OTTAWA — Frustration topped the agenda at the Feb. 24 Village of Ottawa Council meeting, producing a stream of discussion about the potential for downtown Ottawa becoming a ghost town due to flooding.

Doug and Karen Schroeder, co-owners of the Schroeder Building located on the northeast corner of W. Main Street and N. Walnut Street, as well as the Odd Fellows Hall building on E. Main Street, took the floor to voice their concerns over the glacial pace of flood mitigation efforts.

“We came here to try and get the downtown reinvented,” said Doug Schroeder. “At least that was our intention after the flood of ‘07. We want everyone to be aware when one business fails, it hurts us all.”

The Schroeders will be losing a major tenant as Putnam Home Care and Hospice intends to vacate their current offices at 139 Court St. for new space in the former location of The Meadows of Glandorf.

Council member Gene Hovest stated that the Village has done everything they can do to date to help with flood mitigation. Ottawa Clerk Treasurer Barb Hermiller informed council that she received a communication from Ohio Representative Lynn Wachtmann (R-81) stating that he would like to attend an upcoming meeting of the Blanchard River Flood Mitigation Coalition in order to bring some new options to the table.

Municipal Director Jack Williams informed council that the Putnam County Commissioners agreed to pass a formal resolution in support of the Village’s flood mitigation efforts.

Ottawa Fire Chief Dan Rieman approached council with an update regarding the fire department’s proposal for funding through the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. During the Dec. 9, 2013, council meeting, Rieman appealed to council for some means to expedite the bidding process should his department locate a ladder truck to replace an older one which is not certified. The research team found a suitable truck just prior to the December meeting, but the vehicle was sold to another fire department before Rieman could consult members of council. He said that more suitable ladder trucks have come to their attention since that time.
n response, council agreed to provide Rieman with a letter of support to include with the AFG grant application. Law Director Joseph Schroeder noted that council has the option to call a 12-hour emergency meeting to discuss a ladder truck purchase should the fire department locate a certifiable truck.

Improvements are moving forward in Ottawa’s Memorial Park. Council member Jo Deskins spoke on behalf of the park’s lighting committee, stating that the committee wishes to broaden the scope of their efforts. The committee has produced an informative brochure which outlines the Memorial Park Capital Campaign that will raise funds not only for lighting but also for other renovations to the recreational area between N. Locust St. and E. 11th St. The committee’s gaol through the campaign is $220,000. Deskins renewed the committee’s appeal to council for capital campaign support.

“We have to take the lead and show we’re going to invest in our community,” said Yant. Council President Tim Macke suggested reallocating $15,000 from the Village’s 2014 budget and recommended that council vote to appropriate $11,000 each year for the next nine years to be drafted for payment to the Memorial Park Capital Campaign. Council approved.