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Published: 1/25/2006

Perrysburg: New mayor offers openness to people

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Perrysburg Mayor Nelson Evans is settling into his new job.

In his first elected position, he has plans for improving the city's communication with residents, maintaining city services to the growing community, and preserving the city's character.

"I'm in this job at the right time," he said.

After two weeks' vacation from his job at Northwest Controls, Mr. Evans, 51, juggled both jobs for the first time last week. He said working in the private sector after 25 years in public service with the police department was a fascinating look into the world of small business.

He plans to be in the mayor's office in the mornings, and he said his door will be open to residents.

Communication with those residents is one thing he'd like to work on because it can be a problem as the city grows bigger and potentially gets bogged down in bureaucracy.

One of the things he learned during his campaign was that residents want the city's Web site to be up-to-date and easier to use.

He's also looking at a computer notification system that would allow the city to call all residents automatically in a certain area, which would be useful for notifications of water outages, or notifying landowners of a meeting about a zoning change on a neighboring piece of property.

"Those are all things worth looking into," he said.

Mr. Evans named three fronts of economic development in the city: downtown, Fort Meigs, and Levis Commons.

Fort Meigs received a $5,000 grant for facilities improvements from the city earlier this month, the first award from the city's new municipal development fund. It draws 30,000 visitors a year.

"We're going to be working closely with them," Mr. Evans said.

With a combination of traditional downtown shops and restaurants, the historical attraction of Fort Meigs, and the retail opportunities in Levis Commons, Mr. Evans said he hopes Perrysburg could become a weekend destination.

He wants to start a business-retention program because the city focuses on bringing in new businesses more than keeping the current ones. He said that could involve visiting companies and seeing how the city could be easier to work with.

He said the city has to be prepared for growth and needs to control it. The zoning code rewrite is one part of that; the city plans to puts together a comprehensive land-use plan.

Last week, he met with the city engineer and the water division to discuss areas in which the city is likely to need expanded services.

Mr. Evans said he wants to be able to put a dollar amount on proposed developments' effects on the city, such as determining how many police officers and snowplows would be needed if 50 more houses are built.

"We have the growth and people want to come, but it's also an expensive proposition to provide the services," he said.

For several years, the city has been considering a new fire station to help cover the southern part of town, he said.



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