Street Lights and Paving

There was another article in the Journal on a possible street light assessment in the future.    The comments after the article made it clear to me that people don’t understand how this process works.

Duke is approaching us to convert the lights to LED.  One of the ways they keep costs down is to conserve energy so they don’t have to build additional plants, etc., to supply the area.  The cost saving of using LED street lights, at least with the initial calculations, are more than the costs of conversion.

What that means is that we will borrow the money to convert the lights to LED.  We will take out a fairly short term loan.  During the loan period, the cost savings in electricity by using LED lighting will pay not only for the loan payment but also add additional savings on our electric costs for street lights.  Once the loan is paid off, we will get the entire benefit of the LED conversion cost savings for the life of the poles.   It is a win for Duke in conserving energy, a win for the city in reduced costs for street lights, and a win for the residents as the freed up funding can be redirected to other priorities.

There were a couple of other comments about the city not doing any paving.  The Central Avenue paving project was over $3 million.  Verity Parkway was over $1 million.  The widening of Oxford State and the extension of Yankee Road cost over $ 7 million.

Here are the Capital Projects in the 2017 budget:

General Capital Fund:

Local Street Paving  $ 1,200,000  (See below for streets)

Gateway Enhancements (I-75)  $ 75,000

Yankee Road – Phase 3  $3,980,000

Traffic/Parks/Buildings    $ 205,000

  Total:     $5,460,000

Water Fund:

Water Facility Upgrades  $   100,000

Yankee Road – Phase 3  $2,000,000

Kensington Pump Station Upgrade  $   500,000

Meter Replacement Contract  $  80,021

GIS Improvements  $     10,000

  Total:  $2,690,021

Sewer Fund:

WWTP Upgrades   $ 500,000

System Replacement  $ 690,000

Long Term Control Plan  $ 990,000

Meter Replacement Contract  $   80,021

GIS Improvements  $   10,000

  Total:  $2,270,021

Storm Water Fund:

Yankee Road Imp. – Phase 3  $700,000

Local Street Paving  $250,000

Gateway Drainage   $ 75,000

System Replacement Program  $ 50,000

NPDES Compliance  $ 50,000

  Total:  $1,125,000

Below are the local streets we intend to pave in 2017:

OPWC Funded Paving Project  Estimated Cost = $1.45M plus assessments for sidewalk, curb and gutter

Central Avenue between Breiel Boulevard and Marshall Road

Main St. between 11th Avenue and 18th Avenue

Kensington Street between Central Avenue and Grand Avenue

Wicklow Drive between Limerick Lane and Cambridge Drive

Limerick Lane (all)

Poppy Drive (all)

Heinkel Road between Poppy Drive and Central Avenue

City Crew Paving   Estimated Cost (gas tax fund) = $300K plus assessments for sidewalk, curb and gutter

Philadelphia Ave. (all)

Carolina St. between Roosevelt and Burbank

Shelley St. (all)

El Camino Dr. (all)

Ocala Dr. (all)

Catalina Dr. (all)

We are also budgeting to replace the roof at the city building, the roof at the Community Center and to rebuild one of the two chillers that service the City building.

There was a nice article in the Wall Street Journal a couple months ago discussing paving shortages nationwide:  Local Highway Drivers Bear Brunt of Road Funding Gap (WSJ Aug 24, 2016).  In that article, it was noted that nationwide, roughly 35% of non-interstate urban roads are in poor condition.   We are closer to 46% in Middletown, but the problem of failing to pave is a nationwide problem, not just Middletown.

I can’t do it all at once, but city staff and your City Council are working very hard to return us to sustainably paving every year.  It’s a big hole to dig out of and it will take a lot of time and money and effort to get all of our roads back in decent shape again.

National City Manager Conference – Neighborhood Revitalization


Part of the bus tour I took of Kansas City Missouri included a stop at what was once the worst blighted and high crime neighborhood in Kansas City.  Following the foreclosure crisis and the recession, this neighborhood was effectively abandoned, leaving high crime, violence, and terribly blighted conditions for the few remaining residents who couldn’t get out of the area.

