2021 State of the Township

2021 State of the Township
Posted on 01/10/2022

State of the Township

As we usher in the new year, many of us will spend time reflecting on the milestones, events, and celebrations of the past year. For Washington Township, this reflection included a great deal of gratitude for the strength of our community as we optimistically began hosting events and returning to business as usual this year. The return of beloved events such as Woodland Lights, the Americana Festival, and the new Cruise-In to the Ice Cream Social, felt incredibly special as we were eager for our community to be together again.

Our Development Services Department celebrated the opening of new businesses throughout the Township including a European style café, a hair salon, a locally owned Mexican restaurant, and more. Additionally, housing choices for our community expanded in 2021 with a new development of upscale condominiums planned on McEwen Rd.

Part of our mission is to create an environment focused on the future, so I am delighted to report that Washington Township continues to be a premier community to live, work, and raise a family as the 2020 Census data reported a fourteen percent increase in those who call Washington Township home.

In 2021, we continued to see an enormous amount of home improvement projects with record numbers of permits issued for decks, fences, pools, sheds, and other accessory structures.

Businesses and nonprofits contribute extensively to our community and it’s always a pleasure to have the chance to visit with them each year. In the fall, local businesses were invited to the annual Business Breakfast where we heard from the immediate past president of Kettering Health Washington Township, Daniel Tryon, about the effect of the past year on the medical field and future plans for the medical center.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to mention that we had multiple Township employees receive awards and recognition this year from regional and community partners. This included the Dayton Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award for Development Director, Ryan Lee and the Montgomery County Township Association Employee of the Year Award for Recreation Director, Mark Metzger and Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator, Christie Cerio. Additionally, Deputy Jonathan Petry with our Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was the recipient of the John P Kalaman award and Mariana Jones with our Fire Department was the recipient of the Robert O’Toole Award.

Nearly five miles of streets were resurfaced this year as part of the Public Works Department’s Street Improvement Program. Crews focused on residential areas and resurfaced a total of 18 streets in 2021. Two bridges in the Township were also replaced with the Montgomery County Engineer’s Office including a bridge on Lyons Rd and one on Whipp Rd. I know that it can be inconvenient for drivers when road construction is underway, and we are grateful to residents for their patience as these important safety repairs were made.

Our three Super Saturday events remained as popular as ever with over 2,300 cars taking advantage of this free service to shred documents and safely dispose of medication.

We remain continuously inspired by the young people in our community. This year, two Centerville High School students were the recipients of Washington Township’s annual Community Service Award, which included a $1,000 scholarship, each. Our hope is that by recognizing students who are generous with their time, we can help foster the principle of volunteerism among the next generation.

Speaking of young people, our recreation department continued to pivot their services as health mandates were relaxed and programs reopened. As one of the only facilities in the Miami Valley to offer a full summer camp in 2020, the department was well positioned to offer their popular summer camp program again in 2021. We know how vital these programs are to families and it remains a top priority for the department to serve our community in this capacity.

This year also brought the full reopening of the Enrichment Center and Town Hall. We sincerely missed seeing all the familiar faces at the Enrichment Center playing cards, enjoying a fitness class, or simply catching up with friends. It’s wonderful to have you back.

After spending a year conducting classes and plays virtually, Town Hall returned to the stage this fall with performances for young audiences. The Township remains an advocate for the local arts as we know how powerful it can be for a child when they connect with a group of friends who have common interests. We are proud that Town Hall provides this for many of our youth.

I would like to stress that management of taxpayer dollars continued to be uppermost in our minds this year. For instance, the recreation department has been awarded almost $260,000 in grants this past year to preserve natural and historic community resources owned and operated by Washington Township. Much needed renovations and improvements will be occurring throughout the RecPlex campus because we have been able to connect with these funding sources. Additionally, Town Hall has embarked on a creative fundraising campaign to help raise funds for new seats in the auditorium. Individuals and businesses can have a seat named after themselves, their business, or a loved one while ensuring that their purchase will contribute to local performing arts for years to come.  

