A brief agenda Wednesday for the Highland County Board of Commissioners brought with it continued good economic news for the county.
Commission chairman Jeff Duncan said the county continued to be “blessed with increased sales tax revenue.”
He reported that permissive or sale tax figures were $128,951 more than last year, with the county at $211,467 for the year.
“We are off to a good start. Of course, keep in mind that runs two months behind, so those are the actual sales tax receipts for December,” Duncan said.
“That was Christmas money, so everybody must have had a good Christmas,” vice chairman Terry Britton added.
Also Wednesday, Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin shared with commissioners upcoming events planned for the village.
“G3 has planned their February event for the last Saturday of the month,” he said. “They’re calling it Brews and Stews, and they’re inviting everyone to come to Greenfield and enjoy that.”
He said a major undertaking involving both the commissioners and the village that he referred to as “the railroad project,” would begin in early summer and would take roughly one year to complete.
As previously reported, the project will rehabilitate 30 miles of railroad known as the Greenfield Line in Highland and Clinton counties.
The Greenfield Line is owned by the village of Greenfield and operated for freight service by the Indiana and Ohio Railway.
During the project, the Ohio Rail Development Commission will replace approximately 20,000 railroad ties across the line, in addition to installing and tamping ballast and performing grade-crossing surface replacement for the safe and efficient operation of trains over the line.
The Greenfield Line supports approximately 1,800 jobs at Greenfield’s Adient, Leesburg’s Candle-lite, and New Vienna’s Huhtamaki manufacturing plants.
Wilkin added that one additional event is in the planning stages to coincide with the village’s annual Greene Countrie Towne Festival in mid-July.
“A lot of people don’t realize that Greenfield is the home to the only African-American auto manufacturer,” he said.
According to the Greenfield Historical Society, C.R. Patterson and Sons manufactured automobiles in Greenfield from 1915 through 1939.
He said that to honor Patterson’s accomplishments, a rededication of the industrial park was planned, adding Patterson’s name to the existing South-Central Ohio Industrial Park.
“He was one of the pioneers of the community and one of the great entrepreneurs with a strong history,” Wilkin said. “It would be good to recognize the family, and to do so for many years to come.”
As a side note, Wilkin added that Patterson was also the first African-American man to play football for Ohio State University.
In other matters, Duncan said that capital improvement money will be used for improvements at campsites at Rocky Fork State Park.
Britton said the funds were from the last round of funding allocations from the state that were earmarked for expenditure last year, but due to the pandemic, a one-year extension was granted.
“There are campsites at the campground where the Smokin’ in the Hills was held and where KAMP Dovetail is,” Britton said. “We had put in for $50,000 to try to upgrade those campsites since they didn’t have any electric or water on them.”
He said the commissioners were working in partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on the project, which includes 14 campsites.
Britton put forth a motion to accept the proposed bid of $44,989 from Rhodes Electric for electrical work on the campsites, which was later approved by the commissioners.
Duncan said the issue of water leaks in the roof of the Hi-TEC Center seemed to be caused by the increased snow load of the recent winter storms, and that he had been in contact with two contractors concerning the situation.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.