Elmore: Claar assumes mayor's office

Larry Limpf

One of Rick Claar’s first official actions as mayor of the Village of Elmore was to authorize the purchase of a new chair for the village fiscal officer.
“It wasn’t a big deal. But the old chair wasn’t safe,” he joked last week.
Claar, who was president of village council, was sworn in as mayor following the Sept. 25 resignation of Matt Damschroder, who stepped down as part of a settlement reached in Ottawa County Municipal Court where he pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge.
The former mayor also agreed to not seek election or appointment to any public office for 10 years and to enter the court’s diversion program.
“I have enjoyed my 20 plus years of Elmore politics,” Damschroder wrote in his resignation letter. “I only want what is best for the Village and its residents.”
Claar will fill Damschroder’s mayoral term that ends Dec. 31.
Claar and James Krumnow, the brother of former mayor Lowell Krumnow, are the only candidates on the Nov. 5 ballot for the mayor’s seat for the next four years.
Claar said he’s invoked a provision in the Ohio Revised Code that keeps his seat on council vacant until the November race is decided. If he doesn’t win the race he’ll have the option of completing the final two years of his term on council.
Regardless of what seat he occupies, Claar is hoping village officials can bridge some of what he sees as divisiveness that’s overshadowed some issues.
One example: A proposal to develop a walking trail along a portion of Riverbend Park in Elmore was tabled last year by council.
Under the proposal, about half of the park would have been left unmowed except for where a walking trail would be located. The mowing would have been stopped to let a grasslands area develop around the trail.
Claar said council sought information from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on whether the park is a viable location for planting wildflowers and other vegetation to attract birds and wildlife.
Then mayor Damschroder was dismissive of the idea and opposed letting the park lawn grow into grassland, saying he feared it would attract ticks and mosquitoes.
The matter roiled some residents who voiced their feelings on social media and the proposal is still tabled.


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