- Eyes On
CRIDERSVILLE — A local legislative body is seeing new faces this year to help lead the village.
A former Criders-ville Fire Department assistant chief and the current Lion’s Club president took their new seats on Monday evening as they attended their first village council meeting as councilors.
Rick Walls and Stacey Myers Cook were sworn in at the meeting.
“New people bring incite and vision and I am hoping they open up discussions and offer solutions of areas they are passionate about,” Cridersville Mayor Lorali Myers said after the meeting. “New people always bring the opportunity to reflect on where we are at and where we need to go.”
Walls and Myers Cook took over for former councilors, Jeff Bassitt and Dorance Thompson, who decided against seeking re-election.
Walls, who is the service director at Mike Swaney GMC in Wapakoneta, said he chose to get involved with village council because he wants to stay involved with the community that he has lived in since 1974.
The former assistant fire chief for the village retired two years ago from that position, a spot he filled for 28 years.
“I have always been involved,” Walls said. “I was looking to do something. I’m back in the community again.”
Walls said he was always involved in different fire functions, and now that he retired from that, he wanted to take a different avenue in the village and help the citizens of Cridersville in another way.
“My goals are try to help with the expansion of Cridersville,” Walls said, “and to fill empty buildings. I would love to see them get businesses in them.”
Walls is referring to a few buildings in the village that are currently vacant, including the Endless Endeavours and the site of the former Dollar General convenience store.
The new councilor also took on the role of being on the board for the Wapakoneta Area Econonic Development Council (WAEDC) to represent the village along with councilor Tony Zuppardo.
The village paid their annual membership fee, of $3,850, to be a member of WAEDC.
WAEDC helps the village of Cridersville by attempting to bring in local economic efforts to the area and to help them to find businesses and to bring new developments to the area.
The duties of Walls and Zuppardo are to be the contacts between the village and WAEDC, as they will attend monthly meetings and bring back ideas that will benefit the community to the council for discussion, that may include potential development and business opportunities in the community.
Myers Cook, who is a mutlimedia journalist at Your Hometown Stations, said she decided to be a part of council because it is her turn to step up to the plate.
Myers Cook, who is a native of Cridersville, said her parents and family have been big supporters of the village, and she said it is now her turn to do the same.
“After attending meetings last year, with situations of the property rebuilding after the tornado and the Tree Commission and attending those meetings, I just thought it was time to support and lead the community.” Myers Cook said. “I’m very involved with volunteer-ism, so this is just another hat to wear with the community.”
The Cridersville Lion’s Club and Garden Club president said that her experience with the community has given her a chance to know the community from a different perspective.
“I will take my knowledge to work on the village council in another role,” Myers Cook said, “and to help get a voice out.”
Myers Cook, who is also the vice president of the Cridersville Tree Commission and a member of the village’s Historical Society, said that she will take on this challenge whole heartedly and with dedication.
Walls and Myers Cook, along with councilor Paul Lynch, who took over Beverly Wood’s position after she resigned at the end of last year, are all new to the council this year, and Myers Cook said she is excited for the fresh faces to bring their new perspective to help better the community.
Another new face was sworn into the village as a part-time police officer for the Cridersville Police Department.
Kevin Brogee was welcomed to the team on Monday night, as he was the fourth person that Cridersville Police Chief John Drake recently hired after interviews last year.