Our fire department remains the only accredited department in the Miami Valley and one of just ten in Ohio. Staff takes this designation seriously and works hard to continue improving themselves through professional development, with three more credentials earned in 2021. This brings the total to 14 credentialed officers, more than any department in the state of Ohio. Two more applications are in the approval process and five additional are being worked on by staff. Additionally, our Township Administrator was appointed by the Center for Public Safety Excellence to serve as a commissioner on the Commission on Fire Accreditation International board for the next three years. It is an honor to have our department recognized at such a high level.

In many ways, 2021 was a continuation of 2020 for emergency services as the fire department continued to respond to COVID-19 calls for service. The department was honored at the Americana festival this summer for their difficult and selfless work on the front lines of the pandemic over the past year and a half.

2021 also marked the 75th anniversary of the fire department. As we look back, it’s incredible to see how the department has gone from a small group of volunteer firefighters in the 1940s to an internationally accredited agency. It’s truly a testament to the support of our community over the past 75 years and I thank our residents for that support. We would not be where we are today without you.

The fire department continues to improve how they deliver services to the community and one of the ways that is happening is with a new fire station. This fire station will be built on Franklin Street, adjacent to Centerville High School, and will replace the department’s oldest station, Station 41 on Maple Avenue. This new location will improve response time for the community as it provides direct access to a main thoroughfare. It also provides enough land to build a properly sized station that meets the needs of staffing and modern fire and EMS apparatus. This is one way we continue to fulfill our levy promise to residents and maintain excellent standards of service for fire safety.

We welcomed a new School Resource Officer to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office this year as Deputy Brandon Baker joined Deputy Gary Fulwiler as a new SRO for the six public schools located in the Township, as well as the non-public schools. Deputy Baker has been a deputy for eight years and we are glad to have him in our schools and working with our youth.

Another new member has joined the ranks at the Sheriff’s Office this year and that is K-9 Max. K-9 Max joined the department in May and is partnered with Deputy Mike Arnett. He is a strong asset for the department as he is an incredibly skilled tracker and can assist in locating a lost child, an elderly person suffering dementia, or a suspect on the run. Residents can expect to see K-9 Max at community events and local schools as he becomes more accustomed to his new job.

2021 marked the one-year anniversary of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Team approach that is helping local deputies respond to calls involving a mental health or drug-related crisis. A mental health specialist is riding with our deputies and providing follow-up casework as part of a joint program with Eastway Behavioral Healthcare and Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services. We have seen incredibly positive results of this program over the past year as this innovative approach helps people with mental disorders or addictions access medical treatment rather than be placed in the criminal justice system.

Community spirit felt stronger than ever this year as residents took the opportunity to reconnect through various events hosted by the Township. The popular springtime event, Family Adventure Day, welcomed the community to the RecPlex with a variety of activities including kayaking in the pool, archery tag, rock climbing, badminton and more. The recreation department kept the momentum going with events throughout the summer including the inaugural Lantern Fest, which drew hundreds of visitors to Countryside Park for a magical evening.

For the first year ever, we combined two events – the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Cruise-In and the Fire Department’s Ice Cream Social – into one large community event. The Cruise-In to the Ice Cream Social made its debut at the RecPlex in August and welcomed almost 4,000 people to a day filled with games, rides, complimentary food, music, and more. The support from local businesses was incredible and we simply would not have been able to do this event without it. Thank you to our business sponsors, our community, and our staff for creating such a memorable event. Finally, we welcomed the return of Woodland Lights for its 29th season. Woodland Lights has been bringing holiday joy to thousands of visitors for almost three decades and we never tire of seeing families creating lasting memories as they enjoy the lights.

We’d like to thank you for your support. It is our honor to serve you and we recognize that this level of service delivery is only possible because of our extremely supportive community of residents, businesses, and organizations. We sincerely thank you for joining together to build the community that we all enjoy.