News Flash

Miami News

Posted on: February 6, 2024

2023, What a Year in Miami!

Electric 1

(MIAMI, OK.) 2023 was a super exciting and electrifying year for the City of Miami! Together the community has risen above challenges and charged forward working towards a greater goal to become a City of vision and progress. With determination, strength, and the innovative leadership of the Miami City Council, Mayor Bless Parker, City Manager Bo Reese, and the dedication and drive of the City Administration and Staff, much was accomplished. 
Mayor Bless Parker said, “Momentum is the key word. Everyone is moving in the same direction and it’s exciting. I appreciate all the staff’s efforts- you’re doing a great job, and Bo as well, it’s greatly appreciated.”
Several fantastic projects, events, infrastructure improvements, new businesses and existing business expansions happened in 2023 and the trajectory is skyrocketing for the community in 2024! The highlights of 2023 set the pace for a stellar year ahead…
Across Miami progress can be seen starting at the turnpike entry. The intersection is getting an update from ODOT to handle the current and anticipated traffic needs of Miami more efficiently and safely. A new food truck park project has begun on the Truck Route at Crawfish Corner. Starting on south Main the investment into our community can be seen in Ottawa Tribe’s new, larger Otter Stop store, opening of the great new Frozen Elephant repurpose of a historic gas station, and Woody’s Bar &Grill just opened. Also, Milli’s Fine Furniture, and Goodfellas’ opened stores in Miami’s downtown central business district. The Modoc and Ottawa Tribes renovated existing buildings for new offices, the Peoria Tribe built and opened a childcare and early learning center. Much needed renovations began for Nine Tribes and Miami Towers offering more downtown housing options. Royalty Speech just opened a newly constructed building, and the Ottawa County Boys & Girls Club is currently remodeling a new location downtown. One old tire shop on Main was cleared to make way for future development, and another location is being renovated and revamped.
Major retailers and company’s set up shop or will open here soon, two new Dollar Generals, Scooter’s, and 7 Brew, a new Mexican restaurant is currently being built, and a Popeye’s and a Starbuck’s coffee shop is on track for north Main. Vance Auto Group will commence construction as soon as possible of their new Dodge/Jeep dealership after clearing the old dealership building this year from the lot which had not produced revenues for decades. As a result, the City has seen record-breaking sales tax collections of over $7 million indicating a strong local economy. 
Miami Public Schools is almost finished with the addition at the Jr High/High School. Northeast Tribal Health Center has started construction on a new wellness facility next to their facility on Hwy. 69 making strides in improved opportunities for education and healthcare needs.
More and better paying jobs and career opportunities came to Miami in industry growth and expansion. The MAEDS spec building in the industrial park has been bought and is being prepared for a new industrial operation and more propositions are in the works. Existing industries have expanded, adding new jobs including Purina, Scepter and J-M Farms.
A top budget priority, the 2023 City Street work was funded by the third largest capital improvement budget for streets in the past 10 years. With many miles of streets to repair or replace the crew was busy this year on streets including blocks and blocks of excavation, compacting subgrade and new complete concrete reconstruction of McKinnley Boulevard from Washington to Rockdale Boulevard, 5th Avenue N.W. from H Street to M street, 7th N.W. from N Street to P Street, D N.W from BJ Tunnell to 4th Street, 10th N.W. from M Street to O Street,  G N.E. from 2nd to 3rd and at  6th and E Street S.E. intersection reconstruction.
York Street in the N.W. has been excavated out and all new curbs, guttering and driveways poured back in concrete and the street will be resurfaced with asphalt in the spring. 20th N.E. between Main and D Street was edge milled and overlayed with two inches of new asphalt. Also, a new culvert was installed and concreted in on Birch Lane in the northeast.
One of the busiest and truly vital departments within the City is the Electric Department. This year the crew changed out 140 plus electric poles, completed 400 plus CT meter inspections, trimmed approximately 25,000 linear feet of powerlines, and changed out 52 transformers to keep this essential service running to customers.
They also installed approximately 315 new LED area, street, and flood lights and repaired approximately 230 existing area, street, and floods lights. And just as in many years past, the department’s crew provided and installed the City’s Christmas Tree and Main Street holiday decorations and lights. In an exciting nostalgic nod to the past, they helped design and install the rigging for the new red, green and blue Christmas Balls so generously designed and funded by Allen Sign Studios, LLC, and Bill Osborn of Osborn Drugs. 
Pollution Control treated 640.58 million gallons for the year 2023, that’s a monthly average of 53.38 million gallons. That’s a daily average of 1.779 million gallons, down from the normal average of 2.2 million gallons.
The department hauled a net of 1,840,000 pounds of biosolids to the landsite. A new Sludge Drying Building was constructed at the Wastewater treatment Facility, fulfilling a longtime goal of the Pollution Control Manager Todd Murphree and his crew. The first batch of sludge is now drying in the facility with staff working on a process a plan with ODEQ to conduct a pilot program toward the goal of reducing the amount of solids that need to be hauled, removing odor and allowing for more storage. The project has a long view goal of possibly producing a Class A marketable sludge product.
Solid Waste
18,426 vehicles passed through the City’s Solid Waste Facility. That brought in totals of 1460.73 tons of yard waste = 2,921,460 pounds, 11,707.41 tons of residential trash= 23,414,820 pounds (brought by individuals and rolloffs), and 7964.59 tons of residential trash = 15,929,180 pounds (brought in by city trash trucks). In 2023 the total tonnage of 21,132.73 tons equaling 42,265,460 pounds of waste came through the facility.
