After serving in Bethel Township for three years as the first township administrator anywhere in Miami County, I had the opportunity to serve the City of Piqua as their first Development Program Manager. Working closely with the Economic Development Director and the City Manager, I was responsible for finding and administering grant funded activities throughout the community.
Right from the start, I was involved with many substantive projects that helped improve the quality of life in the community. I was part of a great team that worked hard that rehabilitated the old Orr-Flesh Hotel, which is now known as the Fort Piqua Plaza. The Fort Piqua Plaza is the home to the Scottish Thistle restaraunt, a conference/banquet center and the Piqua Public Library. It was an amazing experience to be part of the team that helped make this facility come back to life!
In the eight years I was there, Piqua was also very active in addressing enviornmental concerns through the clean-up and remediation of enviornmenally contaminated properties. Perhaps no better example of this committment can be seen than through the demolition and remediation of the old Piqua Memorial Medical Center.
The Piqua Memorial Medical Center was abandoned in the late 1990s and became an eyesore in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I was able to lead a team of individuals that was able to secure over $1.5 million from the Clean Ohio Fund to complete a full enviornmental study of the property and to pay for the remediation and demolition of the facility. The property is now home to the Piqua Intermediate School.
My favorite day on this project had to have been that cold November day when the wrecking ball first showed up on site. I was sitting on the porch of a neighbor who lived right arcoss the street from the hosptial. This family moved in right before the hosptial moved out. I remember that resident telling me, "I never thought I'd see the day that someone would actually tear that thing down. I know you kept on telling it was going to happen and I still never thought this was going to happen."
Needless to say, this neighbor was pretty pleased.
More than just working on big projects, I worked on developing relationships with our residents. I worked hand-in-hand with the four neighborhood associations our city encouraged neighborhood groups to create. I also helped create the Piqua Government Academy.
The Piqua Government Academy was more than just a series of lectures about what happened in local government. We created a program where our residents saw local government up close and had first hand experiences in nearly every facet of local government. For example, one of the best parts of the academy was having our participants learn how to drive a snow plow through an obstacle course set up by our street department.
As our program grew, the word about what we were doing caught on and other communities (such as the City of Detroit) were calling on us to help guide their own programs. In 2013, the Ohio City/County Management Association awarded our academy as the best citizen engagement program in the State of Ohio.
Another part of my work with the City of Piqua was to promote our community and our community's heritage. I had the privilege to represent the city on the board of Mainstreet Piqua, Inc. and even served as the Board President for a year. One of my most treasured memories was representing our community in Columbus to be named a "Preserve America" community by First Lady Laura Bush in 2007. I had the privilege to meet Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett to receive this recognition for the City of Piqua.
I left the City of Piqua in 2014 for a new adventure in the nonprofit sector. It was a difficult decision and it was not made easier on the last day of working in the community when one of our long-time residents paid me a visit as I was putting the finishing touches of cleaning out my office.
"Bill, I know you are from Troy, but I have to tell you something. You have done more for this community than most people who live here. You care about this place and you care about the people who live here. We were lucky to have you."
I am running for Mayor because I believe in working together to acheive great things for our community. Serving the public means putting the wants, needs and the desires of the community first and foremost in our decision making. I have a strong record of serving others and making communities better places. I am ready to serve my hometown and I am asking for your vote to make that happen!