Police in Greenfield will start enforcing traffic laws on Jefferson Street in the McDonald’s area, city manger Todd Wilkin said at Tuesday’s village council meeting.
The level of congestion is a safety concern, Wilkin said, not just for other cars and trucks, which often have to swerve around the waiting vehicles, but larger vehicles like school buses, tractor-trailers and farm equipment.
Wilkin said several remedies have been explored to remedy jammed traffic in front of the restaurant on the village’s main thoroughfare, including several discussions with the owners, but an answer has not yet been developed.
Until that answer comes, Wilkin announced that 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, Greenfield 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 is still a shortage of housing.
Wilkin agreed, saying 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, 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 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 a junk vehicle ordinance to reflect stricter penalties on offenders. This has been a matter the village has worked on for some time because abandoned vehicles parked on streets are an ongoing issue.
In his report to council, Wilkin said people have voiced concerns over two planned solar fields, one in Fayette County and one in Ross County. The city manager said he has been trying to find as much information as possible and a meeting with the Fayette County commissioners next week should offer some answers. He said he would also continue to investigate the concerns and find the needed answers.
Wilkin also reported that Ohio receive 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 on Tuesday about the matter, but details of how the money will be distributed and how it can be spent are not 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 near 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 going “above and beyond” for the police department where he has helped make bunk beds and other needed items, 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.”
Halterman nominated the village’s very first citizen of the month award recipient, which was received last summer by Ryker Stark, a child whose quick action helped get emergency personnel to two people needing immediate medical attention.
March’s Employee of the Month is Sherry Parker, the village administrative assistant and council clerk. She was 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. He highlighted achievements of the year like completion of a Mill Street project, demolition of blighted properties, 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 were 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 new 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 the downtown of weeds and trash and maintain the bike path and 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.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.