The Shops At Franklin Place retail area are getting an addition.
Construction equipment has been giving the area along Monroe Street some preparation work for the 7,200 sq. ft. building which will house 3-4 new businesses.
Bill Bostleman, manager of development for Devonshire REIT, owner of the retail center, said construction is expected to be completed in five to six months.
He said there are two businesses committed to opening in the new structure.
The remaining space could be occupied by one or two tenants, he added. He declined to name the prospective tenants who are lined up.
Mr. Bostleman said the store fronts of the new building will face Monroe Street and the new building will be constructed with the same material used to build Marshalls and HomeGoods, relatively new additions on the property.
A number of smaller retailers have also opened on the 27.5 acre site since it was purchased by Devonshire REIT in 2013.
The first and welcome move by the real estate investment trust was to raze the large multi-screen theater which had stood vacant along Monroe Street since 2005.
Sylvania Township has determined that it may hire an applicant for a job on the fire department even if that person is certified only as either an emergency medical technician or as a firefighter.
John Zeitler, township administrator, quickly added that during the six month probationary period for a new hire, that individual would have to become certified in the specialty which they were lacking.
Until now, the practice as been that an applicant had to be certified in both specialties.
Mr. Zeitler said the change is prompted by a desire, "to expand the pool of people who can apply for the job."
There is a much larger group of people who are certified as either an emergency medical technician or firefighter than the number of people with both.
As an example, he said that if someone who is an emergency medical technician was hired after passing the required tests and background check that person would have to take a firefighters course and pass it.
While on the department in that capacity, the individual would respond to medical emergencies but would not act as a firefighter.
He added that the township would pay for whatever training a new hire would require to meet the standard for being a fully-accredited member of the department.
In recent years the township has averaged hiring one new full-time firefighter annually.
At the six-month point in the year, all Sylvania Township departments are operating within their budgets, according to a report make to the trustees at their most recent meeting by David Simko, township fiscal officer.
The midway point showed that most departments were doing somewhat better than expected in terms of revenue and all were below their budget allotment for expenses.
The one department short on the revenue side is the fire department, but Mr. Simko said that at the time of the report they had not yet received money due for the second quarter of the EMS contract.
He added that there is little departments can do about revenues since they are nearly all dictated by tax receipts, but that all employees should take credit for continuing to keep a close eye on expenses.
He noted that at the six month mark, departments could normally be at 50 percent of their budget limit for the year. He pointed out that the general fund is at 42.9 percent, the police fund is at 46.8 percent and the fire fund 46,3 percent. Mr. Simko also said the road and bridge fund is at 32.1 percent of expected annual expenses, but that that number is due to raise and the department gets more heavily into road projects now that the weather has improved.
Neal Mahoney, chairman of the trustees, agreed that township employees have done a good job controlling expenses but added that Mr. Simko deserves credit for keeping a close eye on the budget.
The fiscal officer added that he is pleased with what he views as a general attitude that it's up to everyone to see that expenses are kept down and that even small saving here and
there can add up to substantial savings over a year.
Sylvania Township officials are revising procedures for recruiting applicants for jobs as township firefighters.
John Zeitler, township administrator, told trustees, at their most recent meeting, that the goal of the changes is not to reduce standards needed for hiring, but to alter some of the requirements for applying for the position.
As an example, he noted that until now an applicant needed certification as both a firefighter and an emergency medical technician to apply for a position with the department. The township will change that so an applicant under the new policy can have a certification for only one or the other to qualify to take the exam. As past practice, applicants must pass a physical ability test to be placed on the Hiring Eligibility List.
At the point of hiring full time, however, the applicant must be certified in both specialties.
When an opening occurs in the fire department, a list of 15 qualified applicants will be compiled. If there is more than one opening, there will be a list of 20.
Individuals in that group will be interviewed by a panel of four, which will now include the human resource director of the township.
Those who are determined to be finalists will then have a background check.
The Lucas County Prosecutors office will evaluate the background of the applicants and report back to the township that the individual passed or failed. The Prosecutors office will retain all background records.
In answer to a question from Neal Mahoney, chairman of the trustees, John Borell, an assistant Lucas County Prosecutor, said the township is and has been in compliance with all laws related to nondiscrimination in hiring practices.
The township has hired a total of four new full-time firefighters in the last four years.
Mr. Zeitler noted that the township is not correcting anything which was wrong, but is making an effort to expand the pool of future hires.
He added that the township hopes to expand efforts through additional advertising and he noted that they will likely approach Owens Community College, which offers classes for emergency medical technicians.
Obstacles to a new electronic messaging board in front of Stranahan School, 3840 North Holland-Sylvania Rd, have been overcome with the approval to two variances of township zoning regulations.
The new sign will be somewhat higher than regulations call for and it will also be closer to the street than zoning regulations allow.
Daryl Graus, zoning and planning manager for the township, said he had no objection to the sign being higher than the standard, but noted that by placing the sign close to the roadway a distraction could be caused for drivers.
A proponent for the variance said that if the sign is pushed back from the proposed location its readability would be lessened and that might cause a greater distraction for those interested in the message on the sign.
Jeremy Bauer, principal at Stranahan, said the students there are excited about getting a new sign which will include an electronic message.
He said that before the school year ended he had gotten together with some of those who will be returning to try to work out a way to have the youngsters involved in creating some of the messages which will be shown.
Sylvania Township trustees, during an organizational session at their most recent meeting, decided to change the starting time of meetings to be held the first Tuesday of each month.
The first-Tuesday meeting will now have a starting time of 5 p.m., one hour later than that meeting was held last year.
John Jennewine, trustee, said some people had suggested to him that more citizens might be able to attend if the starting time was moved back from 4 p.m.
The other regularly scheduled meeting of the trustees will continue to be held at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
Sylvania Township has launched an alert system which will allow for a message to be sent to a residents phone and/or email address when Lucas County or the township issue notice of an emergency, such as a tornado warning.
Those who choose to can add features such as reminders of township public meetings, planned road closures and other things of significance to local residents.
Sylvania Township is offering the service for free, although some message fees may apply.
To obtain the service, a resident should go to www.sylvaniatownship.com. On the home page there is a link which will take you to the form to sign up for the service. Then just fill out the application and click "sign up now" at the bottom of the page.
When police and fire departments are faced with emergency situations one of their problems is dealing with members of the public who have unexpectedly arrived at the scene. Just trying to manage traffic and control crowds becomes a job in itself. With the alert system, people on their way to a destination can be warned that there is a problem at a given site and will be able to drive around the area. They will not have as much inconvenience and safety forces will be able to concentrate on the issue to which they responded.
Of a more benign nature, a resident may be following an issue in the township and can receive a reminder of the next public meeting dealing with the issue.
By signing up for Sylvania Alerts you will automatically get emergency alerts issued by the Lucas County and can choose from a number of options for alerts offered by the township.
The service was earlier approved by Sylvania Township trustees and has been purchased by the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency. To participate, the township has agreed to pay no more than $2,500 annually. That cost could be reduced if enough other jurisdictions join the service.
Township officials said none of those who sign up will receive unsolicited calls nor will contact numbers be sold to other parties.
Township residents who sign up for the program may also choose to be notified of such things as the annual leaf and brush pick up and other events of general interest.
Use the form on the Home Page to sign up.