By Matt Clevenger
TROY — Members of the Troy City Council have approved a plan to lease a 10-foot strip of downtown’s Prouty Plaza as part of a plan to construct new public restrooms.
“Providing public restrooms has been a long-term goal of the city,” Council member Jeffrey Whidden said during council members’ regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, May 1.
The restrooms will be located inside the Mayflower Building. Council members approved an ordinance authorizing the Troy Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) to negotiate a 50-year lease with the building’s owner, as well as a separate lease for property on Prouty Plaza.
“The ground lease would cover a 10-foot strip on the west side of Prouty Plaza to access the restrooms,” Whidden said.
The ordinance also included the transfer of $150,000 to the CIC for the restrooms’ construction.
In other business, council members also held a public hearing and second reading for an ordinance to re-zone property located at 15 S. Oxford St. from B-2, general business district, to OR-1, office-residential district. A third reading for the ordinance will be held at council members’ next regularly scheduled meeting.
Council members also approved an ordinance to vacate a 0.04-acre area of the right-of-way at the corner of West Main Street and Stanfield Road to allow for improvements at Chick-Fil-A on West Main Street, and authorized a $300,000 loan from the Community Development Block Grant Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund to A.M. Scott Distillery, LLC, for restaurant equipment for a new location in the Mayflower Building at 9 W. Main St.
Council members also approved the creation of a letter of support from the city regarding C-1 and C-2 liquor permit applications for the new Aldi store that will be located at 50 Troy Town Drive, and an agreement with the Troy Strawberry Festival and an ordinance to activate the city’s temporary DORA area for the festival. Council member Bill Twiss voted against the festival agreement and the temporary DORA activation.
Council members also saw a presentation honoring outgoing members of the Mayor’s Youth Council, featuring 11 fifth-grade students from different Troy schools. Troy Mayor Robin Oda presented each student with a gift certificate for their participation.
“These kids have been part of the Mayor’s Youth Council this year,” Oda said. “They were each chosen by their principals to serve in this capacity.”
“We had a good time,” Oda said. “We’ve had five different meetings, and talked about all kinds of city stuff. The last thing we did was go to WACO and make launchers and rockets, and they launched them.”
Troy Law Director Grant Kerber and Development Director Tim Davis also served as adult leaders for the program.
“The kids learned a lot,” Davis said. “They seemed to get along really well, and it was a lot of fun this year.”
“We look forward to some new fifth-graders coming in next year, but this group has been special,” Oda said. “It’s been really fun to get to know them.”
Council also heard comments from council member Todd Severt, who encouraged residents to support local gas aggregation in the May 2 primary election.
“Please go and vote,” Severt said. “Please make sure you do vote for the gas aggregation.”
Council member Jeff Schilling also addressed council, speaking as a private resident during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“Many of us have received a flier in the mail last week from one of the candidates running for the office of mayor of the city of Troy,” Schilling said. “In years past, candidates for mayor have mailed fliers outlining their qualifications for office, their educational background, their job experience, their ties to the community, and most importantly their vision for the future of the Troy community as reasons why they should be elected mayor. This flier did none of the above.”
“In very derogatory terms, it gave three statements as to why the other candidate was unqualified to serve,” he said. “The first statement said the candidate in question was backed by Democrats; on a national level, politics has so divided our government that nothing gets accomplished.”
“The true problems facing our nation are kicked down the road administration after administration because neither side, Republican or Democrat, can garner enough support for their proposed solutions,” Schilling said. “It is refreshing to see a candidate supported for public office by not only his own party, but also those on the other side of the aisle.”
“I have talked before about moving to the middle to find consensus,” he said. “This has been the way of our political system, and it has successfully worked since our country’s founding. It has only been in recent years, that the method has been abandoned with increased acrimony, bitterness and spite emanating from both sides. We do not need this divisive type of conduct from our city officials; Troy is better than that.”
“The flier ends the diatribe with a broad statement that the candidate thinks like a Democrat- heaven forbid,” Schilling said. “Prior to the last election, a converted Democrat was our mayor for 16 years. No one questioned his beliefs, or his party loyalty, or even his motive for changing parties.”
“We shouldn’t question a candidate’s loyalty to the party,” Schilling said. “If I were a Democrat, I’d be insulted by the flier; I would be angry.”
“I encourage every registered voter, no matter what party affiliation, to vote tomorrow to choose the next mayor of Troy,” he said. “There is no stigma attached to voting across party lines, when your party doesn’t offer a candidate. Go to the polls, ask for a Republican ballot and vote; it is your right, your choice and your obligation.”
Council members adjourned their meeting to enter an executive session to confer with legal council concerning disputes that are the subject of pending court action. City Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Monday, May 15.