Eaton council discusses revitalizing downtown

By Braden Moles -

EATON — City Manager Brad Collins presented Eaton City Council with a discussion about revitalizing Eaton’s downtown area during their July 20 regular meeting.

Collins said talks have taken place over the last couple of years with downtown business owners, residents and Mayor Gary Wagner (who was not present at Monday’s meeting) about revitalizing downtown Eaton.

“I reached out to Heritage Ohio for more information about their Downtown Assessment Resource Team,” Collins said. “Basically they provide an assessment. They speak with stakeholders, they help set priorities and develop a plan of revitalization effort.”

The assessment would cost $5,000 and Collins wanted to discuss moving forward with the council.

Council member Matt Venable raised a concern about whether or not Heritage Ohio has worked with communities like Eaton, a population of 8,407 people as of the 2010 census.

“Yeah, they work with villages to large cities and there’s different levels to that,” Collins responded. “They’ll tailor that to where they’re going. Closest around here, probably Franklin. It’s pretty comparable.”

Council member Dave Kirsch attested to the work that Heritage Ohio has done in other communities to help revitalize their downtown areas.

“I was born in Wooster and they’ve done a complete renovation in downtown Wooster, which is on a larger size than we are,” Kirsch said. “They’ve done such a great job that it has not only revitalized the downtown, but new entrepreneurs came in opening up downtown businesses, which was exciting.”

Kirsch said that Eaton has had success recently with entrepreneurs opening up new businesses in the area, citing the upcoming craft brewery, and said those types of ventures are what is needed to help revitalize downtown.

“I think the timing is good for us to evaluate their concepts and allow them to come in and evaluate our community and see what will work for us,” Kirsch said.

Efforts had been made in the past to help the downtown area, but Collins said that it was difficult at times to generate interest from downtown businesses.

“If they’re interested then to me it’s kind of a no brainer,” Collins said. “$5,000 is little for us to spend to help make that happen, it would seem to me.”

In other business:

The city of Eaton Fire and EMS report for June 2020 showed 224 calls consisting of 140 EMS responses, 18 second Medic responses, 84 fire/rescue responses and five general alarms.

Additionally, there were 12 heroin overdose responses in June. This is the highest single-month total since April 2017 when there were 17 heroin overdose responses.

With 28 heroin overdose responses in 2020, Eaton has nearly surpassed the total number of heroin overdose responses in 2019 (30) and 2018 (29) in just six months.

Rumpke Contract

The council passed Resolution 20-15 which authorized the first of five one-year term extensions between the city of Eaton and Rumpke.

The original bid for the collection and disposal services of solid waste was awarded to Rumpke by Resolution 16-53, which also included that the city of Eaton could renew the contract for five additional one-year terms.

The one-year term will begin on Oct. 1, 2020, and expire on Sep. 30, 2021.

Transfer of Funds

The council passed Resolution 20-14, transferring funds in the following amount from the General Fund: Public Safety Fund ($225,000), Recreation Fund ($16,250), Swimming Pool Fund ($30,000) and Fort St. Clair Fund ($20,000).

The next Eaton City Council meeting will be held on Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Eaton City Building.

By Braden Moles

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @BradenMoles

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @BradenMoles