Kansas City took the approach that the neighborhood was beyond repair and elected to clear the entire area and start over.  The remaining residents were bought out and assisted with finding alternative living arrangements.  The City then destroyed several city blocks of all structures and redesigned the neighborhood as a mixed use.


We toured the most recently finished street, which included $500,000 homes, all being purchased by new homeowners before completion.

Another section consisted of student housing for the local college…


We toured one of the houses under construction….



And the median in the middle of the street was filled with green infrastructure to absorb rainwater and not impact the local storm sewer system.


They gave a nice presentation on the path they took to successfully renovating this area.

The City acted as the developer of the project.  Kansas City had the staff to be able to handle this function.

They waived income, property and sales taxes for an extended period in the area to encourage investment.  All enticements were subject to remaining in property maintenance code compliance and on timely payment of Homeowner Association dues.  Don’t comply and you lose your abatements.

They developed a three year plan that showed visible results each year for the public to see progress.

They created an Architectural Review Committee (ARC) for this development only.  Each new structure had to be individually approved by the ARC before a building permit was issued by the City.

They kept the alleyways and created attached rear garages that made the rear area a “cool” place to hang out.  The rear of the buildings had the same building materials as the front.  In many cases in Ohio, the front is brick, with vinyl wrapping around the house.  They insisted that the rear alleyway have the same look and materials as the street view. Neighbors had big screen TV’s in their garage and had block-wide cookouts during sporting events along the alley.

They looked at each smaller area and developed a plan for that particular area based on surrounding conditions, existing infrastructure, etc.   Student housing was placed near the college, a plan was developed as to how new housing would fit on existing streets with water and sewer lines.

Although they are building $500,000 houses, they received HUD approval to use HUD funding to remove blight as part of the project costs.

They got the buy in both philosophically and financially from the philanthropic community.

They utilized the land bank extensively to seize abandoned properties and clear title issues.  When someone wanted to develop a vacant land bank parcel, the land bank provided a deed in trust which required the builder/developer to meet neighborhood requirements in building, landscaping, etc., before title would transfer to the new homeowner.  The deed of trust also required the new homeowner to pay dues into a homeowner’s association (HOA) that maintained common areas.  If the homeowner failed to pay their dues, the HOA had  enough clout to require payment or they could force title to revert back to the land bank.

There was a food desert in part of the development area, so they recruited a small grocery store to fill retail mixed-use space and also to deal with the lack of available healthy food in the area.

It was a well thought out project that received the support of the entire city.


This Week in Middletown (October 24 – October 30)

We gear up for Halloween this weekend with downtown activities.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Flair for Fashion   |11:30am – 2:30pm

 Brown’s Run Country Club

Soroptimist International of Middletown will present its annual luncheon/fashion show, Flair for Fashion, at noon on Saturday, October 29, at Brown’s Run Country Club. Fashions will be provided by Kay’s Shoppe of Lebanon, Ohio. Raffle baskets will be available. Proceeds fund scholarships for local women.  Tickets are $30. For information or tickets, please call Barb at 513-422-1882 or Dee at 513-360-7499.


Downtown Middletown Inc. Hocus Pocus Halloween | 3:00pm- Midnight

Join Downtown Middletown Inc. for a Hocus Pocus fun Halloween!

Two events, one great day! Family friendly Halloween fun during the day leading up to the delightfully spooky Hocus Pocus Halloween dance to cap the night off!

Enjoy a fun day of family friendly Halloween activities in downtown Middletown including
-Free Screening of the movie Hocus Pocus
-Creepy Car Show
-Vendor Alley
-Trick or Treat at Local Businesses
-Craft Activities & Games
-Live Music

A dance for the daring! Hosted inside the stunningly spooked-out Windamere event center, located at 2 S Main Street in downtown Middletown. The evening will feature a LIVE rocking band, tasty treats, interactive games, costume contests, cash bar + more! This is a tickted event, you must be 21+ to attend and costumes are required. Oh-and no scardey cats, the décor will be frightening!

