Eye on the City – March 2016

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One of the joys I have as mayor is representing the City in a variety of places.  On Friday, March 18th, I was asked to represent Piqua at the 9th Annual River Summit at University of Dayton.  “The River Summit is an initiative that was launched in 2008 linking cities, suburbs, agricultural communities, statewide groups, and a broad range of citizens in order to develop a regional strategy that makes the most of our shared assets – the Great Miami and Mad Rivers.” (quote from the River Summit brochure)  I attended last years River Summit and was excited to attend this year as the mayor of Piqua and able to be part of the Mayor’s Panel and share with those gathered ALL the great things that are happening here in Piqua around the Great Miami River!

Throughout the Summit, we heard story after story about communities who turned back to the river and utilizing their riverfront as a vibrant and welcoming public space and then showing how economic development in their communities followed.  Our Riverfront Redevelopment Plan is focused on doing just that.  It is a 2-fold plan that includes the physical environment as well as programming.

First, I want to talk about the physical environment here in our community.  The City of Piqua is working hard on changing the narrative of the river by integrating the built into the beautiful natural environment that is already there.  We are very lucky because we have the Great Miami River flowing directly through the heart of our city!  Recently we added a wonderful overlook on the river just adjacent from the old Piqua Power plant and directly off of our wonderful path system.  It is a great place to view the river and there is much talk of the possibility of a whitewater play park there as well!  There are also great plans underway to enhance the Lock Nine Park that will include a performance venue and other similar amenities to bring folks – both young and old – down to the river to enjoy and celebrate!  David Gamble, who is renowned as a leader in design and strategy for the 21st Century Urban Core presented at the River Summit as well.  He is also the consultant that we are using for the physical design of our Riverfront Development Plan.  David shared with us that day that “along a river the aura of a city reside.”  How true that is and that is why we are putting so much emphasis and money into redeveloping this portion of our community.

The second part of our Riverfront Development plan is programming because we can redevelop the space all we want but we MUST get the people down to the river to enjoy what we have!  The good news is that we are already doing that with our ROCK PIQUA concerts which feature local talent and great food, and this will be the third summer for these amazing concerts in Lock Nine Park.  This year they will take place on the 3rd Saturday in June, July, & August.  Last year, Mainstreet Piqua held a Duck Drop before one of our concerts, and the plans are that they will do so again this summer.  The Duck Drop is a fun family-friendly event for all to enjoy!  This is also our 3rd year for DAR-DAB (Down a River – Down a Beer), which will include time to play in the river during the day and then time to enjoy a beer tasting overlooking the river that evening at Lock Nine Park.

Yes, the plan and dream is that Piqua will soon be a water destination for our region.  We are already a destination where many “Active Living” enthusiasts come to ride, run or walk our beautiful path system.  They also come regularly to participate in one of the MANY local races that are held here in our community each year!  Thanks to Ryan & Amanda King and the “Can’t Stop Running” folks, over 800 people came to Piqua for the 3rd year in a row on this St. Patrick’s Day to participate in a fun-filled night for Piqua’s Annual 5K Beer Run!  As I said, we are already a destination where Active Living enthusiasts come to ride, run, or walk our beautiful path system, so it makes sense that the river as a destination will follow as well!

RESOLUTION OF THANKS – Deputy Police Chief Tom Christy

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RESOLUTION NO. R-40-16

A RESOLUTION OF APPRECIATION FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE OF THOMAS S. CHRISTY AS A CITY EMPLOYEE

WHEREAS, Thomas S. Christy has retired as Deputy Police Chief with the Police Department; and

WHEREAS, his retirement follows over 35 years of faithful and dedicated service to the City and its citizens;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Commission of the City of Piqua, Miami County, Ohio, all members elected thereto concurring, that:

SEC. 1: In recognition and appreciation of the public service of 

Thomas S. Christy as Deputy Police Chief with the Police Department, this Commission tenders its unanimous and respectful tribute by this Resolution, which shall be a matter of public and permanent record.

SEC. 2:This Resolution shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.

_____________________________

KATHRYN B. HINDS, MAYOR

PROCLAMATION: Dolly Parton Imagination Library!

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P R O C L A M A T I O N

WHEREAS, this morning we are here at the Fort Piqua Plaza celebrating a Character Breakfast Fundraiser for the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library; and

WHEREAS, the Dollywood Foundation is the organizational body that oversees Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library; and

WHEREAS, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a free children’s book distribution program which was started by Dolly Parton in 1996 and over 800 children in Piqua and over 2000 more children in Miami County are enrolled and benefit from the Imagination Library: and

WHEREAS, Dolly Parton launched this program to help benefit children of her home county in East Tennessee and to foster the love of reading because reading regularly to your children during their preschool years gives them the biggest boost toward a successful education they will ever get; and

WHEREAS, this program will help parents read to their children at no cost to the parents and will make the children of Miami County excited about books and will help to foster in our children the magic that books can create; and

WHEREAS, the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library sends through the mail  a new book that has been carefully selected for each child enrolled in the program every month until they are five years old; and 

WHEREAS, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a free gift to children and all parents need to do is read to their children; and

WHEREAS, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library has spread amongst 1600 local communities in our country making Miami County and Piqua one of that group; and

WHEREAS, the City of Piqua is pleased and honored to be here today during for this wonderful fundraising event.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kathryn B. Hinds, Mayor of the City of Piqua, Ohio, do hereby proclaim recognize the Month of March 2016 as:

DOLLY PARTON’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY                                                                                             READING AWARENESS MONTH IN MIAMI COUNTY, OHIO!

