Mayor: Hubbard seeing progress
HUBBARD — When he took office as mayor of Hubbard in January 2020, Ben Kyle said he did not know what to expect when two months later the coronavirus pandemic began, but the city was able to see several important projects completed this year.
“We worked through the pandemic with some roadblocks that we confronted. We really navigated them well and now in 2021, in my opinion as well as the auditor, we are in solid financial footing and are looking to the future,” he said.
Kyle said the Myron Street bridge restoration project being completed and the renaming of it as the Hubbard Veterans Bridge was a major project for 2021.
“Over the past year, even just for the renaming of it, was something the city was able to get accomplished with cooperation of council, local veterans’ groups and county engineer Randy Smith. The original bridge was put up decades ago and the new one is a well needed replacement. Now all the bridges in the city of Hubbard have all been replaced and meet today’s standards. That was a big accomplishment for us,” Kyle said.
He said the Myron Street bridge was continually having issues with weight limits. Kyle has several framed photos of the bridge and other bridge projects in his office.
He credits former Mayor John Darko for getting the bridge project started.
“Looking into the future, there may be another bridge we can also honor other veterans,” he said.
In 2020, the city received an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant for playground equipment at Mattinat Park and is now seeking another ODNR grant for playground equipment at Waughfield Park.
“Both city parks have been newly paved, and major improvements done for parking at both. This is a welcome site since so many people have been visiting the parks and can now get in and out quite easily,” he said.
Several streets are also being improved as city council this month approved a $295,256 contract with Kirila Contractors for paving this summer as part of an Ohio Public Works Commission project, including sections of Erie and Center streets, Oak Knoll, Burdie, Jerry and Doris drives and Westview Avenue.
“A couple of them are very important because they are by the school and get a huge amount of traffic. These are heavily traveled residential streets. These are streets that were also in need of dire repair. They will be paved in the upcoming months. We are trying to make road improvements all over the city to have meaningful impact,” Kyle said.
He said the 2022 street paving application has been submitted to OPWC for as many as 11 streets next year.
“We are trying for an even bigger application for more streets next year than what was applied for this year,” he said.
Also in his second year as mayor, Kyle said the police department saw the addition of Oakley, a police comfort dog, who has been working with police Chief Bob Thompson visiting the schools, library and other locations.
“The dog has been a wonderful community outreach tool. The dog has made a big difference for the community as a tool to have conversations and connections with kids and the elderly. We have received a lot of positive feedback,” he said.
He said the city and township contract to provide ambulance service, and this year the entities contracted with Lane Life Trans and started a working relationship to provide ambulance service to both communities.
“It is a work in progress. They are stationed here at the city building to provide the fastest response time,” Kyle said.
Kyle said city and township officials are discussing the best course of action to move forward with them and the Eagle Joint Fire District.
Kyle said the city is working with the Trumbull County Land Bank and the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership to get a former gas station building and property cleaned up. The project received a $250,000 grant with help from the land bank. Kyle said the gas station was vacant for 15 years,
“That was a huge project because there were leaking tanks in the ground. There were issues when the gas station became abandoned. It took years of work to get tanks out of the ground and the building taken down. We hope to get a positive economic development situation there. It is ready for development,” he said.