Images in this story are screen shots from The Stream TV coverage of the city council meeting Jan. 3, 2023.
Titusville City Manager Neil Fratus took the council on a flashback tour of all the things accomplished in 2022.
Fratus presented 26 highlights during Tuesday night’s city public meeting and touched on an array of items from large-scale projects to continued community programs.
“We get so wrapped up in what we’re doing in any given month… that we don’t realize how much was accomplished in the entirety of the year,” deputy mayor Sara Jones said following the presentation. “… It’s nice to see that we are moving forward.”
Diamond Street Park – “(We’re) getting down toward the end of that project,” Fratus said of the city’s newest downtown green space, which will be complete once sod is placed in the spring. The project had a $260,000 budget, but increased prices had all the work coming in closer to $400,000, therefore some items like cafe tables and benches were cut from the plan. Fratus said the city continues to look for additional grants and partnerships to purchase items eliminated from the project, such as café tables and benches.
Dog Park Grant – The Titusville Redevelopment Authority was awarded $25,000 to create a new dog park at the Ed Myer Complex near the BMX trail. The park, which will be built in 2023, will include separate sections for small and large dogs. It will use some of the existing fencing from an old baseball field. The city will reallocate Community Development Block Grant funding designated for the park before the grant was awarded. “That will free up some money for other projects down at the complex,” Fratus said.
City Sidewalk Study – Former junior council member Gavin Griffin spearheaded an effort to survey all the city’s sidewalks. “Many of them are in deplorable condition,” Fratus said of the findings. The next step is for the city to work alongside Crawford County to allocate CDBG funding for repair efforts and “fix a lot of these sidewalks in town that are in bad shape,” he said.
Community Garden – In partnership with the United Way of the Titusville Region, raised beds were built as the David L. Weber Memorial Community Garden on Central Avenue. That partnership was continued in 2022. Fratus said additional upgrades will be made at the location as United Way received a grant to purchase a removable pavilion.
Senior Center Apartment – City workers completed updates to a two-bedroom apartment in the Titusville Community Center at Burgess Park. Fratus expects the apartment to be ready to rent later this month.
South Perry Street Bridge – After being closed for several years, the truss bridge was removed in 2022. CDBG will be used for an engineering study to determine what could be done in the area. “Whether it is a walking bridge… a covered walking bridge… (or) do nothing, we ill have an idea of some options that we have and certainly, what it is going to cost,” Fratus said.
Recycling Center – Upgrades to the building near the water department are nearly complete. Recycling services will soon be relocated from near the sewage plant to the rehabilitated property near the O’Rouke Baseball Field. The city is hoping to receive a grant for additional machinery at the center.
South Martin Street Bike Lane – The redevelopment authority received funding to create the lanes near Giant Eagle. Signs still need to be installed. “I’ve seen people using it and it looks great,” Fratus said.
Taco Bell – Construction continues at the site of the former Perkins Restaurant. “It’s just exciting to have something utilized in a space that’s been empty,” Fratus said.
Deputy Treasurer – The position, which is done in partnership with the Titusville Area School District, has improved efficiencies at the city by also assisting with the zoning office and enabling the treasurer’s office to offer lunchtime hours.
Security Cameras Installed – Cameras were placed at city hall, parks and the airport to help curb vandalism and potentially solve crimes.
Diamond Maps – The city upgraded its internal, digital mapping system to a more efficient program.
Maps Technologies – The local company replaced a similar service the city used for emergency and code enforcement correspondence.
Hover Phone Service – The city changed phone service providers were allowed for the elimination of unused lines and created cost savings.
Junior Council Program – The city started its second year of having two volunteer high school members on the council “It is great to hear their wonderful ideas,” Fratus said.
Street Sweeper – The new machine has created savings by being more efficient and requiring less maintenance.
Leaf Pickup Truck – The new truck has taken the leaf pickup operation from a three- to four-person operation to a one-person operation.
Roundtable Meetings – Started three years ago, Fratus said the meetings continue to grow in size with 20 to 25 people attending each time. Participants represent different agencies, non-profits, and the school district and discuss updates and possible partnerships.
Church Run Plan – Following the flooding in 2022, the city will use the studies already completed to get an engineer to develop a long-term plan for the area. In the short term, the city will continue to remove debris from the creek as needed.
American Rescue Plan Act – The city received the second part of the nearly $500,000 grant. Fratus said the money was used for a variety of efforts, including the library, police department, flood recovery, city hall repairs and the ambulance purchase.
Tri-County Refuse – “We are very thankful for Tri-County and what they have done,” Fratus said. He reiterated the issues the city faced with their contractor Raccoon Refuse shut down without notice. Tri-County worked with the city to get an emergency contract in place quickly “when we were in desperate need,” Fratus said.
Emergency Parking Ordinance – The city updated its parking rules to cover emergency situations and make snow removal easier. The ordinance has not been used so far this winter.
Fratus said 2022 was a busy year for special events in the city, including some organized by the city in partnership with other organizations such as the graduation parade, Easter parade/Easter Bunny, and Santa parade.
Did you know?
You can attend the Titusville City Council meeting via live stream or watch then afternoon the Stream TV Facebook page.
Council also shares top priorities for 2023
Titusville City Council members took time at the end of Monday’s meeting to share topics they would like to see prioritized in 2023.
Sam Logsdon mentioned the vacant recreation director position. “Moving forward this year, I’d really like to get on that.”
William McCrillis and Chad Covell both pointed to a condemned Diamond Street building as their top priority. McCrillis described the building as an eyesore and deplorable and the roof as terrible. He would like to see something happen at the building rather than demolishing it. “I don’t want to have another green space in town,” he said.
“The city should take a hard look at it,” Covell said of the building. He predicted the building might not last through the winter.
“(We are) at a crossroads of what to do,” city manager Neil Fratus said. He mentioned the building owner, who lives in New York, did reimburse the city for the cost of materials and manpower used to board up the building last year.
Deputy mayor Sara Jones and mayor Jon Crouch both cited interest in getting the city planning commission to help move forward the city’s effort to develop rules pertaining to alternative, temporary housing, like Airbnb, and outdoor dining. “We need to push that along,” Jones said. “We might not be able to build hotels, but with the right ordinances we could have some additional options for (visitors).”
“It’s certainly a disservice to our community that we don’t have this up and running,” Couch said. He also pointed to the need to get more inspections done through the code office.