PIKETON— Changes are coming to Piketon Village Council in the form of a new village administrator and new councilperson.
In its first meeting of the year, Cristy Shanks was appointed as the replacement of the two-term councilperson Jennifer Chandler by the council. Chandler, however will remain part of the body as she takes over the village administrator role from the retired Ronda Clemmons.
As Mayor Billy Spencer told the News Watchman on Friday, he could not think of two more qualified individuals to fit these roles.
Shanks comes to council as a near-lifelong resident of Piketon and one who has been heavily involved in community affairs such as the recent Christmas tree lighting.
“People would always call Cristi even before she joined council, saying they needed help with this or that,” Chandler said during a Friday interview.
The duo share a vision in the continuation of promoting growth in the village of 2,500, such developments including the $2.5 million renovation of the former Piketon Elementary School now known as the Square at Piketon.
Chandler, who owns the Village Brew Coffee House within the square, says the village can take a role in this quest by promoting Piketon as a place for business, new and settled residents, and even visitors.
Already, the village has taken action in the form of removing blight in an attempt to beautify the town. Still, some spots remain- spots that could foster opportunity for new business.
“The Buster Bi-Lo gas station has sat vacant for around 20-25 years,” said Chandler. “It’s visible from 23, which is what many first see in Piketon.”
In her new position, Chandler will be able to tackle more big picture projects and hopes to see the “rubber meet the road,” in more of her visions.
Expanding access to the Piketon boat ramp, previously investing $200,000, is a priority of hers which she says has the potential to be a tourism boost. This has long been an area of interest for Chandler, who called for development in that area since the early days of her council tenure.
Her role will also be a continuation of the new water and sewer plants, projects that started under Clemmons’ regime. In total, more than $14 million is needed to replace the aging plants — $8.9 million to the sewer plant and $5 to $6 million for the water plant.
According to Chandler, the project designs for the sewer plant are 90% complete and funding is being sought after from several state entities.
The new technology in the water plant will also address the needs and wants of many Piketon residents.
“When I went out in town, the number one thing citizens wanted action in is a water softener,” Chandler said, the water currently produced by the village plant being highly-concentrated in minerals.
This care and concern of residents was at the heart of why Shanks decided she wanted to be a part of council.
From stop signs to multi-million dollar developments, she is looking forward to this next step and vows to be a steward of taxpayer dollars.
“As a resident, you don’t get to see all the steps that go into the decisions of the village,” Shanks said. “That’s what I am excited to be a part of.”
Contact Patrick Keck at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.