Bank plans to be active in Fayette 2015.07.15

By DAVID GREEN

Sherwood State Bank president Mickey Schwarzbek told Fayette village council members last week to expect the bank to show a presence in the community when the new Fayette branch office opens later this year.

Schwarzbek said he will bring his 15 years of economic development experience to help with Fayette projects and he told to council to expect the bank's participation in local efforts.

"I like to bring money home out of Columbus and Washington, D.C., even bring county money home," he said.

The bank intends to renovate the former theater and grocery building next to the village offices and to use the adjacent vacant lot for a drive-through bank and parking.

"If we move forward with this building, there's going to be a lot of renovation ahead," Schwarzbek said. "One of our goals is to utilize space and utilize downtown locations. I love old architecture. One of the things I want to work on is maintaining and improving good, solid downtowns."

He said it's his intent not only to maintain the existing architectural design, but to improve on it. For example, he's hoping the village council will grant the bank permission to work on the façade of its building, also, to create a uniform appearance across the two structures. He intends to tap a variety of financial resources in that sizable effort.

The renovation project is running behind where Schwarzbek was hoping it would be at this time, and he's still waiting for final environmental and historical reports before the project will move forward. Approval to open a branch office is also needed through bank regulators and the FDIC.

After an experienced branch manager is hired, other personnel will be lined up to operate the office. 

"Our goal is to hire Fayette people," he said.

Schwarzbek urged council to feel free to ask questions about the bank and any projects that it's involved with.

"I'll tell you what I'm thinking," he said. "I'm there to talk through things and work toward resolution."

Schwarzbek said that he applauds Fayette for many of the things he's seen during the short period of time that he's been connected with the community.

ROAD PROJECT—Fayette Community Development president Tom Spiess addressed council in hopes of obtaining support for the Industrial Parkway upgrade proposal to better serve industry.

Spiess said the effort to widen and improve the road has drawn $700,000 in grants from four sources—more than half from the Ohio Public Works Commission—which leaves loans of $250,000. Spiess said the village could make loan repayments through increased property tax revenue, noting that the TRW expansion will double the company's taxes.

Spiess included letters of support for the project from ZF-TRW plant manager Richard O'Loughlin and Indigo 48 president John Jackson. Both stated safety concerns regarding the narrow width and deterioration of the road. O'Loughlin said the current condition of the road accelerates wear on the shuttle trucks that operate between TRW and Indigo.

Fayette Industrial Park owner Sam Witt also wrote about his concerns pertaining to the road's condition, stating that it's a problem that needs to be looked at immediately.

Council member Mat Johnson wondered if any of the industries are willing to contribute financially to the road project. Spiess stated that TRW is investing $3 million in its expansion project.

Johnson claimed that TRW uses Railroad Street more than Industrial Parkway and doesn't think that data presented from that company is pertinent to the discussion.

Spiess estimated there are between 60 and 80 employees in the Fayette Industrial Park building, but Johnson said he estimates the figure is about half that amount.

Traffic from employees and trucks has picked up tremendously on County Road S (Industrial Parkway), Spiess said, and called that "extraordinarily good news for our community."

Initial engineering work and application fees—something required to move forward with grant requests—are expected to cost up to $9,000

"It's a lot more money than I'm willing to spend on something that's not guaranteed," Johnson said.

Councilor Scott Wagner said that council couldn't vote on the issue that night—a request to hire the Arcadis engineering firm for preliminary design work—without time to review the data that Spiess brought to the meeting.

Village administrator Steve Blue said that council has to be willing to go to the next step—paying an engineering firm to create a preliminary design—if the village has any hopes of pinning down funding for the project.

POLICE—Council hired Jessica Elswick of Archbold to serve as a part-time police officer.

WATER—Blue said that he spoke with Steve Snider from the school about a recurring problem of insufficient water pressure for the school's fire suppression system.

Blue said that if the village's high service pump is operating, sufficient pressure is provided. 

"We don't run it all the time because it provides excess pressure," Blue said, "but it can serve if needed."

In another water issue, council approved the expenditure of up to $2,500 to bore under a road and correct a problem at the Fruchey residence where the water flow has slowed to a trickle.

FLOODING—A representative from the Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District looked at the drainage that led to flooding at the Dollar General store. The agency wouldn't pay for a culvert or tile, Blue said, because projects must be related to agriculture.

The drainage work was completed in the 1970s by the Army Corps of Engineers, said mayor Ruth Marlatt, and she wondered if that agency could be involved now in solving the problem.

Blue noted that a storm drain that passes behind the funeral home does not function.

PAST DUE—Council approved a list of delinquent water accounts to pass on to the county for placement on the next tax bill. One final letter will be sent to give customers an opportunity to pay.

All but two are closed accounts and several are from one apartment complex where tenants have moved out.

INSURANCE—Council voted to continue to purchase health insurance for village employees through the BORMA group. Members participating in the consortium are able to opt out of coverage every three years.