The heart of the Greenfield community has been evident with recent events.
The needed renovation of the clock tower was one of the things that Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin touched on in his report to council at Tuesday’s meeting. That the renovation of the iconic City Building structure is funded is a testament to Greenfield’s citizens and their love for the community, he said.
The Greenfield Foundation, comprised of a group of local citizens, approached the village about the foundation donating $10,000 toward the renovation of the clock tower. A local family has also indicated it would like to help financially with the project. In addition to that, a longtime tax that expired last year which was solely for City Building maintenance has a balance of about $20,000. That money can only be used on the City Building.
The village is hoping to be able to coordinate the clock tower renovation with a new roof project, which is slated to begin in the next two to three weeks, weather permitting. The City Building’s roof has been in need of replacement, and last year council approved legislation to get that done. Skyline Roofing will do the work, Wilkin said, but that doesn’t include the clock tower. A $13,000 quote for the clock tower came from a company that only does that sort of work. That number does not include the $6,000 fee for a lift to reach the structure. It also does not include the painting and shingles on the structure, but the administration is working on getting those numbers.
He said the outpouring of support since McClain senior Madison Bell disappeared on Sunday, May 17 runs along the same vein.
Wilkin has been out every day in searches for Bell that have been going on since Sunday evening.
“To see all those people,” out there to help — the hundreds of people that have turned out to search on foot, in vehicles, on four-wheelers, and even on horseback — “that’s the Greenfield community,” he said. “It just paints the picture of how we feel about our youth, about our community.”
Wilkin thanked Rescue 101 and its efforts in leading the daily searches, the community for its time and efforts in the search and donations to make sure searchers are fed and hydrated, the Greenfield Police Department, and all the law enforcement agencies involved for coming together to help find Bell.
As Tuesday’s meeting began, council member Mark Branham, on behalf of Bell’s family, thanked the community for the outpouring of love and every kind of support that has gone into the search for Bell.
In other matters, a village-organized cruise-in to honor the 2020 graduates starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 21. Seniors participating are to be at the Community Action (old Shopko/Pamida) parking lot no later than 5:50 p.m. The procession will begin at 6 p.m. with WVNU announcing seniors over the airwaves. Those participating are not to exit their vehicles at any time. All of the information for the event is available on the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page.
Wilkin said the village is excited about the event. “Who knows, maybe it’s a new tradition,” he said.
On the matter of finances, the village has been projecting a 20-percent decrease in revenue due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Greenfield’s current steady financial position can be attributed to last year’s carryover of nearly $300,000.
Council member Eric Borsini discussed the village’s halting non-essential expenditures until a more informed decision can be made after the July 15 tax deadline. But he also touched on an essential need, that of sewer system inflow and infiltration (I & I).
A study from earlier in the year confirmed the village has an incredible issue with I & I. In a normal day, approximately 400,000 gallons of water are pumped out to the village, but about 1.1 million gallons are being treated. So even during a normal day, there are I & I issues. These issues are compounded during a rain event, and the amount of water getting treated typically rises to around 1.6 million gallons.
Borsini reported that the village will be meeting with Stantec Consulting Services to determine what area to tackle next in remedying the problem. If the situation is not dealt with, the EPA will force Greenfield to increase the capacity of its system, which would result in an increase in water and sewer bills.
On the matter of non-essential expenditures being on hold, Wilkin noted that decisions on paving will have to wait until after the July 15 tax deadline. While paving was a part of the this year’s budget, everything has been upended with the arrival of the new coronavirus and the subsequent crippled economy.
Wilkin also discussed the village’s decision to cancel the summer youth baseball and softball leagues. He said that not enough kids were being signed up. Additionally, the guidelines for such activities — like no spitting, no sunflower seed chewing, no gum, social distancing, and masks to be worn by players — were just not feasible for the one village-appointed person to monitor. He said if a group of community members were willing to run the youth leagues, they could. The village would mow the park, provide the insurance, and open the restrooms.
It was noted that there is the opportunity for those wanting to play to combine with other leagues in neighboring areas that have also fallen short on their numbers.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.