SABINA — Ideas aplenty to boost Sabina were proposed at the village council session, several of them from the public.
Among the possibilities and aspirations floated at the meeting are a farmers market, a bike lane, a dog park, community gardens or a flower garden, whether the closed IGA grocery store could be donated to the community, and going back to having free admission at the village-owned pool when a heat advisory is issued.
After the Thursday night meeting ended, mention was made to Mayor Jim Mongold about the abundance of proposals.
“I’m really getting encouraged. I mean just seeing people here at the council meeting. It’s great,” said Mongold, who became mayor on Jan. 1.
A member of the audience brought up the prospect of a farmers market, noting it could be especially welcome in the wake of the loss last fall of the town’s only full-service grocery store.
In response, Councilman Benjamin Collings commented favorably that “this is a farming community.”
A couple potential sites for a farmers market were even suggested.
Of a Sabina farmers market, Mongold said, “Something like that would be absolutely welcome.”
Collings’ idea of a community garden plot of land, perhaps located in a vacant grass lot between the police department and the Masonic building, was reported in a recap of a Recreation and Tourism Committee meeting read aloud by Councilwoman and committee Chair Bethany Grehl.
The site, privately owned, could alternatively be used for a flower garden to help beautify the downtown, mused Grehl. She noted the landowner would need to grant permission.
Collings is interested in doing a bike lane up State Route 729 N. from North Howard Street to the existing Clinton-Fayette Friendship Trail that crosses the village, Grehl reported.
Collings plans to contact the bike trail group and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) regarding the idea.
At the meeting of the Recreation and Tourism Committee — a committee formed just this year — there was discussion about possibly setting up a dog park at the Sabina Village Park.
At that same committee meeting, there was interest in looking into what it would take to have the capacity to offer hot food for sale at the Sabina Community Pool, with the belief it would increase the number of swimmers and concessions income.
Grehl has spoken with Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Susan Valentine-Scott who formerly managed a swimming pool in Jeffersonville, and Valentine-Scott said adding hot food will increase attendance.
Mongold said the process of adding hot food will be difficult and expensive, and he’s unsure if it’s something the village is going to be able to do this year.
Meeting attendee Christina Strickland, a past Sabina councilperson, said formerly whenever there was a heat advisory in the county, the village opened up its pool for free. She said there are a lot of kids in the community whose homes do not have air conditioning, and providing free access to the pool on those days she regards as “a small token to give back [to the community].”
The mayor said Strickland raised a good question about current practice.
Abe Arnold, who frequently attends Sabina Council meetings, said he has researched what occurs when a grocery store shuts down, and that sometimes the building is donated to the community.
He also wondered whether grants are available to improve the sidewalks in town.
The mayor urged the residents who live from Routes 22/3 down South Howard Street to San-Mar-Gale Drive, to take part when they are contacted in a particular door-to-door survey that’s been authorized by village officials. Participation in this survey will increase the chances the village will obtain a grant to help pay for a much-needed water main replacement project, said Mongold.
The project will run around $350,000, he said, and the village “just simply cannot provide funding for the entire project so we do need a grant for it.”
Because the grant targets low- and moderate-income recipients, there will be an income-related question in the survey. He elaborated that there will be no residents’ names used in the survey, and that the questions pertain to an income bracket and the number of people in the household.
“It’s very vital that we get as much participation in this survey as possible from the residents who live in that area. We really do need to replace that water main,” Mongold said.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.