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Seal of the City of Piqua, Ohio, this 12TH day of March 2016.

        KATHRYN B. HINDS, MAYOR

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A Great Day in Columbus!

March 9th, 2016

Yesterday I had the joy of traveling with Riverside Developmental Disabilities to Columbus for Developmental Disabilities Awareness and Advocacy Day.  What a day it was!   I went for a variety of reasons the biggest being that one of our community members, Mr. Jason McCabe, was the Keynote speaker for the event at the Statehouse!  

Many of you probably saw the newspaper article about Jason and you know that many in our community came together to support him…Barclay’s in Downtown Piqua dressed him beautifully for the event, Barber Bruce Whidden gave him a haircut, and the folks at Miami Valley Centre Mall put a wonderful pair of shoes on his feet.  I can attest that  Jason looked great and boy, did he represent our community well!  I was SO very proud to be there to watch Jason shine!  Below is a picture of Jason, Melissa Nichols (Riverside PR Director), and myself at the Statehouse.

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The day began when we all boarded the Riverside bus to head to Columbus.  Jason went down the night before to make sure he was well rested and ready for the event.  I was able to ride along with his friends who, like me, were so very excited and proud to watch him that day.

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We arrived and were greeted by Jason on the steps of the Statehouse.

Once inside we registered and joined all the other folks in the from around Ohio to hear the speakers of the day.  The days theme was “What’s Your Story?”  The truth is that we all have stories, but the day was all about letting the legislators know what those who were gathered there that day wanted to share about each of their unique and special stories.  

The first person to share was a beautiful woman who spoke about her struggles to gain employment because of her disability.  She shared passionately, even interjecting humor in the midst of her struggle to be taken seriously, about the desire to have and earn her own way.  Thanks be to God she is now employed but continues to speak out and share her story to help others who also struggle for their rights for employment.  

We also heard from a young man about the struggles he has with transportation because of the costs it takes to equip a van for him to be able to drive.  Yes, just getting into a car whenever we want to and heading out is something that many in our community can not do as easily as we more able body folks can.  Our public transportation is many times full and you have to reserve it sometimes days and weeks ahead in order to ensure you can use it.  We must find ways to add more opportunities for public transit for everyone who needs it. I heard a story about a person who finally has a great job but because of the uncertainty of public transportation could lose the job because they have been late to work.

Jason was the final and keynote speaker of the day and as I said before he did a great job!

Jason shared with the folks gathered there many things about his struggles and his life.  He finished his talk with these important words, “If anyone makes fun of you because of your disability…just ignore them!”  Yes, Jason simple words are so very true and a great reminder to us all…because  it is true that we must show honor folks with ALL abilities! 

After this we met with representatives from Senator Beagle’s and Representative Huffman’s office.  During this time those who came could share their concerns and voice issues they feel need to be changed.  Raising wages for those that care for the disabled was a huge one because many times good and gifted folks leave this kind of employment for better pay.  “This must change!” a mom stated who was there with her son.  Also a young woman read a letter she had that shared her struggles with a job she loves but might lose unless things change.  Voices and struggles were shared and heard.  I am thankful for the brave souls who shared their struggles and stories that day.  

As I reflect back on this day I remember the place we were standing as we registered for the event.  We were surrounded by quotes and the word EQUALITY kept catching my eye.   

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PIQUA was WELL represented!

And the truth is that those with Disabilities still struggle for EQUALITY even in the year 2016! We must do better honoring EQUALITY of ALL as a country, we must do better honoring EQUALITY of ALL as a State, and we MUST do better honoring EQUALITY of ALL here in Miami County!  We MUST remember  friends, that we are in this life together and may we NEVER forget that!

 

PROCLAMATION FOR RIVERSIDE

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P R O C L A M A T I O N

WHEREAS, Riverside Development Disabilities, as Miami County’s local board of developmental disabilities, has served citizens with developmental disabilities for more than sixty years; and

WHEREAS, developmental disabilities are conditions which affect more than six-million Americans and their families; and

WHEREAS, we recognize that Riverside Developmental Disabilities serves approximately 950 Miami County citizens with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, friends, neighbors and co-workers encourage everyone to focus on the abilities of all people; and

WHEREAS, the most effective way to increase this awareness is through everyone’s active participation in community activities and the openness to learn and acknowledge each individual’s contribution; and

WHEREAS, the potential for citizens with developmental disabilities to function more independently and productively must be fostered; and

WHEREAS, we encourage all citizens to support opportunities for people with disabilities that include full access to education, housing, employment and recreational activities.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kathryn B. Hinds, Mayor of the City of Piqua, Ohio, do hereby proclaim the month of March 2016 as:

DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES AWARENESS MONTH

and give full support toward enabling people with developmental disabilities to live productive lives and achieve their potential.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Seal of the City of Piqua, Ohio, this 1st day of March 2016.

        KATHRYN B. HINDS, MAYOR

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