WARSAW — Mayor Joe Thallemer began the 2017 State of the City address on Monday, Feb. 27, by stating, “We’ve got a lot to talk about today.” There was a lot to talk about as Thallemer summarized the progress and improvements made in Warsaw in 2016 and looked toward the future of the community.
The address was held at The Vic in Warsaw. Community members enjoyed lunch as they listened the address given by Thallemer.
Thallemer began by applauding the community as being a unique location in the state. “We know what happens in the Warsaw/Winona Lake community doesn’t happen anywhere else like this in the state,” said Thallemer.
Thallemer recognized council members, elected officials, employees of the city of Warsaw and department heads and staff for their hard work to achieve the goals of the community.
The mayor noted that in 1960, the population of Warsaw was 7,200. Since then, the population has double to a total of 14,400 residents.
“Our foundation and heritage is where we come from and who we are,” said Thallemer.
He noted the “above ground” changes, or the ones that people most easily notice that occurred last year. The mayor highlighted the industrial growth with the medical industry and medical devices. Last year, Warsaw saw retail growth with restaurants, stores and a medical device company opening their doors downtown.
One of the more noticeable improvements completed last year was the Main Street roadway construction project. Despite delays due to failing stormwater pipes, the project was completed.
Thallemer mentioned upcoming roadway projects on Husky Trail, Market Street, CR 300 North and North Buffalo Streets will begin in 2017.
The crowd laughed as Thallemer emphasized, “The city expects delays as construction season begins.” He asked for the communities patience as construction crews complete the projects.
Automobile and truck traffic is estimated to highly increase in the next 15 years on US 30. Governor Eric Holcomb has given priority to making US 30 into a limited access freeway from the Ohio state line to Valparaiso. Thallemer mentioned due to this change, individuals will be using traffic data to give options to the community for this project. These improvements would be similar to the ones that have occurred on US 31.
During the address, Thallemer mentioned the improvements that are “Out of sight, but not of mind.”
Thallemer noted one of the top of the town’s list of concerns for the coming year are the aging sanitary lines that were uncovered during the Main Street project. Similar findings at other locations have given cause for concern. These lines are pre-1899 sewer pipes. Most of which serve a significant portion of the community. Forty-nine thousand feet of aging pipe need to be relined as soon as possible to prevent possible washout of roads.
Last year, a relatively new wastewater treatment plant hit 90 percent capacity for the plant last year. The plant had been estimated to last at least another seven years. This result of aging pipes leads to consideration of additions to the plant in the near future.
Thallemer highlighted the major treatment plant project that will begin this summer. The revenue will come from sewer bonds and increased fees. Monthly sewer fees for residents are at $32, below the statewide average of $45.
Due to the expansion of 40 miles of coverage for Wayne Township, six years ago the city began planning for the new fire station in the south side of Warsaw. Thallemer mentioned the construction for the station will begin sometime this summer.
“It is important that you realize how important community partnerships are as we grow and change. Our strength and success as a community is defined by the collaborations we work hard to build. Look at what we’ve done.”