For more info and dance tickets, see…

or contact Mallory Greenham at


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Central Connections (3907 Central Ave.) is hosting a weekly brunch from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Coconut French toast, Pancakes, Blintzes, Home fries, Polish sausage and peppers, Thick-cut smoked bacon, Scrambled eggs, Fried apples, Biscuits and sausage gravy, Fresh fruit, Yogurt and cottage cheese, Assorted muffins, Assorted pastries, Bagels with cream cheese

Cost is:

· adults–$13.95 per person.
· children ages 4 to 12–$7.95 per child.
· children age 3 and under eat free.

The following drinks are included with brunch; (coffee, orange juice, iced sweet tea, and water). Soda pop is $2 per person with free refills.

Groups of 10 or more will need to reserve tables by calling Chef Karen, 217.2488. or by email

More Info:


If you have an event happening in Middletown, let us know!   We’ll add it to our calendar.  Have a great week, Middletown!

Managing the Heroin Crisis

The October 2016 issue of Public Management magazine features the article “Managers Can Help Lead the Fight Against the Opioid Crisis” which lists 10 opportunities and recommendations for local leadership on heroin addiction.

I’m happy to report that we are well ahead of the curve of many cities in putting resources on the ground in this terrible epidemic.  The 10 recommendations were….

Take the lead to increase public awareness and engagement.

The City of Middletown partnered with Atrium Medical Center to host seven Heroin Summits with community leaders and activists to engage the public.  Our 8th Summit was held on Monday of this week.  I’ve tried to use my public speaking engagements and social media to get the word out on what this is costing the city in tax dollars, emergency room capacity, and lost health and lives of our residents.

Designate a Municipal Point Person on Substance Abuse Prevention.

Health Commissioner Jackie Phillips and I are probably the most involved in the heroin response at the city side.  We’ve been blessed by the addition of many partners to get the prevention message out in the community.  The schools, Coalition for a Healthy Middletown, the religious community, civic groups and many others are actively working to prevent future addiction.

Encourage Intra-Community, Regional and Statewide Collaboration

We’ve been very successful organizing all of the community assets, the city, the schools, Atrium Medical Center, the religious community, the civic community, the non profit community, interested citizens, past addicts, treatment providers, law enforcement and our local and state political representatives have all been actively involved in the Heroin Summits.

Develop a One-Page Resource Guide For Families and Those Seeking Treatment or Assistance

We’ve assembled all of the documents, resources, meeting minutes and progress reports on the city web page at the link below.

Pilot Innovative Programs Based on Local Needs

Translation: Try new things to stop addiction or reduce harm that likely will freak out the public.  I’ve said several times in public that if we had a toaster that had malfunctioned and killed 60 people in Middletown in the past year, we’d lose our minds, file a class action law suit and demand immediate justice.  Heroin addiction has such a stigma associated with it that we don’t even like to talk about it, let alone actively get involved in the national heroin epidemic discussion.

We are trying several different things right now.  The effectiveness of each effort will be measured over the next year or so to see if we had any impact.

Heroin Quick Response Team Colerain first tried this program locally and had success so we are duplicating their efforts.  The QRT is a three person team of one police officer, one paramedic and one social worker.   After police or fire respond to a heroin overdose, the team follows up and works to provide health resources and to get the addict into treatment.  As we see more and more addicts being revived by Narcan on multiple EMS runs, it becomes more imperative that we find a way to stop them from ODing and stop the need for multiple EMS runs and Emergency Room visits.   Our initial results have shown that the addicts are more receptive to our team after multiple overdoses.  We’ll have to see over a 6-12 month period how many people get referred to treatment and how many relapse.

At the 8th Heroin Summit at Atrium Medical Center on Monday, the team reported that they have created 221 case files since June 6, made contact with 168 addicts, helped 53 get into treatment (about 30%), and they are working with Middletown Municipal Court to not overlap or leave gaps in service.

