A group comprising leaders across Highland County has been formed to address workforce problems that have long plagued the area, it was reported at Tuesday’s Greenfield Village Council meeting.
Calling itself the Highland County Think Tank, the group is working to develop a plan to build sustainable workforce development throughout the county.
The group, according to Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin in his report to council, includes Wilkin, Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha, Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Brianne Abbott, Hillsboro City Schools Guidance Counselor Jessica Rhoads, Highland County Economic Development Director Julie Bolender, Highland County Chamber of Commerce Director Jamie Wheeler, Greenfield Exempted Village Schools Superintendent Quincey Gray, and Southern State Community College’s Nicole Rhoades.
The group met recently with Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) Director Tasha Weery. Wilkin was not present for Tuesday’s meeting, but council chair Phil Clyburn read Wilkin’s report.
The BB2C organization works to build bridges across the gaps between institutions to strengthen the workforce and the opportunities that young people have to draw from when deciding on their career paths. The organization serves the Washington County area, but it also helps other areas set up their own paths to strengthening workforce development.
BB2C recently gave a presentation for local leaders during a Greenfield Industry Roundtable meeting. For more information about how BB2C is driving workforce development, go to its website at bb2careers.org.
In other business Jim Jones and his wife, Liz, spoke to council about their immense gratitude for the support of council and the work of all those who helped make this year’s Daryle Unger & Peanut Memorial Kids Fishing Derby held on June 5 successful.
Jones said this 18th year of the derby was the biggest yet with 340 kids participating. It could not have gone off smoothly without the help of many people, he said, which includes Jim and Candy Cross, who brought the bouncy houses; Bill Roller, who designed the event T-shirts and did caricatures and temporary tattoos for the kids at the event; Archie Barber, who worked hard to help ready the pond for the derby along with members of McClain’s Cadet Corps; the Greenfield Mother’s Club for its continued support; Natalie Miller, who logged eight miles on derby day taking pictures of everything; village employees Rachael Crabtree and Josh Rohrer, who lent a tremendous amount of help; and every business and individual who donated to support not only the derby, but the scholarships given in Unger’s name.
Liz Jones noted that while she has been in Greenfield for some time now, she is not from there. She said what she has always seen in the Greenfield community is it coming together on so many things, and that’s something she has never seen anywhere else she has lived.
“It’s just such a great community and I’m proud to be a part of it,” she said.
While the derby was gone for a couple years, the Joneses spoke about how good it was to have it back and noted that more people than ever approached them and thanked them for making sure it went happened. And it wasn’t just kids’ families extending their thanks, but the kids, too. And, they said, that’s what it is all about — the kids and their families.
Jim Jones said they are hoping to have a pond clean-up day sometime in the near future. There have been pond health issues in recent years, and the matter has been reviewed by a professor at Ohio State University that has identified what needs done. Jones said fixing the pond will not be a matter of chemicals, but a matter of manpower.
Jones will notify council when the day is set.
In other business, guidelines for a Facade Improvement Program for downtown have been established and an application period set through July 9, 2021.
As previously posted on the village’s Facebook page, the program is designed to address COVID-19-related economic impacts and provide relief to small businesses and owners in the Downtown Revitalization area. Business owners interested in finding out more information about the program can download forms from the village website at www.greenfieldohio.net, pick up the brochure and forms on the third floor of the City Hall, or call 937-981-3500.
June’s Employee of the Month Award went to longtime employee Jim Faulkner, who has been with the village since 2005 and works in the wastewater treatment department.
“Jim always serves with a smile and a great attitude,” Wilkin wrote in his report, adding that Faulkner “has a big heart and a great personality that cannot be matched.”
Also recognized at Tuesday’s meeting was Drew Hamilton, a local educator and the one that makes sure council meetings are available for viewing as they happen. Hamilton was the recipient of June’s Citizen of the Month Award.
“He works countless hours volunteering his time, talents and expertise making sure the community of Greenfield is informed,” Wilkin wrote in his report.
The Spring Home Decorating Award was presented to Jerry and Annabell Crouse who live at 804 Blaine St. Members of Grow Greater Greenfield (G3) went around town to all the homes nominated for the award and chose the Crouses’ home.
On a related matter, nominations for the Most Patriotic Home contest are due by June 30. Email them to Sherry Parker at email@example.com or drop off nominations in the suggestion box located in the first-floor lobby of the City Building.
In Wilkin’s report, he said a group of bloggers were present throughout the county over the weekend and began their Highland County visit in Greenfield. They came with Jamie Wheeler of the Highland County Visitors Bureau.
Additionally, the visitor’s bureau is currently holding a contest to find a family to be the face of Highland County. The deadline for the submission of a 30- to 60-second video is June 30 with the winning family will be announced in late July. In September, a video crew will create a short video featuring the family and the family fun there is to be had in Highland County. Go to the Visitors Bureau of Highland County Facebook page for more information.
Greenfield Law Director Hannah Bivens announced in her report that two properties, one at 437 McClain Ave. and the other at 510 McKell Ave., will be up for bid in a public auction on July 31. The properties were forfeited to the court through drug-related cases. Bivens said money from the sales will go to the police department and the county’s drug task force to help them continue to pursue drug-related crimes.
Two other houses that have been awaiting demolition for some time, one located on North Street and the other on Olive Street, will be one step closer to resolution after Bivens files the necessary paperwork with the courts this week. Both properties are currently in receivership with the Greenfield Community Improvement Corporation. Following the filing of the paperwork, the court will have to approve the plans for the properties before demolition can be accomplished.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.