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.


to who ever (A...

Wrote about businesses being the mainstay of the community take a hike. Things go hand in hand. The business will function as long as the PEOPLE in the community allow/support it.Best wishes Mrs.Mayor

to pond scum (A...

If we don't attract jobs that pay real wages, in 5years local non-chain restaurants will close.

re: to pond scu...

here's a news flash for you I have lived in Norwalk all my life and worked in Norwalk most of my life and there have NEVER been many jobs in this town that pay REAL wages.

re: I think (An...

apparantly not it does not seem to be working out real well for someone.

real wage (Anon...

I agree 100% with you. I don't know how old you are, but what I do know is this. Talk to people 60 years or older. They can tell you about a time when almost anyone could find a good job if they searched hard enough. I know now a good job is next to impossible to come by.That is why I'm glad to hear the mayor talk about wishing for jobs we used to have. Yeah I know wishing alone isn't gonna do it. Like the mayor said it will take work. I'm lucky to work at the railroad.

A Marine Mom (A...

I like the Mayor...I just want to receive a reply as to why the flags on the Sanitation/Garbage trucks have the stars in the upper right vs upper left hand corner. It's that simple.

And for Pete's sake I would like someone to repaint them. It's disrespectful and makes the City looked ridiculous.

re/real wage (A...

Isn't the railroad union?

A Marine Mom (A...

I like the Mayor...I just want to receive a reply as to why the flags on the Sanitation/Garbage trucks have the stars in the upper right vs upper left hand corner. It's that simple.

And for Pete's sake I would like someone to repaint them. It's disrespectful and makes the City look ridiculous.

to re/real wag...

Yes the railroad is union. I'm happy to be working there.

re: real wage (...

I am early 30's and yes my grandparent's have talked about how there USED to be good jobs in this town they are in their eighties. Example Norwalk Trucklines both grandfather's worked there, liked the job thought they were paid well for the times and were able to support their families. Fanny Farmers another big employer in Norwalk had a great aunt who worked there till they closed, know other people who worked there also, none of them had any complaints. Norwalk Furniture know lots of people besides the relatives that work there, their wages seem to be good only complaint I have heard is people were made they got rid of piece rate. I just don't know if this town has seen it's hey day and this is what we are stuck with now. Hopefully something will be done because this area certainly does need higher paying jobs because right now you basically have to move away or at least go to Sandusky or Willard or even farther away for higher wages.

early thirties ...

The sad fact is nation wide people your age are going to have a grim future unless things really change. People my age need to quit being so G.D. greedy & think about those behind us. I sincerely wish the mayor well & hope that this administration can accomplish their objectives.

re: early thirt...

I am glad that I was able to put myself through school and I have a good job but it's the ones who could not go to school for whatever reason that may not get such a good paying job. Not everyone is cut out for school but everyone who works and does their job right deserves a living wage.

Lesch Watch (An...

For the last time I am not a Berry. Like I said before, I think Doug is running a treasure into the ground. Yes its nice that lesch talks about job development, but really what is her record for getting GOOD PAYING compnaies to move or expand inside the city??? When furniture goes south what in god's name is the plan Sue? You had better be ready for that firestorm.

JEF (Anonymous)

Lesch Watch, not to totally detract from your arguments (many of which I am in agreement), but the Mayor is battling a strong head wind. Unemployment in Huron Co. for November was 7.1% and Ohio is near the top in the U.S. for the highest taxes on individuals and business.

IMO, the best Mayor Lesch can do is to use the current resources at hand to their greatest efficiency and basically wait for some economic and fiscal sanity to return to Columbus.

Lesch Watch (An...

JEF, that's no reason to ease up on her. Tough times call for bold action, not BS talk and crap jobs. We can help by voting YES on the conveyance fee increase that will assist economic development!

daRyl (Anonymous)

Never, ever give government more money for any reason.

JEF (Anonymous)

Lesch Watch, can't agree with 50% RE fee increase. An economy cannot tax it's way to prosperity. Rather temporarily decrease the fee, and market THAT as one reason to move a business or a family to the area.

'Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.' - Ronald Reagan

swiss family......

i am very happy with the job that Maror Lesch has done in her first term,and wish her all of the best with her second term..it seems that it is very easy to sit back and critisize everything she has tried to accomplish,for some people, but i should remind everyone that she is a very friendly and accesable person, and i am sure that she welcomes any suggestions for all of the topics that anyone has,either by going to the city council meetings, or by making a face to face,one on one meeting with her..she,and all govt. officials are not rulers of the land,where what they think, goes! they try to do what the majority of the people want..


"Ketchup is a vegetable.: -- Ronald Reagan

Andy Prutsok (A...

Thanks to all on this thread for your reasoned, issue-focused comments and obvious concern for our community. This is a great example of how this feature should operate as opposed to the many threads populated by trolls who simply want to flame on others and make vicious personal attacks.

As a side note, early next month, we (the Reflector) will begin requiring registration (A name and valid email address) for anyone posting on this site, so that we can identify those who abuse it and revoke their privileges. You will still be able to post anonymously, but the Reflector will know who you are.

Thanks again, and I hope you all have a happy and prosperous 2008.

I smell a rat.....

'nuf said...

Deer Dave, (Ano...

To Andy...I hope that wasn't a made up comment, and I come back to find it deleted. I can hardly wait before you start to make people register their comments. I'm sure knowing that the Reflector can and would ID someone when they make slanderous remarks will make some people change their ways and what they write on here. I am curious as to how this came about...what made you to come up with this decision? Or rather, was it a whom? Someone threaten to sue? Do tell...;)

Andy Prutsok (A...

The comment is genuine. We have been intending to do it for some time, waiting on our migration to a new platform that will allow us to have one registration apply to the entire site. But that appears to be about six months off, so we're just going to go ahead and do it, thanks in large part to all the vitriol on the first baby story thread.

I hope you all will continue to participate.

A Marine Mom (A...

I believe that doing away with the 'COMMENT ON THIS STORY' feature would be the best possible solution to curb the negativity. This type of forum as well as the one that ones can post anonymously (although the Reflector will know who we are) are nothing but trouble.

Tell me, what good comes from all of this? It is so sad that people have to act the way they do and say the things they say. So very sad.

Andy Prutsok (A...

I sympathize with your Marine Mom, but the fact remains reader interaction and forums such as this are the future of journalism. If the Reflector does not offer this, then someone else will. We just need to do everything we can to police it as well as possible and hope that readers such as yourself will report abusers to us ASAP. Thanks for the input.

ron reagan (Ano...

set the standard for walmarts everywhere.

pink slip (Anon...

well i got my norwalk furniture pink slip today ..... sucks i get 1 months notice along with some others that aren't being asked back .. the downward spiral beings!

Prutsuck (Anonymous)

Fu-ck you PRUTSUCK. go back to where you came from you cocksucker!

Did those bashi...

stop to think that if she is so bad then why hasn't someone else ran for mayor against her in the last election?