Celebrating Our Spirit: Spencerville overcoming funding obstacles


By PJ Johnson - Spencerville Mayor

The American Red Cross routinely hosts a donation center in Spencerville, including this January 2017 visit to the American Legion.

The American Red Cross routinely hosts a donation center in Spencerville, including this January 2017 visit to the American Legion.

Levi A. Morman | The Lima News

Facing adversity does not define you, but more how you deal with the adversity you are faced with and how you choose to move forward speaks volumes to your forethoughts and aspirations. The Village of Spencerville is no exception.

Prior years have brought upon us a new normal with local government having to do more with less but still providing the same essential services to our community. Those services are some of the first things community members use, see and come to expect.

Having completed a new water treatment plant recently, the village is planning on moving forward with the design and construction of two new wells this year, utilizing the large aquifer located beneath our village. The new wells will replace wells that have been in service greater than 60 and 80 years, respectively. In addition, we have started design engineering for improvements to the village’s wastewater treatment plant. We will continue to make improvements to the underground infrastructures by undertaking waterline replacement projects as finances permit.

Storm water has gotten a lot of attention recently, both in the news with more stringent regulations being passed down and large rain events showing weaknesses throughout. The village just completed a large upgrade that was many years in the making and involved multiple entities. Joint ventures such as this can be complicated and take the combined efforts of all parties.

Participation between local, county and state government on this particular project had to happen before the first shovel of dirt was turned. The good working relationship between these bodies along with an ambitious contractor saw the construction portion of this village improvement completed in less than two months. The utilities committee has also overseen the first stages of design engineering for instituting a storm water utility. This will aid in making improvements by identifying deficiencies, formulating plans and having financing to complete the needed upgrades.

A long time issue of the Miami Erie Canal will see efforts to change the appearance of the canal through the downtown area. Meetings and dialogue with ODNR representatives have helped to facilitate the purchase of bubble tubing and a compressor system, which will be installed into the canal between Second and Fourth Streets. This tubing, which will carry compressed air and release bubbles along the bottom, will create a revolving current from bottom to top and back again to negate the growth of the algae. ODNR has graciously made the purchase, and the village will supply the electric power.

Private sector advancements also contribute to the pulse of a community. We are blessed to have the support of individuals and businesses who are willing to take a risk and establish themselves in our community. As a community, we must remember to support our local businesses too.

The village has recently seen some empty storefronts have their facades brightened and are now occupied. We have businesses investing in their properties and making improvements both inside and out. Two of our top three largest employers are planning expansion projects this year, and the third just completed a large project last year. Permits received show new house construction will continue in our newest subdivision, bringing more to our community. A great example of our community strength is how everyone came together and raised funds for new Christmas decorations in a matter of a couple of months for this past season.

Facing blight and dilapidated structures is not something the village is exempt from, and the administration has had to have some structures removed. Oftentimes, the property owner will complete this task on their own, and the village will assist where needed. The recent partnership with the Allen County Land Bank has helped facilitate a change in our downtown scenery. These razed properties, where the village is involved, are then marketed to potential new owners, who have plans to advance and enhance our community.

The village has been approached by more prospective business ventures recently than in years past. The business atmosphere of today is much different than in prior years. Numerous jobs once held by manufacturing facilities staffing a production line are a thing of the past. We must remain cognizant of this and remain open minded to opportunity when presented.

It has been my position that we look at each venture presented to the village and try to realize the true impact that will be placed upon the community, both good and bad. Having said that, we do have zoning codes and restrictions that must be followed. But I think we may miss out if we were to ever create restrictions beyond those without first looking at each specific case.

I have always said and conveyed to the village administration that it is best to try to work with someone or their business rather than condemn them before even hearing the first bit of consideration. In today’s continually evolving business world, you have to be open and have a working relationship with those around you. To condemn, in my opinion, is to say, “our doors are closed, we are content.”

Conversely, if you can demonstrate you are willing to work with those whom have an interest in your community, you not only open the door to those immediately in front of you, but this spreads, and others learn that you are willing to work together for positive outcomes of all parties. This can only lead to good things in the future.

I know and truly believe the Village of Spencerville will continue to see changes and improvements this year. We too will be faced with challenges, but we will work together and we will move forward.

The American Red Cross routinely hosts a donation center in Spencerville, including this January 2017 visit to the American Legion.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/02/web1_IMG_6436-Smaller.jpgThe American Red Cross routinely hosts a donation center in Spencerville, including this January 2017 visit to the American Legion. Levi A. Morman | The Lima News

By PJ Johnson

Spencerville Mayor

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