Archive for Community Issues – Page 2

Mariemont’s Fire Truck

Mariemont’s Fire Truck: An Awesome Piece of Equipment (I would encourage readers to read the comments by former Assistant Fire Chief Tim Feichtner)

New Mairemont Fire Truck BullThe new fire truck is a firefighter’s dream. This type of fire truck is called a ‘quint’ reflecting four capabilities that include an aerial ladder, pumping capabilities, a tank for water and storage of ground ladders and tools.

The span of the aerial ladder is 107 feet with a 750 pound tip load that easily accommodates the weight of both the firefighters and rescued victims. The truck has a 400 gallon water tank and can pump 1500 gallons of water per minute.

The vehicle accommodates six firefighters and a 1000 foot large diameter supply hose and many smaller hoses. Its state of the art toolbox includes the extricating ‘jaws of life’ that can cut through metal and other barriers to remove trapped accident victims.

What puzzles me is whether Mariemont really needs a $750,000 fire truck with a 107 foot ladder as opposed to a standard fire truck that costs roughly half as much when you already have fire departments with two ladder trucks within a radius of 3.2 miles. Additionally, virtually all dwellings within the Village of Mariemont are two stories and the few that are over two stories have sprinkler systems that meet code. Furthermore, due to the risks of collapse, firefighters no longer climb out onto roofs.

I know it is comforting to have a fire department with a superior ISO rating of 2, but is this really necessary? Most insurance companies do not base their rates on ISO ratings. Moreover,  Terrace Park residents feel quite safe with an all volunteer fire department (24 volunteers) that annually costs between $130,000 and $150,000 per year to maintain versus Mariemont’s cost of $821,187 in 2013 (exclusive of the $254,000 installment for the fire truck).

 

New Mariemont Fire Truck 2

Jay Andress on the Wasson Way Bicycle Trail Project

Update from Jay Andress, director of the Wasson Way Bicycle Trail Project

The Wasson Way wants to connect to the Little Miami Scenic Trail through the Little Miami River Valley, away from traffic and congestion. We also want numerous connections to Mariemont so that the residents will have great access to both the Little Miami Trail if they go north and to Cincinnat’si Armleder Park, Lunken, Wasson Way and the ORW if they go south. The benefits to Mariemont from this wonderful network of trails….for biking, running, walking and just exploring the Little Miami River area will become a major highlight of Mariemont.

Our goal is to make this network of trails one of the best in America. The Wasson Way will be beautiful at the same time it is very useful for many City residents. The ORW will be amazing as commuters use it to reach downtown along a trail with Ohio River views.  The Little Miami Trail is already a great asset. While connections between the Wasson Way and the Little Miami Trail might temporarily be along other routes, the goal of the WW Organization is to make this world class.

Besides creating a great trail we want to improve safety. One of my friends has suffered permanent brain injury because of a near fatal bike accident on Wooster Pike in Mariemont seven years ago. Unless we get bikers from Mariemont and everywhere else off Wooster Pike it is inevitable that it will happen to someone else.

We really appreciate the support we have received from Mariemont. Our plan is to host a community meeting in Mariemont this spring to get citizen input. I apologize that we have not been more involved in Mariemont, but our first and primary goal has been to get the City to buy the right-of-way from Norfolk Southern, because without that the whole project fails.

Look forward to seeing you again soon in Mariemont.

James Biro, Director of Operations at Kellogg

James Brio, a local resident and Operations manager of the local Keebler/Kellogg plant, will provide a perspective on industry and education at the Kiwanis meeting on Tuesday 2/10.  Whether or not Kellogg remains in Mariemont is open to discussion, as we suggest that you read the following article that was in the Business Courier.

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News on Keebler/Kellogg in the Business Courier: April 25th

Summary: Tax breaks woo Keebler in NKY 

Avure Technologies Inc. and the Keebler Company each submitted project proposals for tax incentives to the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority and were approved on Thursday. Keebler Co. was approved to receive $2 million in tax incentives from KEDFA to purchase new equipment and add manufacturing lines at its Florence facility. The snack food manufacturer, which is owned by Kellogg, plans to invest about $19.2 million in the project as part of its corporate four-year global growth and efficiency program. It is expected to add 75 jobs in the next 10 years. For full text click go to http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2014/04/25/tax-breaks-woo-keebler-avure-to-grow-in-nky.html

In the Mayor’s April Bulletin 2014, the Mayor says that “despite absurd rumors to the contrary, the Kellogg Snack Division in Mariemont is still going strong. When plant manager and village resident James Biro took over operations at the plant, there were approximately 450 employees at the Mariemont location. Mr. Biro raised that number to 560 workers. The company is laying off about 50 employees, but that leaves more than 500 working at the plant, which is more than were there when Mr. Biro took over the operation of the plant. Kellogg’s has a contract with their union employees that run through 2017, so the rumors of total shutdown of the plant at the end of this year are incorrect.

