The Delaware County board of commissioners Feb. 25 announced plans to rename the pedestrian pavilion between the county Hayes Building and courthouse in downtown Delaware as the Jon Peterson Memorial Plaza.

Peterson was county treasurer when he died Oct. 10, 2019, at age 65 after a heart procedure at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

He had been elected to three terms as treasurer and earlier served five terms as a state representative. He also was the pastor of Zion United Church of Christ in Delaware.

While in the state legislature, Peterson was credited with advocacy for children and adults with autism, people with mental illnesses or physical and developmental disabilities, and children facing hunger.

"We have been trying to think of a fitting way to honor his memory and have found one," commissioner Gary Merrell said at the board's annual State of the County event Feb. 25 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

The Hayes Building and courthouse are between North Sandusky and North Union streets in Delaware.

"This beautiful space has become a real gathering spot for our employees," Merrell said, "and the windows of the treasurer's office overlook it."

A dedication ceremony will be held at the site at 2 p.m. May 5.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a former Delaware County auditor and prosecutor and Peterson's longtime friend, is expected to participate.

Also during the board's Feb. 25 event, commissioner Barb Lewis spotlighted three collaborations with local organizations that are yielding positive results.

They are the Delaware County Housing Coalition, which brought together organizations to tackle problems with housing affordability and discrimination; the Delaware County Pre-Hospital Care System Advisory Board, which is rebuilding relationships among emergency medical services providers; and the Stepping Up Initiative.

Stepping Up, Lewis said, "provides proper recovery treatment and healing for nonviolent offenders with mental-health challenges."

One of the initiative's pilot programs already has reduced the rate of jail inmates returning to incarceration from 58% to 32% in the county, she said.

"It's a win-win for (inmates), their families and the county's taxpayers," Lewis said, "by reducing the costs of incarceration."

Commissioners also unveiled several short videos that highlight the people of Delaware County government and what they do.

"We felt that video is a very effective way to reach the public and help them better understand the wide variety of services that county governments provide," said Jane Hawes, the county's director of communications.

The videos can be viewed at tinyurl.com/delawarevids.

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