LEWISBURG — On Thursday, Sept. 15, Lewisburg Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Lewisburg State of the Village event, where local, county and state leaders were invited to speak.
Chamber President Todd Appledorn welcomed the guests and introduced the speakers of the night. The first speaker was Mayor Marsha Jones.
“We benefit from the collaborative operation of the business industry and local government and education partners working together with the shared goal to promote and advance the commercial, industrial and civic development of Preble County,” Jones said.
“Lewisburg is working with Preble County Commissioners and the Development Partnership on the area south of Interstate 70 that is serviced by village utilities, for further development. The annexation of the site for a possible new hotel in the future has been approved. Lewisburg continues to pursue a much-needed housing development by annexing approximately 150 acres west of the village. And thanks to the family of James McKinney, have acquired historic tobacco barns. We’re grateful for the gift and excited about the potential use the property brings to our village,” Jones said.
“Our central business district continues to grow and with the previous ribbon cutting of Bicentennial Square will be completed soon. We invite you to visit the building to gather, share, and create memories. We thank Lewisburg Life for the First Friday block party and all of the things they sponsor. Thank you Tri-County North Superintendent Bill Derringer and Board of Education for working with the village to bring business and jump start the community.”
Derringer was next to speak. He thanked Jones and Municipal Manager Jeff Sewert for all the work they have done around the village. He also thanked Police Chief Rick McGee and Fire/EMS Chief BJ Sewert for providing safety, not only around the village, but in the school as well.
Derringer went on to provide more updates on the school.
“The turf has been completed, and we were actually able to play our first football game down there,” he said. “We’ve had many soccer games and so forth on the turf. They’re still working on the track — that has been a little bit longer of a process than what we thought. As of today, we actually did a punch list walk through of the track and are hoping to get that here in the next week or so.”
“Not only does it make our school look better, but it just improves the value of the community,” said Derringer.
He continued, “The other thing that I wanted to mention, is we added two preschool classrooms this year, which we think are greatly going to benefit our district and our community as a whole. We’re really, I think, are providing a lot of opportunities for those young five and three and four-year-olds, so that’s going to benefit us all the way down the line.”
The last thing Derringer touched on was that TCN will be on the ballot in November.
“What we’re running is the renewal that we didn’t pass back in May of this past spring. So, it’s a renewal — it’s not any additional tax dollars. It’s just asking the community to continue to pay what they have been paying,” he added.
Preble County Commissioner David Haber spoke next. Haber explained how he became a commissioner and why it was important to him to help the county. He updated the audience on a few items he and the other commissioners have been working on. “We’ve been doing a lot of things and if you’ve been down to the fair, you saw the Exposition Center. We are finishing that out front, so the Expo, by Dec. 31, will be completed. That will be renovated so the meeting room and everything else is there — a restroom, a shower for the kids in the fair — for whoever rents it. It’ll be a great facility.”
Haber also informed the crowd about the work they have been doing to get broadband across the county, the new EMA director, and the work starting on the railroad closings. Haber elaborated more on the railroad issue: “We’ve got everybody in the community, most everybody on our side. We actually signed the agreement with the railroad. We’re getting money to redo one road from U.S. 35 to Ohio 122, money for the school and money for the township, too. So, we’re really happy with this turnout. For three new commissioners we’ve been busy.”
In closing, Appledorn explained State Representative Rodney Creech was meant to speak but unfortunately could not make it because he was at the statehouse.
Appledorn thanked all of the speakers and announced the Lewisburg Business of the Year Award to the Joy & Whimsy Depot before closing.
Joy & Whimsy owners Dave and Jane Wickham accepted their award and flower arrangement. “Thank you so much,” Dave Wickham said. “We are so pleased to be here. Lewisburg has welcomed us with open arms and it’s been nothing but great here. I grew up in a small town and this is like home to me.”
An emotional Jane Wickham followed, “I’m kind of speechless. I’m just going to echo what Dave said. We just appreciate the village, for the people who are here, for welcoming us, and helping us make our dream come true.”