The Business Courier article hinted that Kellogg plans to consolidate its local operations into the Florence facility. If this were to occur, the loss in payroll tax revenues for the Village of Mariemont would be considerable. ($600,000 or about 18% of Mariemont’s budget)

What if the Village had a budget surplus?

If the Village of Mariemont had a reliable budget surplus of $500,000 per year, what suggestions might you have to improve the community with this money? Here are some ideas received from Village residents.

  1. Hire a Village Administrator?
  2. Increase the salary of the Council and Mayor?
  3. Put up more stop signs
  4. Contract with a professional tree management consultant?
  5. Development the South 80 into a recreational playground?
  6. Consider definitive proposals to solve Mariemont’s chronic parking problem?
  7. Greater support for the social organizations within the community?
  8. Consider a community center and renovation of the Municipal Building?
  9. Move the tennis courts to permit business development?
  10. Institute a plan to rejuvenate the historic district?
  11. Retain backyard collection of recyclables?
  12. Spruce up Dogwood Park with fountains, bleachers, parking lot?
  13. Further economic development around the Square?
  14. Cut taxes

What would you like to see happen?

The Gladstone Community Religious group

The Gladstone Community began 7 years ago as a small group of young men who living in an apartment together in Mariemont. We were all part of a Bible study and were challenged that we wanted to really live our Christian faith as fully as we could. We committed to study, to prayer and to challenge and encourage one another to go deeper and further in our faith.

As time went on, dozens of men and women joined us. As we grew in numbers of persons, we (by necessity) grew in numbers of properties. We began to share all our resources together. Our hope was that by doing this and choosing to live in a simpler way personally, that we could maximize the effect of our resources in the service of our faith. We were very encouraged by the Book of Acts and the very first Christians who did a very similar thing:
All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47, and All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Acts 4:32-35.
When the Gladstone Community began we were still attending a congregation in Loveland, but 2010 we were blessed by the church leadership to become a church fellowship all our own, with our own leadership. To this day we share a relationship with that congregation, as well as many others–particularly Mariemont Community Church, where we minister together, often worship together, and most importantly have deep personal friendships. Leadership is shared by many in the community. There is a team of treasurers who care for the finances. There is a team of pastors who care for spiritual needs. There are teams for hospitality and practical needs as well.
Much of our time, resources and energy goes into helping young men and women out of drug addiction (particularly heroin addiction), orphan-care around the world, and support for the suffering Church. We believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer the world is looking for, but we realize that for the words to be believed people must first see in our lives it’s truth. We partner with a variety of ministries that help us to do this work, such as Back2Back Ministries, Teen Challenge Cincinnati, Voice of the Martyrs to name a few. We also work hard to revitalize the neighborhood we live in. As we purchase houses we seek to landscape, paint, repair and remodel.
We have two meetings a week. One on Thursday nights (7:00pm) at the Mariemont Church Parish Center. In January of 2013 we began to study straight through the Bible. We have a teaching at 7:00pm, followed by worship music and then we break into small groups and discuss what we have just studied. We offer a meal at 6:30pm and free childcare each night in the Preschool rooms.On Sunday mornings we meet at the Mariemont Chapel at 9:00am for a time of worship. At this meeting members of the congregation share testimonies, encouragements, poems, songs, and short exhortations as we worship the Lord together. Both meetings are open and anyone is welcome.

Is the old Mariemont Steam Plant finally coming down?

Is the old Mariemont Steam Plant finally coming down?

At the Mariemont  Village Council meeting on Monday, October 27th, Michael Heines, a developer from JAE Capital, indicated they had purchased and plan to tear down the old Steam Power Plant and convert a part of the approximately three acres into condos. These 18 condos would range in size between 1500 and 1800 square feet and sell for between $300,000 and $450,000 dollars.

In this preliminary ‘Concept Plan’, Mr. Heines assured the Council that the development would not disrupt the toe of the hill coming down from Mt. Vernon Ave and, in fact, the landfill to bring the elevations up above the 100 year flood plan might give added support to the hillside.

He went on to say that the majority of the hillside would be donated back to the Village of Mariemont to add to the bird sanctuary and,if all goes ahead as planned, the land would be ready for builders sometime in August or September of next year.

Many questions remain along with various regulatory hurdles:

  1.  Will the new condos be accessed by Miami Run in Columbia Township that is private property and how will the Village provide services to any new owners?
  2.  It would seem prudent for the Village to do a due diligence study of the property before accepting any land to avoid any potential liability for this historically unstable hillside area.
  3.  What happens to the network of steam pipes that remain and will pest control experts be utilized?