Additional K-9s   We are picking up our 5th K-9 next week.  After finishing training, we’ll have drug sniffing dogs on every shift on almost every day.  Part of the fight in this epidemic is stemming the tide of heroin coming into the city.   We’ll use the dogs for suspicious vehicles, search warrants, etc., trying to find and remove drugs from coming into the city.  If the epidemic subsides, we’ll slow retire the dogs until we get back to our standard two K-9’s.

Chronic Nuisance Ordinance  Under the Chronic Nuisance Ordinance, if any property in town has two drug related events on the property, they will be labeled as a chronic nuisance property.  Once designated, if the city has to return a third time for an OD, the property owner is billed for the entire city response including MPD, the ambulance crew and any narcan, etc., used on the call.   We started actively enforcing this ordinance in August.  The warning letters are going out and we are seeing good response from property owners to remove drug activity from their properties.  This is one way to stop the locations where drug addiction are taking place in the city.

We have sent 35 notifications since July.  A couple of individual homes have changed hands as a result of the notification.  We are working with the owners of the Parkway Inn and an apartment building on Crawford Street, two locations that each have generated over 100 calls for service in the past year.

Middletown Municipal Court  Judge Wall has a Vivitrol program in place at the municipal jail.  If you are unfamiliar with Vivitrol, it is a once a month shot that shuts down the opium receptors in your body.  Short explanation… you can’t get high on heroin while on the shot.  Probation follows up with other services designed to keep the addict clean, get them back to work, and to get them back on a productive life cycle.   Judge Wall has put over 50 people on the program with good success.  What we and other jurisdictions are starting to see is that some addicts who can’t get high on heroin but still fight addiction, are switching over to another drug to get high while on the Vivitrol.  This all just goes to demonstrate that there is no silver bullet to solving this problem.

Publicize the Good Samaritan Law

Ohio now has a good Samaritan law that protects people from prosecution when they take action to intervene with an overdose.   Survival rates dramatically increase when medical intervention is quickly administered.  A few weeks ago we had over 35 overdoses in about a five day period.  Through the great work of our skilled paramedics, we only had one death during that run of overdoses.   We’ll talk at the October Heroin Summit how we can better get this word out to the public.

Partner with Schools to Implement Programs Aimed at Prevention

I’m very grateful that Dr. Ison and the school district have been on board and great partners since the very first Heroin Summit over a year ago.  They actively work with all summit resources to make prevention programs available in the school district.

Create Prevention Curriculum and Education Programs

We have developed through the Summit process several pieces of educational programming and they are available on the Heroin page on the city website.

Provide First Responders with Narcan to Prevent Overdose Deaths

As we looked at public safety responses to suspected overdoses, we found that EMS was generally reaching the overdose site at almost the same time as MPD.  Narcan is very expensive.  We’ve been fortunate to obtain grants for many of our purchases, but the cost to the city and the expenditure of your tax dollars on Narcan continues.  We are only outfitting the ambulances with Narcan at this time.  If we find that outfitting MPD would save substantial time and lives, we’re always willing to look at the situation a second time.

Create Safe Disposal Sites in Your Community for the Discarding of Prescription Drugs

The City of Middletown has operated a Prescription Disposal Site at the Division of Police for several years.  If you have unused prescription drugs, you can come to the police lobby at the city building and drop them off at any time of the day or night for safe disposal.

Despite all of these good ideas, our results this year are mixed.  Drug arrests are up over 50% from last year.  More dealers are going to jail and more addicts are being arrested and put into treatment than last year.  Violent crime and thefts are both down from last year.   That being said, our paramedics have responded to 413 overdoses year to date with 62 deaths.  With the introduction of fentanyl and carfentanyl, more than 1/3 of the overdose patients are requiring more than the standard narcan dose to recover from the overdose.

We act… they react.  We’ll continue to fight this on all fronts.



