UP: The success of just about any outdoor summer event is heavily dependent on the weather, but perhaps none as much as the annual Flag City BalloonFest in Findlay. Even a light wind or threat of a thunderstorm can keep a balloon on the ground, and the usual large crowds that flock to the event away. No tent is big enough to shelter an inflated balloon. Some years have been a wash because of the elements, but not this year. Near perfect weather prevailed throughout the weekend and very few flights were canceled. As a result, the 20th edition of BalloonFest was one of the best to date, and for many, one full of memories.
UP: Finally, the Findlay Police Department has entered into a mutual aid agreement with the University of Findlay. The agreement, which took effect yesterday, provides an official connection between the entities to provide assistance to one another within the region on and immediately adjacent to the university campus. If an incident occurs on or off campus, the agreement would allow emergency responders to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries. Mayor Christina Muryn approved the agreement, something the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office had previously done, but the city administration had not until Muryn took office. “Members of both the City of Findlay Police Department and University of Findlay Campus Police currently work well together. We want to ensure that coordination and communication continue,” Muryn said. “This agreement formalizes the support we can provide to each other if the need arises.” The pact took too long in coming, but makes sense for the entire community.
DOWN: Anyone who commutes to or from Findlay — or just passes through Hancock County — would be excited to learn of last week’s announcement that the massive Interstate 75 construction project is progressing toward a 2020 completion date. What started in 2016 as a four-year project already seems like it has been going on for a decade. Unfortunately, it will be later in 2020 than sooner in the year, and that’s if everything goes according to the latest timeline. As of now, the largest highway construction project in the Findlay area’s recent history is now about 70 percent complete. The project involves reconstructing five miles of the existing four lanes of I-75 through Findlay, and constructing an additional lane of travel in each direction from just north of the County Road 313 overpass to County Road 99. When it is done, all mainline bridges on I-75 and the Harrison Street overpass will be replaced, and the interchanges of U.S. 68/Ohio 15 at Interstate 75 and U.S. 68/Ohio 15 at Lima Avenue redesigned and constructed. The Ohio Department of Transportation says the scope of the work, last winter’s temperatures, and the large amount of rain this spring has delayed the completion date from the spring of 2020 to the winter of 2020. Let’s continue to hope that will be the last extension.