Crothersville Town Council President Ardell Mitchell penned a open letter to Crothersville residents sharing his vision for the community and challenging residents to help in making our community more progressive. We are pleased to share his thoughts in this column.
As I enter my final year of service on the Town Council, I am very appreciative of the opportunity I have been afforded getting to serve these past seven years. I am very proud of the accomplishments and improvements made by the Town in that time.
I also want more for Crothersville and hope for better in the future. I want to take this time to outline some ideas I feel are important and merit further discussion. My goal is that some of these are addressed in my final year on the council and that future council embrace some of these as goals for the community.
Crothersville has great potential, potential that not nearly realized to date. In general I want Crothersville to be pro-active and positive. Believe in our selves and much can be accomplished.
The following is a list of specific thoughts I would like to discuss further if the community is interested and fellow council members are willing:
•Have the art students of Crothersville High School hold a competition to design a mural for the east face of Town Hall. A large billboard celebrating our history and acknowledging out potential and future. Have the Town purchase the needed materials and have the students paint mural for a long lasting billboard for the Town.
•Consider creating a TIF district including the Industrial Park and parts of US 31 business district. This could create a funding source for infrastructure improvements needed to attract and retain businesses and industry.
•Consider creating a new sewer district for Uniontown/Exit 41 portions of Vernon Township. If we don’t do it, someone else is going to. This area is ripe for development and the added revenue stream would strengthen the financial stability of the utility helping ensure quality service for years to come. I’m not talking about annexing this area into the Town, rather using our skills and infrastructure to provide services that are inevitably going to be required. Imagine the growth at that exit if sewer were available? Imagine the jobs?
•Hire a consultant to assist in putting a value on the water utility and consider the utility for a sale. I’m not convinced we need to sell the utility, but we owe it to the residents to consider all options to best serve them in the future and potentially lower the cost of water for the users.
•Continue to aggressively pursue combined sewer separation. Maybe alternate funding sources can aid in this effort. This is the right thing to do environmentally as well as a requirement of the EPA and IDEM. This also adds capacity to our sewer treatment process making us more attractive for residential, commercial and industrial expansion.
•We need to invest in our Parks. We need citizens of the Township to step up, get involved and help get this going. This amenity does not exist currently to any extent. We need to provide this for our community and our future.
•We need to have our local streets reviewed for use and capacity with designations provided. This opens up many streets for funding options not currently available.
•I feel we need to widen Kovener Street from Main Street to the south allowing safe truck passage through Industrial Way out to US 31. This would remove large truck traffic from Main Street in the downtown business district and the narrow “S” curve that is not set up for such traffic. It also would allow a safe bypass in the event of an incident/accident closing US 31 in town. Semi trucks should not be allowed on Howard and Main Streets between Kovener and US 31 if this is completed.
•Explore designating safe walking routes to school that could double as designated walking/exercise routes for all residents. Funding is available for help making improvements to streets and sidewalks that are designated for such use.
•Consider creating a storm water utility for the community. This creates a funding source and emphasizes drainage and storm water improvements. Use this as the first step in truly attempting to implement the long dormant storm water master plan. Finally start getting road side ditches and drainage swales cleaned and operating, limiting flooding on road ways. The livability of the community is greatly enhanced if we can dry up some of these yards and eliminate the localized flooding that occurs after every rain.
I know this is a lot. Everything listed has been discussed at some time or another but has gained little or no support. I encourage others to speak on their ideas for the future. The town is at a critical point with the council expanding to five members starting in 2016. I hope potential candidates for office later this year are motivated to present their ideas and work together to make Crothersville better. As stated earlier, we have great potential. If more work together, Crothersville will be a wonderful town to live in and raise a family for years to come.
And to his sentiments, we offer a hearty “Amen!”