Chamber has quarterly meeting

| January 28, 2016
The Coshocton Grain Co. was presented with a Community Improvement Award at the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Luncheon held Jan. 28 at Coshocton Hospital. Pictured from left are: Ron Warnock, operations manager at the Grain Co.; Rhoda Crown, CEO at the Grain Co.; Bill Owens, chamber board member; and Larry Endsley, board president for the Grain Co. For more photos from the luncheon, visit www.coshoctonbeacontoday.com

The Coshocton Grain Co. was presented with a Community Improvement Award at the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Luncheon held Jan. 28 at Coshocton Hospital. Pictured from left are: Ron Warnock, operations manager at the Grain Co.; Rhoda Crown, CEO at the Grain Co.; Bill Owens, chamber board member; and Larry Endsley, board president for the Grain Co. For more photos from the luncheon, visit www.coshoctonbeacontoday.com

COSHOCTON – The Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce had its quarterly meeting at Coshocton County Memorial Hospital on Thursday, Jan. 28. Schumaker Farms catered the event.

The meeting began with the induction of a new chamber board member, Kimberly McNany who is the human resources director at McWane Ductile. She has been in the human resource sector for 25 years at various companies. It was voted unanimously by chamber members to accept her as the newest chamber board member.

Each quarter, the chamber presents the Community Improvement Award. Bill Owens presented the award to Coshocton Grain Company.

“The chamber recognizes the importance of agriculture in our businesses and livelihood in this community,” said Owens. “After the devastating fire, the staff rallied together and rebuilt and because of their dedication to the community, they are receiving this award. We are pleased to give this to you.”

The explosion occurred on Aug. 13, 2014 and two days later, the company decided to rebuild. Demolition started in January 2015 and construction started in May of that year. The grain company reopened on Oct. 1, 2015. The entire project cost $7 million.

“We survived a devastating fire and by the grace of God, all the boys walked away,” said Rhoda Crown, CEO of Coshocton Grain. “We are very humbled to receive this award and are glad to be back in business.”

There are a lot of new members in the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce and because of that, the chamber had a growth of $8,000 in new membership fees, according to Amy Stockdale, executive director, who was the first to speak.

“We had a stellar 2015 and it’s because of their leadership and giving me direction,” said Stockdale. “We are pleased to be growing our chamber with not only businesses in Coshocton County, but those who do business in Coshocton County.”

The fourth annual Health, Safety, and Wellness Expo was a success with 22 booths by Coshocton Hospital and 48 other community vendors present. The hospital had close to 80 volunteers at the expo and they conducted various screenings, 46 lab draws, and seven surgical appointments were made that day. Dr. Owens, the new women’s health physician at the hospital, also made six on-site appointments at the expo.

“I would also like to thank Kids America for hosting the event,” said Stockdale. “What a great venue we have here in the community to hold events like that.”

The annual Chamber Auction will be March 11 – 19 and the Chamber Dinner is scheduled for April 15 at Lake Park where the Young Leader of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Employee of the Year, and the Coshoctonian awards are announced. Nominations for those awards are being accepted.

The chamber is also partnering with the agricultural community to host the second annual AG Day Luncheon to be March 15 at Canal Lewisville Church. Stockdale also announced that the chamber is working to bring the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training to Coshocton at a discount price.

Larene Hall, new CVB director, reminded those present of the many events coming up in Coshocton starting with the Chocolate Extravaganza at the career center and Big Band Dance at Lake Park on Saturday, Feb. 13.

“I’m honored to be here today as your new CVB director,” she said. “We live in a wonderful town and we have so much to offer.”

Executive Director of the Coshocton County Port Authority Dorothy Skowrunski, reported that the unemployment in Coshocton County is pretty low and there are more jobs available than workers. She also expressed concern about the closing of WestRock and the ripple effect that it will have on the community.

“I’m especially proud of the community because companies like McWane and Kraft reached out to those employees and asked how they could help,” said Skowrunski. “This community reacted very well to the closing of WestRock.”

Fortunately, the building has a lot of assets that are very valuable to companies who may be looking to move to Coshocton.

2015 has been a great year for the Port Authority with the expansion of Kraft and the CR 12 project. The Port Authority worked hard on repaving CR 12, which was an $800,000 project that was completed in six weeks. They plan to do the same with CR 10 since CR 12 was a success because of the economic development on that road.

Another project coming up for the Port Authority is working with the county engineer to construct another road leading up to the Richard Downing Airport.

Skowrunski announced they recently received a $10,000 grant from AEP to help with the second phase of connecting properties and sewer and water lines in with the county’s GIS system. The Community Development Council, in which Skowrunski is a member, is working on a master plan to go after more grant dollars to fulfill projects that need attention.

Coshocton is Blooming and Clary Gardens are teaming up to have a Coshocton is Blooming symposium on April 30 to bring the community together to discuss colors for the year for America in Bloom. She also announced that the Legislative Luncheon will be April 1 and the Manufacturing Kids Camp will be held again this year. Skowrunski closed her remarks by saying that Coshocton will be featured in a manufacturing magazine this February.

Chairman of the Coshocton County Commissioners, Curtis Lee announced that $300,000 has been put into a contingency fund to help pay for state-required new voting equipment in 2017. He also expressed the need to build a new justice center and announced that $500,000 has been placed in a contingency fund for that project, when needed. The county will be liquidating some county-owned property recently available and money from that will be placed in that fund as well.

There will be a new employee at the sheriff’s office in the near future, and Lee announced the county recently gave $20,000 to help purchase 35 tasers for the sheriff’s office.

Three CDBG grants have been completed in the county, two neighborhood revitalization grants and a critical infrastructure grant. There is a critical infrastructure grant currently ongoing in Coshocton, which leaves two grants available for the county this year. The commissioners are currently looking at projects that need done in the county that those grant dollars can be used for.

Lee also spoke about the General Health District levy. The state mandates that townships and villages fund the health district, which is why the county doesn’t fund the department. If passed, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $7 per year.

Mayor Steve Mercer, who was last to speak, gave a brief recap of his State of the City address and talked mainly about the water rate issue.

With the closing of WestRock, the city’s biggest water user, the city has had to consider raising water rates. The factory used half of the water the city pumps each day. The city pumps approximately six million gallons of water a day. With WestRock using three million gallons of that water, the city suffered a $1.2 million loss in revenue. The factory helped to subsidize the city’s low water rates.

“Of all the closings we’ve had throughout the years, WestRock probably has the most significant impact on the city of Coshocton services,” said Mercer.

The water department has cut three positions already and appropriated $2 million as opposed to $3.7 million last year. They are still facing an operation deficit of $432,000 even with reductions made.

There is a proposition before city council to raise the water rates by either 25 percent or 35 percent. With a 25 percent increase, the city will still have an operation deficit, and with a 35 percent increase, the city will barely break even. Kraft is now the city’s major water user.

The mayor expressed his gratitude to Coshocton Grain Company for staying in business and to McWane Ductile for starting a new product line in the former Pretty Products building. He also announced that the city did a lot of paving last year and will continue this year with the paving of Otsego Avenue from Seventh Street to the railroad tracks. The city is working in conjunction with ODOT on funds for the project. The critical infrastructure grant in Coshocton is for $3,000 and is being used to redo storm sewers.

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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