January Council Message by Vice Mayor Craig Margolis
The year 2020 was one for the history books. I think we could all agree it has been a unique and challenging year, and our thoughts go out to anyone who has suffered a loss due to the pandemic. Through it all, the City has been steadfast in continuing to provide services and be here when you need us. Sometimes we had to deliver the usual services in unusual ways. Here is a brief look at some of what we have done over the year and how we have reacted.
Because of the emergency order issued by the State of Ohio, the City adopted hybrid meetings. The meetings are conducted using Zoom, teleconference, and also in person. This format has given the citizens of Montgomery a chance to participate in their government from the comfort and safety of their homes and ensured the City that public input was being heard.
How do you maintain a long-standing tradition of the Independence Day Parade during a pandemic? With a healthy dose of creativity, of course! City Staff reimagined the parade by reversing it. Instead of people crowding the streets to see parade floats drive by, the floats remained stationary while the viewers drove past. The idea was so innovative it was picked by such media outlets as NPR, Fox News, and the BBC. All -the traditional participants were there, circus clowns, the fire department, and community organizations.
Why I Love My Community
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee activities have gained region-wide recognition through the nomination of the CLIMB award by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and a Local Government Innovation Award during the 2020 Alliance for Innovation Transforming Local Government Conference. These awards recognize organizations that develop inclusive communities and build on the belief that diversity builds a successful and attractive community.
The Project Takes Shape
The Montgomery Quarter and roundabout projects have made significant progress. Construction is well underway in the midst of much economic uncertainty. The development team announced the first anchor tenant and is busy securing additional tenants. The roundabout is on schedule and is anticipated to be complete by early summer 2021.
Working as a Team
The City government workplace was in the news again, winning, for the second year in a row, a Top Workplace award by the Cincinnati Enquirer. This award does not occur by accident. It is the result of continuous improvement and consistent efforts to create a top workplace culture. The team attends High-Performance Organization training, engages in extensive cross-training, and is directed by our skilled City Manager.
City Boards and Commissions Continued
Because of stay-at-home orders and a reluctance to congregate, the Arts Commission re-invented the Live at the Uni event. It adapted it to Zoom technology bringing first-class musical performances to the confines of our homes.
Fright Night for the Family with a Twist
Borrowing on the Independence Day reverse parade success, the Halloween Haunted Trail event attracted almost 1,000 autos filled with children and adults. The trail followed a serpentine path through Weller Park and passed by haunted ambulances, ghosts, and goblins.
Our Community Rallies to Assist Local Businesses
The City announced monetary relief for the local businesses in the form of grants to assist operations. We all cherish and depend on the local suppliers and businesses that make up our community.
Working to Keep You Informed
The City created a new website, reflecting that most viewers use their cell phones to gather information. The makeover is designed to foster greater communication and make retrieving information easier.
Dusting Off My Crystal Ball – Here Are Some Predictions
- City staff continues to innovate and re-invent how a government delivers services and engages with its’ residents.
- The Montgomery Quarter project will continue to attract new tenants, and the roundabout at Ronald Reagan Highway and Montgomery Road will upgrade the city infrastructure. The structures will emerge from the ground, and the project will be a success.
- Scientists will create a vaccine that keeps a virus in check, allowing us to get back together.
- City staff will build on the last year’s innovation to provide new ways of engaging our residents to be involved with the community.
- We will be able to travel again. We can then safely explore the world or even reconnect with a familiar restaurant in downtown Montgomery.
Let us have a safe and prosperous new year.