Great things continue to happen in Findlay.
In addition to recent announcements about multi-million-dollar projects that will transform downtown and the surrounding region, local neighborhood parks are undergoing a transformation, too.
On a recent Saturday, the Sherman Park neighborhood came together to restore the park for which it’s named. This park restoration is the second one in Findlay under the banner of the NeighborWoods program. Last year’s restoration at Mound Park is going strong and we are hoping that a third neighborhood will jump on the bandwagon in 2015.
The NeighborWoods program is a partnership of the Findlay Shade Tree Commission, Findlay City Council, the Master Gardeners of Hancock County, and local businesses, including certified arborist Marty Goshe, North Branch Nursery, Feasel’s Garden Center, and Van Horn Hoover Associates. A small grant from the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation provided matching funds.
At Sherman Park, the partnership joined forces with residents to raise the needed funds, plan the park, and plant 17 shade trees and nine shrubs. City of Findlay Public Works crews removed stumps and helped dig holes. Water will be supplied by neighboring residents.
More than 75 people participated in planning the park restoration and on planting day.
We all know the devastation that the emerald ash borer, the 2012 windstorm, and the recent winter have brought to our older parks and neighborhoods. Kudos to Sherman Park and Mound Park neighbors for stepping forward to restore some of the natural beauty of our city that has been lost.
Contact the Shade Tree Commission to find out more about the program and how to bring a NeighborWoods project to your neighborhood in 2015.
Katherine Kreuchauf
Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation

I would like to thank a woman named Virginia, in Vanlue, for a wonderful conversation.
As I watched my children playing at the park, Virginia began a great conversation with me. She was wonderfully warm and heartfelt. Upon leaving the park, I found myself hoping we’ll see her again when we visit the park.
Once in a while, we encounter a person who leaves us thinking, “I would’ve liked to have been able to get to know that person further.” This is how I felt leaving the park.
I also left with a smiling heart, all from the kindness of a stranger who didn’t seem like a stranger. Virginia, thank you so much for brightening my afternoon. I was sincere when I said, “I wish you all the very best.”
Holly Copado

It was with great interest that I read Joy Brown’s article (May 23) regarding the Sandusky Street upgrade work.
The article made it sound like the City of Findlay took the lead in coordinating the work with Norfolk Southern to rebuild the railroad crossing on West Sandusky Street at Western Avenue. That is far from the truth.
In August 2013, I called the City of Findlay to see if it could get the crossing repaired because of its horrific condition. They politely informed me that it was not the city’s responsibility and that I needed to call the railroad directly.
So, I started on an eight-month campaign to get the work done. The 800 number the city provided did not get me to the Norfolk Southern office I needed to talk to. It took several calls over a period of days to get the correct phone number.
Finally, I made contact with the engineering office responsible for that crossing. I was told in October that they would make quick repairs in the fall and major repairs in the spring. Nothing happened, and as we know, we had an early and brutal winter.
About six weeks ago, I contacted Norfolk Southern again to find out the status of the crossing work and why nothing was done in the fall. The railroad engineering office informed me that the City of Findlay would not let them shut down the street at that time. So, the repairs could not be scheduled.
I next tried to contact Paul Schmelzer, Findlay’s service-safety director, and was told he had someone in his office when I called. When free, he was going to return my phone call. I waited several days and never heard back from him. (By the way, this never occurred when Robert Ruse held the position. Robert was always timely in returning my calls).
So, I called Mr. Schmelzer again, left another message, and finally heard from him later that day. He informed me that the railroad misinformed me. He said that Norfolk Southern did not need the city’s permission to proceed with the work since the railroad owned the right of way.
I then called the railroad back and informed them of what I was told by Mr. Schmelzer. They were surprised by the response I received. Three weeks later, rails, attachment plates, stone, and railroad ties appeared at the crossing.
I’m sure that other city and county residents made calls to Norfolk Southern. However, don’t credit the city for getting the crossing rebuilt. It was the intervention of concerned citizens that caused it to take place.
Dennis Ploszaj