We all hope that the hazardous and ugly old Steam Plant becomes history and that JAE Capital can be successful where other developers have not been at this site in the past.

Mariemont Steam Plant Main Floor

South 80 Advisory Board Minutes

South 80 Trails, Gardens, and Park Advisory Board

October 14, 2014 Meeting Notes
Meeting time and place: 7:00 – 8:00 pm, Village Council Chambers
Attendees: Mark Erhardt, Andrew Seeger, Doug Welsh, Joe Stelzer, Karen Sullivan, Tim Duever
Absent:Rob Winget, Jason Brownknight, Chris White, Debbie Henderson, Mark Glassmeyer

Meeting Notes:

We started the meeting with an update from Doug Welsh on the highly successful year in the gardens.  The well continues to be in good working order and has been a great addition to the gardens.  Doug stated that the well does not need any specific maintenance for the winter.

Based on the growth in the number of new gardeners in 2014, we are anticipating that we may need to expand in 2015.  As per our September meeting, the Board recommends that the farmed field area directly south of the gardens would work best for expansion if needed.  The Advisory Board will review demand for garden plots in the spring of 2015 and make a recommendation to the Village if expansion is needed.  Doug commented that some of the most devoted gardeners were residents of Fairfax.  The Board believes that continuing to allow individuals outside of the Village to have plots is a good policy, subject to the 10% of total plots guideline that was established this year.

There are still a handful of garden plots that were unattended in 2014 and need to be cleared.  The Board determined that it might make sense to schedule a late Fall/early Winter clean up day in November or December.

Andrew Seeger provided an update on the Mariemont Junior High School hosted cross- country meet held on September 16, 2014.  An estimated 120 racers participated and the event was yet another example of how the South 80 serves a variety of needs in the community.

The Board continued to discuss the possibility of expanded walking trails on the Little Miami Incorporated property to the west of the South 80.  Joe Stelzer discussed this with Chief Hines and the Chief is talking to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department on the best way to allow Mariemont Police to have authority to patrol the area.  As discussed at the Board’s September meeting, there is mutual concern regarding off-road vehicles and other unapproved activities occurring on both properties.  The current thought process is that the installation of a gate on the path over Whiskey Creek to restrict access between the South 80 and the adjacent property is needed.  The goal would be to make it difficult to access the area and discourage off-road vehicle use on both properties.  The gate would have a lock that would allow for authorized access from Village Maintenance, Fire & Rescue, Police and the utility company.  The gate would be positioned in such a way to allow for pedestrian access around it.  A second meeting with representatives from Little Miami Incorporated will be scheduled as needed to move these items forward.

The Board is reaching its first anniversary and Board Chairman Mark Erhardt asked Doug Welsh for recommendations of gardeners who might have interest in joining the South 80 Advisory Board to add additional gardens representation to the Board and to replace Board members who may no longer have interest in serving.  Doug agreed to provide suggestions at our November meeting.

The meeting concluded at 8:10pm.

 

South 80 Trails, Gardens, and Park Advisory Board

September 10, 2014 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes:

The meeting was held in the gardens.  The well is in good working order and the gardens are in great shape.

Joe Stelzer provided an update on the meeting with a representative from Little Miami Incorporated, which owns the property to the west of the South 80.  Jason Brownknight attended the meeting as well.  There is mutual concern regarding off-road vehicles and other unapproved activities occurring on both properties.  The first item discussed is a gate on the path over Whiskey Creek to restrict access between the South 80 and the adjacent property.  The goal would be to make it difficult to access the area and discourage off-road vehicle use on both properties.  The gate would have a lock that would allow for authorized access from Village Maintenance, Fire & Rescue, Police and the utility company.  The gate would be positioned in such a way to allow for pedestrian access around it.  The second item with Little Miami Incorporated was to allow for walking (no bicycle) access to their property.

The Advisory Board also discussed possible gardens expansion in 2015 and determined that the farmed field area directly south of the gardens would work best for expansion if needed.  The Advisory Board will review demand for garden plots in the spring of 2015 and make a recommendation to the Village if expansion is needed.

 

South 80 Trails, Gardens, and Park Advisory Board

July 9, 2014 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes:

The meeting was held in the gardens.  The well is in good working order and the gardens are in good shape after our June 28 clearing exercise.  Joe Stelzer provided an update on the Eastern Corridor project.  Outside consultants will be touring the South 80 on July 16 as part of their mediation report.

