Canal Winchester City Council entered 2018 under new leadership and welcomed new faces to a group that will guide the city for at least the next two years.
Bruce Jarvis, who begins the third year of his four-year term, was elected president during council's Jan. 2 organizational meeting. Mike Walker, who was elected in 2015, will serve as vice president.
"There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm and fresh ideas that will come in with the new (council members)," said Jarvis, who also served on council from 1996 to 2009. "All three of them are positive and looking forward to pitching in, and that's what you want to see. They're enthusiastic about what they're doing, and they love the city."
Patrick Lynch, Michael Coolman and incumbent Will Bennett won three seats but the race for the fourth seat wasn't officially decided until an automatic recount supported the election-night choice of Jill Amos over Bob Toledo.
Longtime council member Bobbie Mershon lost her re-election bid in a race that had six candidates competing for four seats. Elected to seven terms over 28 years, Mershon may be the longest-serving Canal Winchester City Council member.
Last year's council president, Steve Donahue, did not seek re-election. There was an open seat left by Jim Wynkoop, who died in August.
"Turnover is healthy, and this is part of it," Jarvis said. "You get some fresh perspective and a fresh set of eyes from the people coming in ... I think all three are going to have their own ideas."
As part of the city's strategic plan, parks and recreation will remain a focus in 2018, Jarvis said. The city purchased land last year from Kathleen McGill for more than $775,000 to develop a multipurpose park with recreational fields, playgrounds and courts.
"The city's acquisition of the new parkland shows that our city values its residents, both young and young at heart, by providing them a place to practice and play," said Amos.
Commercial development, following the success of Canal Pointe, an industrial and office park located at U.S. Route 33 and Diley Road, will likely be a priority in 2018, according to Jarvis.
"We're almost to the point where we don't have enough real estate to offer anybody," he said. "One of the things that's going to be on the plate for council is working with the administration on finding where that next industrial park might go."
Council meets at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 10 N. High St., on the first and third Mondays of the month. Council work sessions are scheduled at 6 p.m. on those days. One work session focuses on finance and economic development, and the second work session focuses on service and safety.
Other assignments include Patrick Lynch as council's representative to Canal Winchester Human Services; Mike Walker as a Destination: Canal Winchester board member; Bob Clark as council's representative to the Canal Winchester Industry and Commerce Corp.; and Amos and Will Bennet as council representatives to the Canal Winchester Joint Recreation District.