By SEAN RICE
Celina City Council chambers resembled more of a debate floor
than a council floor Monday night, as community members took
the microphone to espouse their views on local issues.
Council members had only a small handful of regular business
to legislate, but residents wanted answers on issues like storm
sewer problems, illegal scooters and lake revitalization.
Celina Attorney Lou Schiavone commended the council for recent
efforts to breathe life back into West Bank Road, which has
sat deteriorating for 50 years, he said.
“These areas have been an embarrassment for the last 16
years,” he said about the West Bank, while circulating
pictures from 50 years ago with the same buildings standing.
“We can do better than a muddy fishing hole, an old industrial
site and a trailer park on our lakefront,” Schiavone continued.
The lawyer, reading from a prepared statement, urged the council
to not be deterred by individuals who scrutinize and criticize
every council action, especially on efforts to revitalize the
lakefront and downtown.
Schiavone said the opponents of the revitalization plan who
circulated petitions to have the issue on the November ballot
have been saying not much public input went into the revitalization
master plan. “That sir, to be polite, is inaccurate,”
He remembered direct mailings from the planning firm, public
displays of the plan as it progressed, group visits to other
towns and consultants at the Celina Lake Festival and Governor’s
Cup Regatta “polling people about their hopes and dreams
for the lakefront.
“The plan is a vision, of a cohesive land use plan ...
that can give the private sector the incentive and trustworthiness
to make capital investments in our community,” he said.
Celina resident Kenny Slorp told the lawyer to watch who he
knocks, because Slorp once lived on West Bank Road, “and
there are people in those trailers too.”
Local businessmen who made investments in new electric scooters
that are currently exploding in popularity may be stuck with
an inventory surge, as state leaders are dishing out advice
to communities to treat the toys as motorcycles.
Rich McNaughton, from CA Bicycle Sales and Service of Celina,
asked council members to clarify the laws on electric scooters,
because his company is selling the two-wheeled scooters with
small electric engines.
Councilors and Law Director Kevin McKirnan stated the Ohio State
Highway Patrol, state Bureau of Motor Vehicles and state Attorney
General’s office have each advised the scooters fall into
the laws covering motorcycles. Drivers then must have a license.
McNaughton asked how they could be licensed, because no titles
are issued from the manufacturer.
“The manufacturer should lobby the government for classification,”
council member Sharon LaRue advised.
A group of Linden Avenue residents were on hand to lobby local
officials to fix the storm drainage problem on their street
and surrounding streets. This was the group’s third visit
since the Independence Day flooding. They asked why storm drains
have not been replaced yet, while other storm drainage projects
are moving forward.
“Your situation, it’s more than a small pipe in
your area, it’s a system of small pipes,” Safety
Service Director Mike Sovinski said, adding the city currently
doesn’t have the resources to overhaul the system.
In other business, council members:
• Passed an emergency ordinance allowing Sovinski to solicit
bids for $50,000 in new turnout gear for the Celina Fire Department.
Local firefighters took the initiative to seek out a grant for
new response uniforms. They were approved for a $46,286 grant
from the U.S. Fire Administration for new gear.
• Passed an emergency resolution supporting an effort
by Romer’s Entertainment and Catering to transfer the
company’s liquor permit from its current location in the
Galleria on Wayne Street to its new location along West Bank
Road. The new facility will open in February.