Due to several board members being absent from our June meeting, the Board continued discussion on the following topics:

  1. Farming of the fields: there is continued interest in gradually using more of the currently farmed land for other purposes such as general community recreation and/or habitat restoration.  Jason Brownknight is going to get a better feel for the value of the land for farming and to think through options on how alternative uses could be fit into the space.
  1. A gate to control access to the South 80 from adjacent property: Joe Stelzer is scheduling a meeting with the individual in control of the adjacent property to the west in order to discuss ways for the Village and the landholder to control off-road vehicle use.  The Board agreed to defer a recommendation on installing a gate on the path over Whiskey Creek until after the meeting.  The gate would have a lock that would allow for authorized access from Village Maintenance, Fire & Rescue, Police and the utility company.  The gate would be positioned in such a way to allow for pedestrian and bicycle access around it.

The Board also discussed ideas for events in the South 80.  Given that we are already in July, the Board decided that we would continue to work towards a small scale Harvest Festival in the fall, but that combining it with other, already scheduled events such as the PreK Pumpkin Sale and Taste of Mariemont would be difficult this year, but perhaps a goal for 2015.

 

South 80 Trails, Gardens, and Park Advisory Board

June 10, 2014 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes:

Due to heavy thunderstorms the meeting was held at Village Council Chambers instead of in the South 80 Gardens as planned.  Mark Erhardt reported that the well was up and running and that the trails were in good shape after inspecting them the prior Sunday.  A small amount of graffiti was seen on the side of the tunnel, but nothing that was offensive.   A temporary “Non-Potable Water” sign has been posted on the well and a notice posted on the Facebook page, but permanent signage is needed.  Non-Potable Water signs are available for $10 to $20 from the same supplier we used for our trail signs, so Mark Erhardt is going to discuss that option with Doug Welsh.

The Board discussed three items for review with the Mayor: status of the farming agreement for the fields, the need for a separate sub-account for South 80 revenues and expenses, and options for a gate on the path crossing Whiskey Creek to prevent ATV’s from entering the South 80 from the adjacent property to the west.

  1. Farming of the fields: the Board has discussed from time to time alternative uses for the fields such as open space for recreation or habitat restoration (trees and/or prairie).  The board would be interested whether alternative uses can be explored when the current farming arrangement expires.
  2. Separate revenue and expense tracking for the South 80 and Gardens: Now that there are separate revenue sources from garden plot rentals and camping fees, as well as future revenue sources from events, the Board recommends that sub-account be set up to track revenues and expenses associated with the South 80.
  3. A gate to control access to the South 80 from adjacent property: many of the Board members have observed ATVs and other vehicles coming in to the South 80 from the adjacent property to the west.  The Board recommends exploring whether a gate could be installed on the path over Whiskey Creek to restrict access.  The gate would have a lock that would allow for authorized access from Village Maintenance, Fire & Rescue, Police and the utility company.  The gate would be positioned in such a way to allow for pedestrian and bicycle access around it.

The Board also discussed ideas for events in the South 80.  An idea that received strong support was to organize a Harvest Festival in the fall.  Since there are other fall events such as the PreK Pumpkin Sale and Taste of Mariemont, there may be the opportunity to combine events.  The Festival could include live music, games, information booths from local organizations, a bonfire, etc.  Karen Sullivan is going to find out the date of Taste of Mariemont to see if there might be a way to build on the idea from there.

 

South 80

Warrior Coalition: Marijuana and the Teenage Brain

Marajuana and the Teen Brain

Presenters include:
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Local Law Enforcement

Monday, October 27 at 7:00 pm
Mariemont High School-Auditorium

Drawing for Great Door Prizes!

An educational program for adults and students grades 7-12.

Warrior-Coalition

A further look at Electric aggregation

A further look at Electric aggregation

In the Cincinnati Enquirer on September 27th, an article indicates that “Indian Hill residents who participate in a cost-saving aggregate electric program will see their rates drop in October-and stay that way for three years”. This new agreement with Interstate Gas Supply (IGS) saves approximately 10 percent in electric costs for the 1,550 residences plus churches, schools and facilities in Indian Hill.

Is this sort of agreement something that Mariemont should look into? Should Mariemont even participate in this type of program? Would it be worth it to the residents?

Mariemont Farmer’s Market 2014

The second year for the Mariemont Farmer’s Market began in June and ended last Wednesday, September 24th. As a new venture for Mariemont, the Editors of Mariemont.com welcome any and all comments on this blog to evaluate the Market’s success and hopefully be of value to Leah Geldbaugh, the coordinator, in her plans for next year.  Any individual that wishes to comment without revealing  their identity can use a made-up name, and their email address will remain hidden.

You might answer question such as:

  • Was the Wednesday time slot convenient?
  • Was there enough variety?
  • What feedback did you get from the vendors?
  • What feedback do you have for the vendors?