HEBRON – Village Administrator Mike McFarland told village council members Oct. 12 that he will retire at the end of the year.
McFarland started working for his hometown about 15 years ago after taking an early retirement offer from AT&T. He started his public career as income tax administrator, but was promoted to village administrator some 10 years ago.
“I have enjoyed working for Hebron,” he told The Beacon. “I have been treated very well.”
“It’s time to go do something else,” he added. A top priority is spending more time with his young grandchildren. “I’m not looking for a job,” he emphasized. “If I was, I would stay here.”
Council members discussed the search for his replacement at Monday night’s combined committees meeting. At least initially, applicants will be sought via local advertising – see notice on Page 11 – and the International City/ County Management Association. Resumes are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4. The position will remain open until filled.
In other business Monday night, Glenna Jones, secretary/ treasurer of the Hebron Business Association and chair of the Hebron Music and Arts Festival, outlined some needed improvements at Canal Park. She told council members the festival passed its critical four-year hurdle to become affiliated with the Ohio Festivals & Events Association.
“We ran it on a shoestring of just over $15,000 this year,” she said. One of the costs is renting a generator and installing temporary wiring to exhibitors and vendors. Jones said they discovered at the last minute that electricity is available in the park. It only requires updating the electrical box connections. She also would like to have easier access to water.
Jones said there is strong interest, not only from HBA, for a permanent stage. It would have saved them more than $2,500 for the last two festivals.
Council President Scott Walters, speaking on behalf of HBA, asked for some village assistance with the street banner program. “We’ll (HBA) continue to buy them if the street department will put them up and take them down,” he said. Currently, there are two sets of banners, but HBA is considering adding another.
McFarland suggested that the village rent a bucket truck to do the job safely rather than lifting someone in the bucket on Union Township’s Gradall or the village’s backhoe. “It needs to be done safely,” he said. “We don’t have a machine to do that.”
He said the cost would be small and there’s room for it in next year’s budget. A plan will be put together outlining the steps and costs to update electrical service in the park and provide better access to water. McFarland asked Jones for some suggestions on a design for a permanent stage.
“We want to get it where it is not a burden to use the park,” she concluded.
McFarland also discussed the status of the village’s draft exterior property maintenance code, following the second open house discussion held last week. “I suggest we step back and take a breath,” he told council members. He proposed giving community development coordinator Andie Myers some time to make revisions and work out some “murky” enforcement issues. No one objected.
McFarland reported that Licking County is reorganizing its economic developments efforts into a Community Improvement Corporation at the Licking County Chamber of Commerce. The new CIC will be funded by developers, the chamber and local governments. He said Hebron’s suggested contribution is $10,000 per year. More details will be available soon and CIC representatives will attend a future council meeting to answer questions. A financial contribution is not required, but it will give the village a seat on the board. “You need to be in there,” he added.
Administrative assistant Linda Nicodemus outlined a list of park improvements that she and Public Works Administrator Kenny Nauer drew up. “Canal Park is in desperate need of some help,” she told council members. The list includes:
• Upgrading electric boxes at Canal Park;
• Permanent stage, possibly concrete, at Canal Park;
• Sand volleyball court at Canal Park – cost would be minimal with the street department crew doing the work;
• Dog park in Sunny Acres – believes cost would be low since it only requires some fencing and a couple of gates;
• Adding trees to the new disc golf course and the walking path at Evans Park;
• Extending the walking trail at Evans;
• Building a family shelterhouse at Evans; and
• Adding drinking fountains.
“It is a list of things to think about,” McFarland said.
He also reported that the repaving/ culvert replacement project has been completed. Refugee Road was repaved from the corporation limit to 9th Street with 9th being resurfaced to US 40. A new culvert was placed under the entrance to Evans Park. Most of the work was funded by a grant.
Council’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the municipal complex.