MCF holds first State of the Community

By: 
Mike Mallow
Montgomery Mayor Thomas Eisert speaks at the State of the Community.

Mike Mallow photo

Montgomery Mayor Thomas Eisert speaks at the State of the Community.

“We talked about putting together an event like this,” Montgomery Community Foundation Chair Mick McGuire explained in his opening comments to a small crowd at Hilltop Hall on Saturday morning. “Everybody has a State of the Union, State of State, State of the City programs. Our thought was to do a State of the Community.”

Speaking at the event were Montgomery Mayor Tom Eisert, Tri-City United Superintendent Kevin Babcock, Montgomery Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Caitlin Huiras and Montgomery Area Community Club (MACC) Executive Director Jessica Westerman.

Each speaker gave a brief update on the aspect of the community that they oversee.

Mayor Eisert gave insight into ongoing and upcoming projects within Montgomery, first focusing on the six parks within the city covering around 80 acres. Eisert outlined the improvements and expansions to the parks, noting that the main focus has been on North Side Park, North Ridge Recreation Area and Memorial Park.

Eisert next gave updates on their public safety departments, noting improvements have been made to the ambulance facility.

Upgrades are being made for the fire department’s equipment, and Eisert noted that a challenge that the fire department has is finding a permanent space.

“The fire department has been utilizing rental spaces to house all their apparatuses. This poses significant challenges for equipment access when it is in two different locations.”

Eisert says that the relocation discussion remains active, but also notes that it has been discussed on and off for 20 years.

The police department has moved into their new building, Eisert said. “The building was designed to be a safe, secure and compliant facility and was also designed for future expansion.”

The Planning and Zoning, HRA and EDA were also mentioned in Eisert’s report. He says that each organization has been actively marketing the community.

“All three groups are studying housing needs that are respective to each group’s goals.”

Eisert finished by updating the community on road projects, storefront availability for new businesses and the role of the city council in the community.

Superintendent Babcock spoke next. He praised the staff of the school system and highlighted concerns about potential teacher shortages down the line.

Babcock spoke at length about the comprehensive plan for the schools. “I really want to get a feel with where we are and where we need to be. And we are working on that right now.”

Huiras told the audience about the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce’s mission and the progress that the organization has made in the last year.

“Our goal is to build a healthy local economy here in Montgomery.”

Westerman spoke last. She focused her presentation on what is in store for the 90th Kolacky Days celebration, which is organized by MACC.

“Our mission statement is to enhance community pride… and to put on Kolacky Days every year to be financially and fiscally responsible with our funds so that we can make improvements and add things, and also to give back.”

Westerman said that they are a nine-member volunteer board and their whole year is spent planning for the next Kolacky Days festival.

Though the crowd of the inaugural State of the Community was small the group believes it will grow when they hold it in future years.

“In the chamber world, all my mentors say that it takes three years for an event or activity to take off,” Huiras said. “So if you’re here today, it’s a good start.”

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