LEWISBURG – During the Lewisburg Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Village event on Thursday, Sept. 21, officials shared information about completed and upcoming projects, and thanked the village’s departments and staff for their efforts to make Lewisburg one of Preble County’s “best kept secrets.”
“It’s not because of me, it’s because of my mayor, my council,” Municipal Manager Jeff Sewert said of compliments the village receives. “These are the folks giving me an opportunity to do what I do each and every day. I’ll say thank you for that.”
Sewert also thanked the members of the village staff, the Lewisburg Chamber of Commerce, Tri-County North Superintendent Bill Derringer, and others.
“Jeff Sewert is an asset in Preble County as well as Lewisburg,” Mayor Marsha Jones said. “Our village benefits from his relationships throughout the county. I quote Jeff in saying, ‘Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.’”
“Susan Laux and Tammy Holley manage Lewisburg Village Office. Along with fiscal officer responsibilities, Susan accepted the role of grant administrator, bringing grant writing capabilities and an expansive network of connections,” Jones said in introducing Laux.
“I just want to say thanks to Tammy who works hard every day,” Laux said of Holley. “She answers the phone every day and takes complaints and deals with trash — everybody has a trash problem. And she does that well. That’s a hard job to do. And it’s hard to always have a smile on your face. I appreciate what she does and appreciate her being there every day.”
“In regard to grants, I thought I’d give you a little bit of a recap of what’s going on,” Laux noted. “With the fire and EMS department this year, we received a 2023 MARCS grant for the purchase of radios and pay for fees for the MARCS radios. We also received an Ohio ambulance grant. We got an Ohio EMS grant to buy new equipment.
“We participated in the opioid settlement distributions of two different settlements so far, and we received $1,500 this year for training purposes. That’s an 18-year payout. So, we will be receiving money in the village for 18 years for these settlements,” Laux said.
She said the village is currently working on applying for some first responder grants, Worker’s Comp grants, and opening up some Tech Cred opportunities for paramedics to try to get their certifications paid for by the state. “I’ve been working with the Tech Cred people to be able to do that. And then we’re also getting ready to submit a grant to Cargill to buy some equipment for the fire department in relationship to what’s going on down the road,” Laux said.
“So that department’s been very busy this year,” Laux added. “They write some of their own grants, so kudos to them. And they’re always on top of those opportunities that are out there. And I appreciate that.”
Laux also noted other grants had been acquired for improvements, including paving and fencing, at Lewisburg Community Park.
“Infrastructure wise, we’re still working on our EPA lead mapping grant and those dollars that we got last year. We received money from the CDBG program to do some improvements to Western Avenue,” Laux said. “The engineering on that was done this year and we’ll see that construction next year, in 2024.”
“We were lucky to receive $1.5 million in grant money from the State Water and Wastewater Improvement Program and that will be coupled with $1.3 million that we got from the Public Works Commission. And we have a meeting tomorrow with the Ohio EPA on one last funding source that we’ll be using, just to make sure that we have everything we need as we embark on those improvements down there,” Laux said. “That plant is a package plant, it’s about 23 years old. Most package plants last about 20 years. So it’s seen the best of its useful life but it still got some life in it that we’re going to revive and then also do some improvements in order for it to continue to function to take care of Royal Canin and Cargill.”
The village is also working with an engineer to kick off a storm detention project which will help with development of 160 acres of land which was annexed into the village last year, according to Laux.
“We also received a civic grant for $5,000 from the Development Partnership. And that is going to be working towards downtown marketing,” Laux said.
“We continue to work on housing development and seeking that out, as well as looking at downtown parking, which always seems to be something that’s a good problem to have,” she added.
“As we go into 2024 I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities for us to continue to better Lewisburg. I just thank you for that opportunity,” Laux concluded.
“Decades of history, growth and development have changed the community we live in, and our hope for the future. As we move forward into 2024, there are new projects to report on as Lewisburg continues to prosper. We look to the future planning and aspiring to reach our full potential. Thanks to all of you for your contribution to our success,” Jones said.
(Editor’s note: This is a first of a series of articles presenting the updates provided at Lewisburg’s State of the Village event.)
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X @emowenjr.