PERRYSBURG — “Embracing the past. Poised for the future.”
In 2022, this motto held true for the City of Perrysburg. Everything from keeping citizens safe, to sprucing up and enhancing parks, to the service provided residents, to the ways the community is set up for success, to working with local businesses who operate or want to open in the city. Perrysburg is an inclusive and welcoming community that residents and families are proud to call home. Much of the success is thanks in part to citizens and community partnerships.
One of the benefits of living in or visiting Perrysburg is knowing that we are one of the safest cities in Northwest Ohio. The mayor appointed Police Chief Patrick Jones as director of public safety in 2022. In this new role, Jones brings his 18 years of knowledge and expertise with the city in overseeing both the police and fire divisions. One of his first jobs for 2023 will be the hiring of a new fire chief to replace Chief Rudy Ruiz who retired last spring.
The Perrysburg Fire Division’s mission is to provide the highest quality EMS, fire protection, and education to the citizens. In 2022, the fire division hosted the first ever Senior Safety Expo bringing non-profit vendors to educate local seniors on how to stay safe and inform them of services available. The division also purchased an inflatable boat that will be able to assist in water rescues. This year, the division will continue its work toward accreditation through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.
The department of public utilities has a new director and deputy director. Matt Choma, who previously served as deputy, was appointed to replace Director Alice Godsey who retired after serving 40 years in the public sector.
Choma and Deputy Director AJ Coleman oversee the wastewater treatment plant, water distribution, maintaining stormwater and sanitary sewer systems, repairing watermain breaks and ditch maintenance. The department’s aging building on East Boundary Street could soon be replaced. In 2022, council passed a resolution for a local architectural firm to draw up plans for a new building.
Perrysburg residents enjoy having many options when it comes to shopping and services. Several major retailers are conveniently located within the city limits and there are many small or locally owned businesses. The planning and zoning office issued 61 permits in 2022 for businesses that either opened or re-located here.
Residents appreciate the charm and convenience of the downtown which is also enticing to many who visit. Visit Perrysburg successfully organized signature events such as the weekly Farmers Market, Music at the Market and the Great Race. Other community members volunteered to put on holiday parades and festivals.
This influx of visitors has helped downtown businesses and even prompted some restaurant owners to request the expansion of the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area. In 2022, the state of Ohio allowed cities with populations of Perrysburg’s size to add a second DORA. The city used this opportunity to expand the downtown DORA to include more restaurants and add a second DORA at the Town Center at Levis Commons.
One of Mayor Tom Mackin’s goals is to make downtown Perrysburg more accessible. In 2022, the city was presented with two options that would make the downtown area ADA compliant. These options were also shared with downtown business owners to gather their input. During this process, the city learned that many wanted a newer and improved downtown streetscape. The city is now working on new options that will combine both ADA and streetscape into one project.
Another one of Mackin’s goals is to help the city become more efficient by using better technology, whether its within municipal offices or for residents. In 2022, the city did this in several ways.
First, the IT department worked to modernize the way council and committee meeting agendas, minutes and videos are presented to the public. The city partnered with CivicClerk which offers a streamlined workflow for municipal employees and allows the public to access information quicker and more intuitively. This new system also allows for the livestreaming of city council meetings during their regularly scheduled time and committee meetings to be recorded and posted afterwards on the city’s website.
Second, the department of finance implemented new software to easily manage the purchasing process. Instead of filling out paper purchase orders, employees are able to do everything online from start to finish. This allows for a more streamlined process and will be easier to keep track of and archive all purchases that are being made by the city.
Third, online registration was offered for the first time for summer recreation programs. Previously, parents had to download the program, fill out paperwork, and turn it all in with payment. Now, the entire process is done online, making it much easier as well as saving time and resources. This new software is being implemented this year for rental reservations for park shelters as well as registration for Safety Town.
Perrysburg has 11 parks that offer more than 200 acres of greenspace and amenities such as tennis courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, disc golf, pickleball and much more. In 2022, several parks were enhanced with updated features.
Two of the biggest projects were at Three Meadows and Rotary Community Parks. At Three Meadows Park, the pond erosion project was completed with the installation of fishing platforms and rocks along the shoreline as well as the addition of more picnic tables. At Rotary Community Park, the Perrysburg Rotary Club donated $300,000 to bring eight new pickleball courts to the city, which will open in the spring.
The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was installed at Riverside Park, honoring the families of servicemembers who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the military; the second annual Sculpture Walk at Woodlands Park was organized by Visit Perrysburg featuring 16 pieces of art from artists around the country; free Wi-Fi was installed at Rotary, Rivercrest, Woodlands and Municipal Parks thanks to a partnership with Amplex Internet; parking lots at Orleans and Rotary Parks were repaved and curb islands installed; work began at Woodlands to have new inclusive playground equipment by this summer.
The city was recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Foundation for the 38th year. The city also received the Growth Award for the 24th year for its work in educating the public about the benefits of street trees in the community. A new urban forester will soon be hired. In 2022, 495 street trees were planted across the city.
Another honor for Perrysburg was being named one of the five best hometowns in Ohio by Ohio Magazine. The magazine’s editors chose Perrysburg for its charming downtown, great schools and appreciation for local history.
(Dunn is the public information officer for the City of Perrysburg.)