By DENISE GRANT
Mayor Lydia Mihalik, delivering her 2018 State of the City address on Tuesday, said Findlay is strong, but the workforce shortage continues to be a concern.
She praised Findlay City Schools, along with the city’s private, public and nonprofit sectors, for working together toward solutions. She again called that the “Findlay Formula.”
Her address was given in a new welding bay at Millstream Career Center, 1150 Broad Ave. It is the career center’s second welding bay.
“This is where it all starts,” Mihalik said, motioning to the students in Tuesday’s crowd, both elementary and high school age, many from the welding program. In all, about 200 people attended the speech, including the students.
Mihalik also recognized both Rowmark and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. for their investment in the community’s young people, and thanked members of Raise the Bar-Hancock County, the county’s workforce coalition, for its youth programs.
Mihalik said housing, transportation, the opiate epidemic and flooding have all been identified as problems in Findlay.
She said Findlay “is small enough” to take on the big problems, and the city is in a position to make “meaningful progress” in these areas.
Construction of the city’s first flood-control project, which will widen and deepen the Blanchard River as it moves through the city, will begin this spring.
A $9 million, 46-unit low-income apartment complex will be built on East Melrose Avenue, she said.
Mihalik said Findlay has about 80 homeless families or individuals.
“I think we’re all in favor of ending homelessness,” she said. “We need to fix that, one family at a time.”
Mihalik’s speech launched what she described as “The Year of People” by showcasing some of the youngest of Findlay’s citizens.
Opening for Mihalik on Tuesday were students from Jacobs Primary School’s “Leader in Me” program. Leader in Me is a program based on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” a book written by Stephen Covey, and has been implemented at several Findlay schools.
The students led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Dressed in business-like attire and barely visible at the podium, the gradeschool children described leadership. The children listed skills like “playing fairly,” “following directions” and “helping at home.”
Mihalik said Findlay’s government is also working to become “highly effective,” and has been proactive in the areas of economic development, with 2017 setting a record for business investment in the city. Being proactive is one of the habits identified by Covey in his self-help book.
City officials also practice “win-win,” another habit identified by Covey, the mayor said.
Mihalik described the Miracle Field of Findlay as a “win-win.” The field, which is designed to allow players with disabilities to experience the game of baseball, is part of Blanchard Valley Health System Miracle Park.
The hospital became the lead donor for the field and playground equipment in 2015. The park is located at the Marathon Diamonds along North Main Street.
She also cited the recent move by the city and Hancock County to a common software platform for emergency dispatching.
Again, “win-win,” Mihalik said.
She said the city is also “seeking to understand,” another good habit stressed by Covey.