Marble Cliff Mayor Kent Studebaker must have been smiling when he was driving recently to the airport to pick up his son, who was flying in from Los Angeles.
Undoubtedly, he was happy to see his son, but he also was pleased with what he saw as he turned onto Dublin Road toward Interstate 670.
"It was about 9 or 9:30 in the morning and the parking lot at the old NiSource building at 1600 Dublin Road was about three-fourths full," Studebaker said.
"We're reliant on our income tax revenue and it's good to see our empty business spaces filling up on Dublin Road and Fifth Avenue."
The increased activity at 1600 Dublin Road is especially heartening, since the property had sat mostly idle since NiSource moved its operations out of the village years ago, he said.
"Seeing the parking lot beginning to fill up gives a sense of a healthy environment for business in Marble Cliff," Studebaker said.
The village will continue working toward stabilizing its financial base in 2013, he said.
"We did achieve significant steps in improving our budget situation, in terms of the amount of revenues coming in versus expenditures going out," Studebaker said.
The village will find out this year whether the Ohio Public Works Commission approves its applications for grants to help fund streets and sewer repairs on the section of West Third Avenue that lies within the village.
"With a village our age, infrastructure will surprise us at times," Studebaker said. "We've taken steps to dedicate funds for projects that need attention and this OPWC grant would certainly help."
The mayor said he is excited about a project that will occur late next year.
Students from the city and regional planning program at Ohio State's Knowlton School of Architecture will participate in a term-long project studying various aspects of Marble Cliff, Studebaker said.
"We will be learning soon which faculty member we will be working with to help identify the village issues they will be examining," he said. "We had originally looked at hiring someone to help us look at our business environment, but this project will allow us to look at a broader range of issues."
With a new five-year contract with Grandview Heights adopted last year, the village will continue to be able to provide its residents high-quality police, fire, parks and recreation and refuse services, Studebaker said.
"We continue to have a strong, warm relationship with Grandview," he said.
Four Village Council seats will be up for election in 2013, but for the next year, residents will continue to enjoy the leadership of "a council that works so well together," Studebaker said. "And in Cindy McKay and Bill Johannes, we have one of the best staffs anywhere. They really help us to keep things running smoothly."