals with, especially for the size of the department.
According to Wilkin, as Collins commended the village’s police department, she also wrote “… you don’t know how awesome it truly is the work that you and your officers are doing for the citizens of Greenfield. Please know that even if no one else notices, we at the prosecutor’s office have taken notice and are proud to work with you all.”
“Our police department has been working hard for our community,” Wilkin said. “I recognize their efforts because I … work closely with them, but a lot of times the general public doesn’t understand everything they are working on. For example, in a day they might deal with an OVI, disorderly conduct, theft, drug bust, or a crash, and in every interaction they maintain their professionalism and ensure the community is safe.”
Wilkin went on to name a couple department statistics from the most recent monthly report. One was that the value of stolen property so far this in the village year is valued at $59,861 versus $145,565 by this time last year. The other was that for housing inmates from other agencies in Greenfield’s jail, the village last month received $16,120, and to date this year has received $42,715.
The city manager noted that often when reading news articles, people may recognize Greenfield people having been arrested and the readers may think negative things about the village, like Greenfield must have a lot of criminals because of the prevalence of local people being arrested. However, Wilkin said, “Greenfield is a great community filled with great people and has a tremendous police department.
“If the chief and his department were not actively pursuing criminals and criminal activity, you wouldn’t read about Greenfield men and women being arrested,” Wilkin said. “I am proud of our department and will continue to provide it with the support it deserves.”
Wilkin also reported on a recent rural development forum he attended. At the forum, he said he heard success stories from communities comparable in size to Greenfield — not success stories of large metropolitan areas, but places like Greenfield.
That brought Wilkin to share his thoughts on economic development as he believes “there is some misconception out there on what economic development work is.”
As defined by the International Economic Development Council, “Economic development is a program, group of policies, or activity that seeks to improve economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs that facilitate growth and provide a stable tax base,” he said. And while it may not be easy to define or accomplish, economic development consists of attracting businesses, retaining and expanding businesses, and creating businesses.
Wilkin used the example of Greenfield Products and its recently-announced expansion that increases its full-time employees from 43 to 67. The expansion was made possible by hard work throughout the company’s structure, Wilkin said, and because of relationships established, which led to the APEG’s (Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth) involvement and a $30,000 grant that facilitated the expansion.
“Many times economic growth doesn’t just happen, it takes hard work and a lot of energy,” Wilkin said. “I love spending time with our local industrial leaders and hope to spend more time with them creating an atmosphere that will promote more opportunities for expansion and growth.”
On another matter, the city manager said further progress on the Mill Street project — which includes the improvement of the water and sewer infrastructure, new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and creating an entrance to the industrial park at the end of Mill Street — will be delayed due to Vectren wanting to replace the gas lines that run through the middle of the street. The new gas lines will be placed in green space to the side of the street.
The street will be made stable for the duration of the winter months, then the project will resume in the early spring.
In other business, Wilkin thanked John Hilliard for his more than 43 years of service to the village. He retired last month as operator at the water treatment plant.
Hilliard was replaced by Tim Beach, who obtained his operator license earlier this year.
Grow Greater Greenfield (G3), will purchase a Christmas tree to place in the courtyard at the City Building, Wilkin said. The group will also be decorating the tree, the City Building, and flower pots in the downtown area. It hopes to be completed with the decorations before Thanksgiving.
Wilkin suggested a tree-lighting event sometime around Thanksgiving, or even in conjunction with the Eagles’ annual Christmas parade, which is set for Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. He said the administration is looking for ideas and suggestions and has already reached out to the school to see if the show or symphonic choirs would be available to sing Christmas carols during the event.
Leaf pickup is scheduled to begin on Nov. 12. The service is beginning later than normal because there are still so many leaves yet to fall. The pickup will begin in the northwest part of the village and then continue throughout town.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.