Northwood saw economic development, lower crime rate last year

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Northwood, like communities across the country, has undergone economic and social disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But Northwood Mayor Edward Schimmel, in his state of the city address, said the “state of our community continues to be strong.”
        “Last year, we continued to provide our residents, businesses and students with excellent city services and examples of community reinvestment, bold vision and timely business incentives. We set in motion a community-generated vision to redevelop our largest blemish, the abandoned Woodville Mall site, and refined programs to advance our economic stature and improve our quality of life by addressing pedestrian connectivity and traffic flow issues along our major thoroughfares.”
        Schimmel noted that the city started this year with a positive balance sheet due to stable general revenues and income taxes.
        “While our income tax collections were only slightly decreased last year, we were able to take in more than $600,000 than we spent, and our reserve balance, which is close to $15 million, is at levels unlike other communities our size in Northwest Ohio,” said Schimmel.
        The city has witnessed its 10th year of declining crime largely due to investments made in the 24 member police department, according to Schimmel.
        Traffic crashes were down by over 22 percent, with no fatalities. Crimes of all types were down 7.5 percent from the previous year.
        “Access to transparency is a benchmark of our policing efforts,” he said. All of the police department’s dispatch logs and police reports can be accessed by going to the police department’s web page at
        “Under the direction of Chief Thomas Cairl, the police department has continued its tradition of quality policing service,” he said.
        The 41-member Fire/EMS department under the leadership of Fire Chief Joel Whitmore, continues its progressive outreach efforts with residents and the schools to decrease runs and fire events within the city. Even so, the department responded to 1,012 calls for emergency service, a slight decrease from the previous year. Due to COVID concerns, the department suspended or restricted most non-emergency operations.
        As the pandemic situation may allow, the fire department will continue to conduct proactive programs like “Home fire safety assessments” that can result in the installation of free smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Department personnel also plan to again work diligently in the classrooms of the Northwood Local Schools to educate students on the many aspects of fire prevention, according to Schimmel.
        “Even during this trying time, our fire and EMS personnel continually strove to be the best in their profession, meeting, and many times exceeding, necessary training hours to make our community safer while providing round-the-clock fire and EMS staffing.
Mayor’s Court
        Clerk of Mayor’s Court Laura Schroeder handled a decrease in the number of citations from the previous year due to the effects of the pandemic. To streamline the citation process, the public is able to pay their citations online or over the phone through a third party company called Court Solutions.
        In January, 2020, the Zoning Department launched an online permitting system accessible through the city’s website at The city issued almost 300 permits last year, doubling the number issued in 2019.
        Through the leadership of Public Works Director Craig Meier and City Engineer Dave Kuhn, the city’s infrastructure is stable and being continuously improved, according to Schimmel.
        Last year, the city completed $500,000 in road resurfacing, curb or sidewalk projects on streets or portions of streets that included Piper Drive, Lear Drive, Carvelle Drive, Zepplin Court, Sheffield Place, Beachcraft Drive, Coy Road and Oak Street.
        Also last year, the Brentwood Park Concession/Restroom facility was completed. It is slated to open this spring. The city was also the recipient of the largest state capital budget allocation in Wood County history, with $1 million being awarded to help fund a community center that will be located at “The Enclave,” a mixed use development at the former Woodville Mall site.  In addition to the grant, the city also received a $50,000 grant to help construct an ADA accessible fishing dock at Ranger Park.
        “Because our prime corridors are the face of our community, 2021 will witness a continuation of an Oregon Road improvement process that began four years ago with a pedestrian connectivity and road improvement project,” he said. The city will work in coordination with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Wood County Engineer, and Owens Community College.
        This year, plans call for the creation of a special improvement district with the aim of beautifying the corridor with amenities like lighting, landscaping and additional sidewalks.
        “These elements and public investments, when coupled with the recent zoning code updates and economic development incentives, should help increase property values and continue the marketability of Oregon Road property,” he said.
Some of Wood County’s largest and most productive businesses are located along Oregon Road.
        “These improvements will allow residents and employees to move along the corridor more efficiently than ever before.”
Economic Development
        The economic development tools that the city has refined over the past few years, like the Woodville Road Renewal and Façade Grant program and the Community Reinvestment Area program helped spur over $10 million in property investments in the city. The CRA program was fundamental in helping to attract the $10 million RISE Commercial project that is expected to bring over 400 jobs and $14.6 million in new payroll when completed next year.
        This year will witness the culmination of a grassroots effort that began in 2018 with several public visioning sessions that helped to frame “The Enclave,” a mixed use development that will include Northwood’s first Main Street and a multitude of public amenities, including a community center, public park, and walking trails.
        “This community project has been a major effort of my administration and we continue to take progressive, bold steps to make this a place that the public helped to plan,” he said.
        The planning and zoning office continues to take a proactive approach towards reducing nuisances that pervade neighborhoods, he said.
         “We aim to increase our resources on the property maintenance front through the hiring of an additional code enforcement officer to help to address property blight and reduce the number of vacant buildings,” he said.
        “Our neighborhoods shouldn’t be the responsibility of a few people. I am calling on every resident to assist us in revitalizing our neighborhoods. Your efforts to keep your property tidy, well-maintained and report issues will promote the livability and desirability of Northwood, which will attract more housing and businesses over time,” he said.
        Other important projects started or completed last year include:
        •A grant of $125,000 from ODOT’s Jobs and Commerce Program to improve signalization at Wales and Oregon roads and assist with the RISE Commercial project on Arbor Drive;
        •An $82,000 Community Development Block Grant to help improve pedestrian connectivity along Maryland Place;
        •Northwood and the Northwest Water and Sewer District worked on solutions that aim to improve the marketability of the The Enclave;
        •Developed new commercial zoning regulations that aim to promote better aesthetics and visuals along Oregon and Wales roads;
        •Advanced the safety study along Woodville Road to promote safety and pedestrian connectivity along the corridor. The aim is to attain 90 percent funding for a roundabout at Woodville and Lemoyne roads that will promote pedestrian connectivity between the adjacent neighborhoods and the schools.


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