Manufacturing Day 2016

We here in Middletown are proud of our bright manufacturing past and are eager to see our strengths in manufacturing lead us into our brighter future. However, the future relies largely on the future generations.

Recently, Metal Coaters Middletown (2400 Yankee) hosted our town’s Manufacturing Day 2016. Manufacturing Day is held nationally – it is a day in which our young, future workforce has the opportunity to visit manufacturing sites in their areas to learn more about the industry and what it takes to work at such locations. At Metal Coaters Middletown, Middletown Christian and Edgewood Middle School students had the chance to hear Chairman of the Board and CEO of NCI Building Systems, Norman Chambers; Congressman Warren Davidson; and Vice Mayor of Middletown Dr. Dora Bronston (among others) speak. The students then had a chance to ask questions and tour the facility as well – however, they may have been the most excited for the Skyline Chili that was provided for lunch.

We are proud to have the opportunity and ability to host such events for our young students here in Middletown. Thanks to all of those who participated and helped to make it such a great day for the students!


Middletown RFPs: Round Two

About a month ago, the City’s Economic Development Department held open-houses for four city-owned properties, with the hopes that qualified parties would bid on the properties and turn them back into the productive, bustling downtown spots that they once were. Those locations are 1200 First Avenue, the Studio Theater at 1347 Central Avenue, 19 North Clinton, and 24 North Main Street.

Unfortunately, we did not receive any bids on any of these locations after the first round. The next round of public open-houses for all four locations will be Wednesday, November 30 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. After the open house sessions are complete, interested individuals are invited to submit proposals for any of the respective properties to the City’s purchasing agent, Cindy Strayer, by January 2, 2017.

Please be advised:  In order to have a proposal accepted, you must attend the open house session for the property that you’re interested in. After you have attended the open house, your proposal must contain the following items in order to be considered:

  • A cover letter
  • An executive summary
  • A market analysis
  • An explanation of how your project will be financed
  • A section regarding the management of your project
  • A project timeline
  • A price proposal
  • Appropriate forms

We will continue to hold open houses + proposal submission periods on a rolling, quarterly basis until we have found a suitable party to take over each location or have demolished the properties. More information can be found here.


This Week in Middletown (October 17- October 23)

This week’s events focus on keeping Middletown clean and tidy.  I hope you can attend one of the events below and volunteer a little time to help us keep Middletown looking great!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

 Great Miami River Clean Sweep | 8:00am – 1:00pm

Join Keep Middletown Beautiful in the 2016 Great Miami River Clean Sweep!

Volunteers are asked to meet at Bicentennial Commons at 8 a.m. to sign-in and get clean-up materials. They will then be placed to locations along the Miami River for a community clean-up.

For further information, contact Jeff Michel at


Bull’s Run Work Day| 9:30am – 1:00pm

 Bull’s Run Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum

Join us as we ready the park for winter by cleaning up and mulching trails, collecting native seeds, and removing invasive species like honeysuckle!

We provide the tools and snacks, you provide the energy and work gloves (if you have them)! All ages are welcome, there are projects for every age and ability.

Please RSVP to or contact Randy W at

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Central Connections (3907 Central Ave.) is hosting a weekly brunch from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Coconut French toast, Pancakes, Blintzes, Home fries, Polish sausage and peppers, Thick-cut smoked bacon, Scrambled eggs, Fried apples, Biscuits and sausage gravy, Fresh fruit, Yogurt and cottage cheese, Assorted muffins, Assorted pastries, Bagels with cream cheese

Cost is:

· adults–$13.95 per person.
· children ages 4 to 12–$7.95 per child.
· children age 3 and under eat free.

The following drinks are included with brunch; (coffee, orange juice, iced sweet tea, and water). Soda pop is $2 per person with free refills.

Groups of 10 or more will need to reserve tables by calling Chef Karen, 217.2488. or by email

More Info:


If you have an event happening in Middletown, let us know!   We’ll add it to our calendar.  Have a great week, Middletown!