Lesch excited about next four years

As Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch heads into her second term, she's both concerned about the economy and optimistic about the city's future. "I had a lot to learn,' Lesch said about her first four years. "But I had really good people teaching me.'
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


As Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch heads into her second term, she’s both concerned about the economy and optimistic about the city’s future.

“I had a lot to learn,” Lesch said about her first four years. “But I had really good people teaching me.”  

Lesch was sworn into her second four-year term on New Year’s Day.

The mayor cited the city’s comprehensive plan that came after months of working to get the input of hundreds of people as the biggest accomplishment of her first term.

“It gave the community the chance to take part in city government,” she said. “It really began to guide the city even before the plan was finalized. It is something that charts the course for us for the years ahead.”

Lesch hopes one of the hallmarks of her administration is collaboration.

“We’ve worked hard to create an open administration and work collaboratively with others,” she said, including collaboration between city hall and city council and with county departments.

Even with the successes, Lesch’s first four years haven’t been without disappointment.

“My biggest challenge was the situation with Aldi’s,” she said.  

The city wanted to use part of the parking lot owned by the food chain for an extension to Cline Street and the possibility of the city’s forcing the issue by taking the property by eminent domain was raised.

“In the end, it all worked out,” Lesch said. “Progress happened, but it wasn’t the easiest thing.”

Work on cleaning up the old Norwalk Foundry has also gone slower than the mayor hoped.

“We’ve made some significant progress,” she said.

Hopefully, Lesch added, foreclosure proceedings now in process and the work of both a state and a federal grant to clean up the property, will make it attractive to a buyer in the next year.

“The new buyers won’t have unknown liability,” Lesch said.

Other government mandates have challenged Lesch in her first term. She said $15 million dollar requirements for water treatment and combined sewer overflow systems have not been easy to handle. The city is now completing $8 million of mandated improvements to the water treatment plan and will now work on other Environmental Protection Agency mandates.

In the plus column, Lesch said, is the work by Norwalk Finance Director Diane Eschen.

“Because of her good management, we’ve been able to get some really exceptional loans through the state,” Lesch said.

Another bonus for Lesch is the people working on economic development for the area.

“The biggest challenge for my next term is concerns about economic development — what’s our economy going to look like in 10 years?” she asked. “We’ve been hit so much with the loss of automotive jobs. We have to be creative to attract new businesses. We have to do our part to ‘incentivize’ a new economy.

“There are exciting possibilities out there , but its going to take work,” she added.

“What we have is a good collaborative of folks working together,” Lesch said, calling Norwalk Economic Development Director Bethany Dentler “one of the best folks in the state understanding economic development.”

“We do have a diverse group working on it and they all represent their own interests, but its also important that we work collaboratively and we work together,” Lesch said.

The mayor’s New Year wish for all of her constituents: “jobs like we used to have that a family could live on and that afforded benefits.”

Her pledge to residents: “The cost of living hasn’t gone down, but many families don’t have benefits and have lower wages. We have to fight to make sure they (employers) are looking at Norwalk when they’re looking for a place to come.”

City council will hold an organizational meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Norwalk Municipal Court.


Stars on the fl...

To wear our country's flag properly, the field of stars is worn closest to your heart. Further, when worn on the sleeve of a military uniform, the flag should appear to be advancing and not retreating. Thus, if your patch is to be worn on your LEFT sleeve, use a left flag (normal). For patches worn on your RIGHT sleeve, use a "right" or "reversed field" flag

do the gragage trrucks display the flags this way?

Stars on the fl...

To wear our country's flag properly, the field of stars is worn closest to your heart. Further, when worn on the sleeve of a military uniform, the flag should appear to be advancing and not retreating. Thus, if your patch is to be worn on your LEFT sleeve, use a left flag (normal). For patches worn on your RIGHT sleeve, use a "right" or "reversed field" flag

do the garbage trucks display the flags this way?

to the mayor (A...

Best wishes. I hope the areas current factory will expand there. Hopefully Norwalk can garner good jobs with good pay. Everyone will benefit then. Once a Mrs. Mayor good luck.

error (Anonymous)

should read : Once again Mrs. Mayor good luck.

Lesch Watch (An...

Let's recap the government intrusions perpetrated by Sue Lesch in 2007. 1) The railroading and behind the scenes trash that led to Berry's being denied alcohol in the park. 2) the smearing of a good man's character by arranging a beer drinking sting at the park after softball. 3) The unlawful firing of public works director Jim Sawyer. There is a lawsuit and the city will have to pay a large settlement because Sawyer didn't kiss Lesch's boots. 4) The hasty moratorium on outdoor wood furnaces that will end up costing people who invested thousands. 5) Lesch appropriated more money to Bethany Dentler's operation even though Dentler is doing nothing of substance. 6) And the latest witch hunt against bars.

re-Lesch Watch ...

Do you really feel any/and all items listed involve the Mayor as far as "getting" things started? I feel she probably had to react because of citizens complaints.Are you one of the Berrys?

re-Lesch Watch ...

I should be honest with you. I think you are one of the Berrys because the first complaint you listed started with Berrys not being allowed to serve alcohol.

tim (Anonymous)

As one who attended one of the meetings about the Old Foundry clean-up situation I think the Mayor is trying hard for the best of Norwalk. I can also say that those who have complanied to me about local issues are the ones who don't vote or attend any of the council meetings

Randy who (Anon...

Everyone thinks the mayor is doing ok except the drunks and barflies.

re/tim (Anonymous)

You are so right.

