Marysville Mayor John Gore has a long list of highlights for the city in 2013, but there is one that tops his list.
"We advocated for a change in government. And it was successful," he said. "The voters accepted our recommendation to go away from a part-time mayor.
"With that change in government, we're guaranteeing there will always be a professional running the city. That's been my goal for 14 years, since I was on city council."
Marysville currently follows a mayor-director-council model of government, but thanks to a city charter amendment approved in November, that will change to a council-manager government beginning Jan. 1, 2016.
The title of director of administration will be changed to city manager. The charter amendment requires that the person in that post have executive and administrative experience. The city manager will be Marysville's chief executive officer.
"I'm having the time of my life," Gore said. "I feel so lucky to be in this position, but it's a part-time job that has no minimum requirements."
Sister city pact
Another top story for 2013 as far as Gore is concerned didn't happen until the last quarter of the year: the economic development trade mission to Japan he made in September and the reciprocating visit in December from a Japanese delegation to sign a sister-city agreement between Marysville and Yorii, Japan.
Gore and Eric Phillips, executive director of the Union County Economic Development Partnership, traveled to Japan Sept. 6 as part of a Columbus 2020 delegation, along with representatives from Logan County and Hancock County.
Other major accomplishments for the city include infrastructure upgrades. The new Police and Court Facility at the corner of Raymond Road and West Fifth Street opened in April. Construction on the $13.1-million facility started in October 2011. The 48,300-square-foot building and a 6,000-square-foot proficiency and qualification center sit on 13.5 acres.
Marysville's new City Hall and a second fire station opened Nov. 22. Construction began in October 2012 on the $5.7-million, 29,311-square-foot facility.
Other upgrades in 2013 included a $1.8-million Ohio Department of Transportation project to improve the state Route 4 bridge over U.S. Route 33. The $530,000 Town Run project started at the end of August and should be complete in the spring. It includes the restoration and stabilization of approximately 700 feet of unstable and eroding stream banks.
Gore also pointed out that a lot of time in 2013 was spent developing a relationship with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in discussions to turn Marysville's water reservoir on Raymond Road into a recreational park, complete with boating and fishing.
"We have a solid plan that in 2015, our reservoir will be a developed recreational reservoir," said Gore.
The city is working with ODNR to develop the reservoir into a park with boat ramps, fishing, motorized boating and additional parking. It hopes to get the work done with grant funds and estimates the project to be approximately $800,000.
Gore is also proud of a plan to build Partners Park that will occupy the block surrounded by Plum, Sixth and Main streets with contributions from Memorial Hospital of Union County, Honda Marysville and Union Rural Electric. Construction on the $1.16-million project is scheduled to begin in January and be finished by June 1.
Honda of America Manufacturing made a couple of announcements in 2013 that spell nothing but good news for the community, Gore said.
In May, Honda announced a $70-million project to build the Acura NSX in Marysville. And in August, the company announced it will construct a $35-million new building on its Marysville campus as part of a $215-million expansion project in Ohio. That 160,000-square-foot building will be used for training and offices and will include a public "heritage center" that will showcase the company's history and work in the state.
Other development in 2013 involved medical facilities.
Memorial Hospital of Union County began construction of a $7.5-million project that will include a new medical office building at 120 Coleman's Crossing Blvd.
Nationwide Children's Hospital broke ground this fall for a $4.6-million Close to Home Center at 100 Coleman's Crossing Blvd. It is expected to create 40 new jobs, accompanied by an investment of approximately $6 million in capital for the building, with about $2 million annually in salaries and benefits.
"I think there are so many good things going on," Gore said. "We're a growing community. We have to do things right and plan for the future.
"It may sound corny, but where would it be better to live, work and play than Marysville, Ohio?"