Two members of New Boston Village Council are up for reelection this year. They are Vonald Patrick, who was appointed to Council in February 2015 to fill an unexpired term. He currently chairs the Lands, Parks and Recreation Committee and Ralph Imes, Jr. who began his first term with Village Council in 2010 and serves as chairman of the Streets, Alleys and Buildings Committee.
Why did you decide to run for reelection?
“I enjoy helping my constituents out,” Imes said. “I enjoy trying to make a difference and make the village better. I think I bring some good ideas to the table and it’s obvious in my record. I feel like I am making a difference and I want to continue the good work.”
Four other people have announced their intentions to seek a seat on Village Council. The four include Gary Stephenson, Lori Grant, Robert Law and Ryan Ottney.
Why did you decide to run for election?
“I’ve always cared very much about New Boston and anyone who knows me knows that about me,” Ottney said. “When I grew up my grandfather (Charles “Burr” Ottney) was Mayor of New Boston. My father (Jim Ottney) was a fireman, so I ended up running the halls of that community building and the fire department, and, as I got older, I started getting involved in the community, and I went to work at the (Daily Times) newspaper and I tried to make sure New Boston had a voice. I made sure I went to the Council meetings regularly so I could report on what was going on. As a result, I went to the meetings and familiarized myself with what they were doing and how they do it. I really came to appreciate how Council operates in New Boston – very positive, proactive and I really respected that.”
Ottney said, when he left the Times, he knew he wanted to become involved with the community.
“I just think now is the time to run for Village Council and see what part I can play in my community,” Ottney said.
Ottney revealed that he has already turned his petitions in at the Scioto County Board of Elections.
“I just feel like a lot of little things is our little town here need to be fixed,” Grant said. “I thought I could make a difference.”
Law said he decided to run because there are things that need to be brought up in Council.
“I look forward to helping the Mayor (Junior Williams), and working with all of them,” Law said.
Gary Stephenson said change needs to come to the village.
“I want to see a change in New Boston,” Stephenson said. “I want to be councilman and do a little change, some things I see that need to be changed. People have asked me to run and that’s why I’m running.”
How has the village done since reinventing itself from a major manufacturing community to one centered around retail?
“A lot of it goes clear back to Mayor (James) Warren and Bob Walton who was over the (Southern Ohio) Port Authority at the time,” Imes said. “That crew did a lot to reinvent New Boston. That was before my time. I’ve only been there since 2010, and this will be my third term if I’m reelected. Since then, Mayor (Junior) Williams has taken over and he’s going forward and trying to find new businesses. Dan Fetty, one of our councilmen, is heading up our Economic Development department and trying to get things on our website where somebody can go to and see what we have available, and hopefully get some of our empty buildings filled up too. With the loss of KMart, that’s even more important.”
“Over the last 50-60 or more years, New Boston has done very well over those years and reinvented itself,” Ottney said. “Instead of wollowing in what it has lost, it has been able to reinvent itself and recognize that it may not be what it was, but it can still be productive and moving forward.”
“I don’t think it’s going very well,” Grant said. “I think we’re losing too much business. I have lived here in the (Scioto) county and this town for over 48 years, and I have just watched it dwindle away. I feel like we need some new business in town.”
“I think that worked out pretty good,” Law said. “We got the Super Walmart, and we’re losing KMart, but that’s all over the world. There’s a lot of empty buildings that businesses can move into, like the old Golden Corral, it has been empty for a while. DayMar College is still empty. There’s a lot of buildings that need to be looked at.”
“Since Detroit Steel has left, we have improved and done a lot of work, but I don’t think we’ve even come close to what we had,” Stephenson said. “KMart is leaving us. They’re packing up and closing. Walmart usually stays for about 20 years then leave, so I look for them to pack up and move on. That’s what they did once before. They moved from one spot to another. Their 20 years is up and they’ll be moving again.”
“This new highway coming in, how is Portsmouth and New Boston going to do with the bypass,” Stephenson said.
Vonald Patrick was not reachable on Wednesday.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.