Open Before Mar...

No I'm not a ghost. HaHAHAhHAHAHHHAHAHAHhahah. Man!

D Berry must be ticked off.

Sounds like alot of people

don't like his restaurant.

Wonder why?

That New Restaurant will take $ SUM $

of his guest's away if it's any better..

Which it will because It can't be worst!

Open Before Mar...

I loved to drink beer and whiskey,

even a little wine now and then.

Also it's been over a year and I don't drink anymore.

But someday maybe I will "GET MY DRINK ON" again,

But it won't happen in a park....

No drinking in parks in Norwalk that's the rules

Like it or not.

And that's the LAW

P.S. Good Luck in the next 4 years

Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch Great 5*****Star Job the last 4yrs

Paul T. (Anonymous)

Mrs Mayor Keep it up! Sure glad to hear you talk about our future regarding good jobs with benefits. We all win when our economy thrives. Is the old foundry owner in Mich. still alive? Have any terms with him been met? Thanks.

re-Randy (Anonymous)

I don't think D.Berry approves of her.

JEF (Anonymous)

Mayor, if as you say that you are proud of 'city's comprehenive plan,' why is a complete copy of it no longer available as a link and a download on Norwalk's home page? Also, kindy take action to improve the city's wimpy tag line that adorns the opening web page - 'One of the Best Small Cities in Ohio.' Are we proud of Norwalk or not?

Mike (Anonymous)

Very interesting how all of the sudden we are concerned about good jobs when we just let 60 union jobs walk right out of town and the administration did nothing! But somehow I am sure that is totally unrelated to them looking to attract new employers

how can you fau...

for doing a wonderful job? do any of you remember the Brooks Hartman reign?? well that was a total mess, but with Mayor Lesch she has a unique and wonderful quality about her.. she is old enough, and i guess the better word is mature enough to try to advance Norwalk into the future, but she is also young enough to see that change is not always a bad thing.. i like those qualities in her. she has done alot for the city, and the citizens of this city.Mayor Lesch is very friendly and compassionate, and will listen intently to anyone who goes to her with an idea. i like to feel like i am a part of a city, and she makes everyone feel that way.. keep up the good work Mayor Lesch and the best of luck to you in this term, i do hope that there is a reasonable solution to the fire station delima also. that is a huge problem and we need alot of imput and guidance to resolve this, because it definately affects the future of us all

re Mike (Anonymous)

Could you explain in more detail about those jobs? Thank you. tim.

reJEF (Anonymous)

Do you think the mayor was the cause of your desired link being eliminated? As far as the tag line - c'mon JEF. You posted before & presented really good statements but geez;how can someone please everybody?

I'd like you (A...

to try & do that job. Anyone that deals with the public knows it can be very demanding. Talk to any waitress or low paid service workers. It can be a s.o.b. Now take it up a notch - you get to deal with rotten s.o.b.'s with money PHUCk. They can act like little punk BEA's. Good luck & best wishes to you mayor.

Bob - 0 (Anonymous)

Mayor we don't always share the same ideas but I know you try to do the right thing. Keep it up.

Hey Mike (Anonymous)

If you mean Giant Eagle thats seems to be how bigger organizations are. They usually want to maximize their $$$. They most generally don't seem to be community minded.

Lesch Watch (An...

What about Jim Sawyer getting blindsided? Perfectly good engineer and Lesch took him out for no good reason. And really, what SUBSTANTIAL economic development has gone on??

JEF (Anonymous)

reJEF, If nothing else, what's wrong with simply regurgitating the old saw of 'The Maple City'? Don't you think that it's better than making Norwalk sound like an also-ran or a second class city? 'One of the best?' What does that mean??? Also, the Mayor doesn't have the power to order that the button be linked to 'The Plan?' If she's proud of the city's comprehensive plan wouldn't ya think that she'd want to let everyone have easy access to this part of her first term accomplishments?

Mike (Anonymous)

I'd be happy to elaborate. They had a legitimate employer with 60 union jobs. Granted they are not manufacturing jobs which is what people seem to be salivating over but a job is a job in this town and I feel like they did nothing to support it. Yet she says in this article she is looking for new employers. I don't mean to beat a dead horse but if you scroll through the help wanted section on this website it is fairly bleak at best! So I dont understand why she is so excited about finding new employers when she wont support the ones that she has.

Re: Mike (Anonymous)

If you can do better then run for mayor I will vote for you.

tim (Anonymous)

Mike I posted earlier with a question - I'm not the 12:54 post. My thoughts are many. I lived in this county in the eighties when like so many others I was laid-off. Like so many others I had a family to support and found a dead end job after a lengthy search. Minimum wage. At the time it seemed like people that were age 40 & over didn't care about those who were out of work. They were employed. To me this same mindset prevailed nationwide - you are out of work; not me. What it boils down to is this the mayor seems to place value on any employment that pays better than piss poor wages. ALL of us need these kind of jobs. Sorry if you lost yours - it sucks!! I know.

to JEF (Anonymous)

Hope to hear you say these things at the next city council meeting.

This (Anonymous)

I know. Bentheny Dentler spoke in great detail about the old foundry clean-up. This was a few years back. The mayor was involved in this. Some of Norwalk's bigger employers expressed interest in the location, but because of EPA concerns they were reluctant about setting up on the existing site. My guess is the old rich geezer in Mich. that owns it died. The area should provide news in the very near future. Alas I regress, the mayor was involved from the start.iseeu


You must be either Doug or Jim or friends of Jim.