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Published: Thursday, 4/18/2002

Maumee council approves new post

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Maumee Council has agreed to create a commissioner position to help improve and enhance the quality of life for residents of the community.

After a unanimous recommendation from council's finance committee, council voted 7-0 Monday night to seek applications for a commissioner of community development.

The commissioner would take over some of the work now handled by John Jezak, the city's administrator-safety director. The commissioner would “allow us to be more timely on issues facing that particular office,” said Councilman Brent Buehrer, a member of the finance committee that voted 3-0 last week to recommend the post.

Mr. Jezak's workload is “too much for one person to handle, especially with what's been brewing in the last 21/2 years,” Mr. Buehrer said.

Mr. Jezak has been working on a variety of pending and ongoing projects, such as the proposed Mall at Fallen Timbers, renovation of the Maumee Indoor Theater, and revitalization of the Uptown area.

The commissioner's pay will range from $55,535 to $71,266.

Todd Zimmerman, chairman of the committee, presented the finance committee's report to council.

“It was noted by all members of the committee that as the city of Maumee moves toward a rejuvenation period in city facilities, the Uptown area, and other special projects along with the continued development of the Arrowhead Park area, an additional position was needed,” Mr. Zimmerman said.

The commissioner could tackle projects that “make Maumee in general much more appealing,” Mr. Jezak said.

The commissioner could work closely with nonprofit organizations, including the newly formed arts council, to help promote programming and public events, he said. Several endeavors, including the theater renovation project, “need additional follow through and focus,” he said.

In addition, the commissioner could continue to push to improve the economic viability of Maumee's Uptown area, enhancing its appearance visually and preserving historical structures - commercial and residential - that remain in that area, he said.

Maumee is an older community, he noted, and the city's population has dropped since the 1970s. Although the number of residents has declined, the city's financial, commercial, and industrial developments have improved.

Some suburbs with older housing stock have found it challenging to maintain a high quality of life, he said.

Maumee needs to develop a strategy to make sure that the city remains viable over the long run, Mr. Jezak said. Such a strategy would focus on a number of fronts, including cultural programming, historical projects, and economic development issues.

The commissioner could help the city achieve those objectives, he said, by helping obtain grants.

No timetable has been set as to when the new commissioner would be named and begin the duties.



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