Many people have asked exactly what I plan to do on Council to help Middletown. It is a difficult question to answer. The problems our community faces are complicated and the solutions will not be quick or easy. But I believe one key is to bring a new energy, passion and commitment to find ideas and address issues with a fresh approach to how cities today operate and succeed.
I do not claim to have all the solutions. But what I do have is a vision. A vision that looks beyond the confines of a small town and opens our city to the possibilities of what innovation, sustainability and creative partnerships can do.
We don’t have to take small steps to try and survive, we can take bold steps to make us thrive.
I believe the current administration has laid out and made good headway on a strategic plan which addresses many of the tribulations from the previous decade. I want to lay alongside those plans new ideas, as well as bring new relationships to Middletown that will set us on a path to flourish and grow for the next 100 years.
Those plans include things like building LEED-certified green firehouses when we expand our portfolio, which both makes us a more sustainable city as well as potentially brings in more grant monies and improves our community appeal. We need to find partners with virtuous cycle programs such as BrightFarms, who builds greenhouses in underperforming neighborhoods providing job training, employment, and fruits and vegetables which then are sold in local food deserts (areas with no groceries) and into supermarket chains. We need to better capitalize on the assets of our city, with the highway, river, airport, industrial space, downtown and convenient location by thinking regionally and making relationships with our neighboring communities to build up southwest Ohio as an attractive place to visit, locate a business, and live. We need to continue to partner on ways to address the opioid crisis, building up community-based solutions and identifying more treatment program partners while staying tough on crime and making Middletown an uncomfortable place to buy, sell and do drugs.
Will all of these ideas pan out? Not all of them, but there will be some that do find traction and more to come as we evolve as a city. I have spent 25 years living in large metropolitan areas where I’ve seen and worked on projects that take problems and turn them into opportunities. I had the vision to buy the former JC Penney building downtown and turn it into a thriving destination with a restaurant, yoga and wellness studio, kids play place, hair salon, gym, escape room and many offices in just over one year.
Where some may look across Middletown and see the negatives, I view our city as full of opportunities to build a vibrant future for the next 100 years.