Tipp City residents concerned over city’s appearance

TIPP CITY — A group of residents brought their concerns over the appearance of Tipp City at Monday’s in-person council meeting.

“We all have one thing in common: our love for Tipp City. We have another thing in common, and that’s concern over the drastic decline in appearance in our town,” Tipp City resident Cheryl Zawadski said.

Zawadski, along with Tipp City resident Marsha Kremer, called attention to the condition of the exit ramps off of the interstate, as well as the condition of the properties that are immediately seen when commuters first enter Tipp City — most notably BP, Speedway, and Tipp City Plaza. They presented council with photos that were taken of untrimmed bushes and overgrown weeds, as well as a document outlining their concerns with questions for council.

“As you look at it, it looks like our city is a failing community — not the thriving city we know Tipp City is. So we came before you today … and we just want to know, what’s the goal? Moving forward, how can we give Tipp City a fresh face and make it a community we’re very proud of? Because we do love our community, and we want it to be a thriving place where people want to come in … and make it a great place,” Zawadski said.

Council was first presented with design options for an interchange beautification project on Nov. 2, 2021, from Artie Spaw, an architect with KZF Designs. Several members of council addressed this in regard to Zawadski and Kremer’s concerns, citing that the city has budgeted funds for this project and they’re currently working on choosing a design and moving forward with that project, which will begin construction in 2023 according to the city’s capital improvement plan. Likewise, the interstate is governed by state regulations, and the city is currently trying to acquire the property to be able to control the mowing and pavers.

“We have engineer drawings that we can’t decide on — that’s our problem. With the levy passing, it’s in our capital improvement budget. We have to decide on what we like, what’s going to be the best option — we all have our own opinions on what’s going to look better,” Council President Katelyn Berbach said.

It was also highlighted that property owners are responsible for mowing and maintaining their properties. There are ordinances in the city’s legislation that address issues that arise with property maintenance, and Berbach noted that it is mostly complaint-based, and there isn’t much recourse beyond notifying the property owner of complaints. Mayor Joseph Gibson confirmed that the city is working on a more easily enforceable code to improve property maintenance in the city.

“I can tell you that there is legislation that’s being proposed and being drafted that is called the property maintenance code,” Gibson said. “That addresses issues that you’ve raised — condition of parking lots, weeds, tall grass. A draft of that was circulated to a couple of members of council before we put that on for public hearing. It’s been a joint effort from several council members, and those questions are being addressed. We’re trying to be tougher on some of these property owners for the very reasons and issues you’ve raised here.”

Gibson added that the property maintenance code will be made public at some point this summer.

Other things that were cleared up was that the city can only use COVID relief money for COVID-related expenses, such as creating no-touch surface areas, installing automatic doors, and items specifically for cleaning and disinfecting.

“I think we all agree with you; I don’t think there’s anything on here that we disagree with. It’s just a matter of, how do we get there from here with the limited power and the limited budget we have,” council member Mike Jackson said.

The following items were also approved unanimously at Monday’s meeting:

• An ordinance amending current language regarding employee education, training and other expenses for all city employees not covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

• A resolution completing the Miami County Tax Budget Process under the “Alternate” tax budget process.

• A resolution establishing Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) no. 11 and allows the city the ability to provide tax incentives to commercial and/or industrial properties consistent with the applicable zoning regulations within the designated CRA no. 11.

The next Tipp City Council meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 21.