Swanton Mayor Ann Roth is being challenged by Neil Toeppe, Swanton Area Chamber of Commerce president.
Roth, 60, is seeking her third term as mayor of Swanton. She is a Wauseon High School graduate, and studied business at the University of Cincinnati.
She is married, has four children and four grandchildren. Civic organizations include being a past board member for the Swanton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Fulton County Chapter of American Red Cross, a past member of the Waterville Rotary and Swanton’s Table of Contests library fundraiser, a former Elks Lodge member, and a current member of the Swanton Rotary.
Why are you running for office? To continue the progress that myself, Village Council, and the administration has so diligently worked on, with improvements in water, sewer, streets, code enforcement, fire, and police protection. I am personally proud of the research and subsequent recommendations of the Swanton Planning Commission and the Swanton Tree Commission that have led, and will continue to improve, livability in Swanton.
I am anxious to be involved making decisions about sewer separations, street reconstructions, the Safe Routes to School Initiative, the improvements to Memorial Park, and the reconstruction of the downtown alleys which will happen next summer! All of these are imperative to the success of Swanton, and build the base for every other type of improvement or advancement.
Why should people vote for you? I have represented the Village of Swanton professionally here and in Fulton and Lucas counties. A once-negative view of Swanton has been reversed, and our neighbors in Fulton and Lucas counties now see Swanton as a cooperative asset to northwest Ohio due, in large part, to my participation.
The relationships I have made and the committees I serve upon have appreciated my contributions and recognize Swanton now where little participation existed previously. I am also the representative of Swanton on the Fulton County EMS and EMA boards. The county EMS Board has begun the process for our next renewal levy for the countywide EMS services, and it is imperative that our seven fire departments run cohesively and that they are adequately funded. I am well-versed in the intricacies of these matters, and have devoted much research and have led these discussions.
What are your two main goals if elected? There are crucial decisions to be made regarding Fulton County-wide EMS services and how monies will be collected and dispersed. My first goal is to make sure that Swanton receives necessary funding to continue our excellent fire and rescue operations.
Secondly, I am currently working with the Fulton County Economic Development director, the Lucas County Development director, and the Regional Growth Partnership in locating potential businesses for Swanton, such as additional medical services, which are in great demand, along with hospitality and restaurant businesses that will benefit from the increasing attraction of the Metroparks system.
Thirdly, I will continue actively examining our codes and ordinances regarding all aspects of the village through the recommendations of the Planning Commission to ensure easier understanding, promoting safety and well-maintained properties, sidewalks, and signage. Additionally, the administrator and I are working on a re-branding of Swanton, with videos, new signage, and social media improvements.
What, as mayor, would you do to help encourage growth in Swanton? As I stated previously, forging relationships with Fulton County Economic Development, Lucas County Economic Development, and the Regional Growth Partnership will lead to Swanton’s economic success.
This past spring and summer, I personally toured these Lucas County professionals around Swanton, with our conversation focused on our Lucas County portion, as no one had ever contacted or invited them before. They were impressed and surprised that Swanton has so much to offer. I have been working with the Fulton County Economic Development director since last year, planning for downtown revitalization with incentive packages, and in the coming year we will be able to launch some new programs to benefit many downtown and village-wide businesses.
Toeppe, 74, is President of the Swanton Area Chamber of Commerce and seeking his first elected public office. He attended the University of Toledo and is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
He is married to Eileen with a son and two grandsons. Civic organizations include chamber president, Swanton Public Library Board President, Swanton, Ohio Historical Society President and founder, vice president of Fulton County Visitor Bureau Board, past vice presdient of Fulton County Community Improvement Board, past executive committee board member for Fulton County Economic Development Corporation, co-founder and past vice president of Nothwest Ohio Benefit Alliance, member and past commander of American Legion Post #479, past president of Swanton Area Community Coaltion, and past president of Communications Workers of America Local 4319.
Why are you running for office? As the President of The Swanton Chamber of Commerce I have often heard – Why isn’t there more business on Main Street? There are several reasons for that, and I have been working to change that. Over the past two years I have helped in the revitalization of Main Street by helping and encouraging numerous business to locate on Main Street. They are: Younique Boutique, The Posh Pallet Boutique, Gypsy Soul Creations, Steals and Deals, Switchback Crossing Cafe, Benfield Wines, and another anticipated retail store. Visit anyone of these businesses and ask them about how I have supported them. And I am very proud that they support my candidacy. These businesses need a lot of customers to thrive and one way to help is for there to be an attraction to bring visitors into town.
Study after study prove that an historical attraction does just that. To that end I formed a 501(c)(3) non- profit charity, the Swanton Ohio Historical Society, to do two things: First to collect, archive and share historical images, documents and artifacts so the history of Swanton is not lost to time and fading memories.
Second is for the Historical Society to be a tax-deductible fundraising entity to bring history to life on Chestnut Street right around the corner of Main Street. Village Council last April unanimously approved the use of the space directly behind and to the east of the Swan Laundry for the creation of a Railroad Park. The park will include the relocation of the historic Brailey Depot and the construction of a two-level viewing platform.
The village has stated that they have no funds for this project and have given me two years to raise the funds necessary to bring this to fruition. With the donation of the depot, the value of the land and additional funds for parking green space, construction costs the project tops a bit over $509,000. I have worked with the following: Governor of Ohio’s area representative, the lieutenant governor’s representative, State Representative Jim Hoops, and State Senator Rob McColley. I will be submitting a request to the state legislature asking for a grant from the 2020 state capital budget of $150,000 to help with this project. I have also received many financial commitments from individuals and businesses to make this a reality. So “Why am I running for mayor?” Because not only do I have a vision to revitalize Main Street, I have the energy, experience and ability to make it happen. When, not if, I am successful with this project the village will have a new half million-dollar park whose funding was raised without Swanton taxpayer dollars.
Why should people vote for you? As a resident of the Swanton community for the past 35 years, and actively involved in many aspects of the community, from helping form and lead the Swanton Area Community Coalition to help prevent youth use of illegal substances, to service on the Swanton Library Board for over 12 years and being selected by my fellow board members to lead the library, to serving as vice president of the Fulton County Visitors Bureau Board, to being selected as the 2018 Corn Festival Grand Marshal because of my many years of community involvement I think I am uniquely aware of a broad range of community issues and needs and have the ability to effect positive change and growth.
What are your two main goals if elected? Goal 1. Revitalization of Main Street. Bring more retail and visitors to Swanton. Goal 2. It would also be nice to be able to pay our police officers more, so they don’t leave for higher pay in other communities after we have trained them and then we must start the cycle anew.
What, as mayor, would you do to help encourage growth in Swanton? One of my concerns is that, to my knowledge (I have been informed by several current village council members), the village budget does not include an Economic Development line item. They deal with “economic development” in an ad hoc manner. That needs to change.
For years we have been told that we cannot attract industry because we are land locked by our village boundaries. This is true and will remain so unless we start dedicating a portion of our budget to economic development. Should we do that, over time, we would amass funds to purchase and develop land contiguous to the village for commercial and/or industrial development. I would take a hard look at our current finances and budget and see where expenses might be reduced and redirect those monies to an Economic Development line item.