‘Free Saturday’ totals added up to 245 loads of yard waste totaling 47.57 tons equaling 95,140 pounds 1449 loads of trash totaling 357.80 tons equaling 715,600 pounds that was dumped for free by Miami Residents.
Major, long needed projects were completed at the Solid Waste Facility to get more life out of the well-used building that included, replacement of the inside structural beams on both sides of the bay. The crews started using a new higher capacity loader inside the bay in July and received a new white trash truck in August.
Second graders at Washington Elementary presented colorful artwork they created in appreciation for the route drivers, John Proctor and Steve Larkin.
2023 was a successful year for the Parks Department here in the City of Miami. Just a few of many things completed include the Splash Pad renovation with 525 feet of fencing installed along BJ Tunnel for safety, inclusive swings were installed including a wheelchair swing as well as a full body swing. Log style picnic tables were placed, and additional lighting was installed for added security. 
An Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE) was created at the park in partnership with the Shawnee, Miami, and Ottawa Tribes. The new area includes fun slope slides, earth mounds with a swing bridge and a stage with seating area and picnic tables and a pathway connecting the new play area to the Splash Pad. 
 The Parks department crew worked to clear stormwater ways and ditches clearing weeds, brush, and stumps such as this before and after shot of a drainage area in the Sarasota Addition in the southwest area of the city. 
The City’s Facilities department crew completed several projects. They renovated the former building housing the Pacesetter’s church on Miami’s Main Street to now house the Miami Police Department’s Detectives. This move not only freed up a very overcrowded police department but gave a greater law enforcement presence in the downtown area
 The Facilities crew helped with removal and installation of a generator at the Civic Center in November. The generator’s capacity serves as a back-up alternative power source to ensure municipal governmental duties and responsibilities can continue in emergency outage situations.
 A new storefront renovation and office remodel on the Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau helps open and enhance the curb appeal and offers a more welcoming frontage for visitors. The building suffered damage from an unexpected drainage issue and needed major repair.
 The upstairs of City Hall at the Civic Center got a remodel which added office spaces for more workable and professional updated offices and meeting spaces.
2023 has been a busy year with the Metering crew reading 160,458 meter reads by mid-December. Service included 424 connects, 446 disconnects, 875 occupant changes, and 1,394 re-reads. The crew also installed 350 new electric meters this year, 96 of which were radio reads, and conducted 513 non-pays since June of this year and reinstated 487 of those.
The City’s meter reading system was upgraded to Temetra to accommodate more advanced features in the future. New handheld meter readers were put in use and all the readers are maintaining above 99.7% reading accuracy. Two of the City’s meter readers obtained their D level Water/Wastewater licenses.
Miami Animal Control/Shelter
The Miami Animal control and Ketcher/Keheley Shelter has seen a total Intake of 158 dogs and cats in 2023. This number was greatly decreased due to the innovative Trap/Neuter/Return (T/N/R) program the department began to implement this year to help control the population of stray cats and promote responsible pet care. In 2023 the department’s contracted veterinarian has altered 165 cats to date as part of the T/N/R program.
G.A.R. Cemetery
The G.A.R. Cemetery hosted the British Flyers and Memorial Day events this year under the direction of the new Cemetery Manager Angela Williams. G.A.R. continues to provide maintenance of the beautiful cemetery, a sacred place of honor. In 2023 there were 102 burials at the 86-acre cemetery. 
Sports & Rec Department 
Sports & Rec had a very busy year, with sports facility improvements, Miami Summer Rec Program (MSRP), tournaments, Youth Softball Rec League, local youth recreation leagues and more. The Sports & Rec Department acts as the liaison between the City of Miami and the Local Youth Leagues that use City facilities for their respective leagues and sports, this partnership inspires youth participation. The department’s responsibilities included basic routine maintenance consisting of mowing, weed eating, edging, dragging fields, painting, and chalking fields and setting out bases for tournaments.
 This year at the Joe Booth Softball Complex all fields got new back stop fencing, two fields got new outfield fencing, and the current maintenance garage was updated with a locker room for the umpires. The crew scraped and repainted bathroom floors, walls and doors inside the concession stand. They sod and cut and edged each field, removed lips, and added dirt to the low areas. The softball fields were heavily used from April until the end of July with over 580 plus softball games played in 2023. At the Little League Baseball Complex over 30 worn out bleachers were replaced and all the wood on the dugouts as well repainted and the crew sod cut and edged each field, removed the lips, and added dirt to the low areas, scraped and repainted the bathroom floors. At Francis Morgan Field they revamped and renovated the existing sprinkler system, installed a new sprinkler controller, and updated and installed a wireless controller to operate the existing scoreboard. At the Sam Wells Soccer Complex, Sports & Rec renovated, tilled, leveled, seeded, and fertilized eight of the 16 fields. This is a two-phase project and phase two will start in January of 2024. The crew also replaced all worn out bleachers, scraped and repainted the bathroom floors and walls. At the City’s Tennis & Pickleball Courts new wind screens were installed on the pickleball side thanks to funding from an anonymous donor, and old light fixtures were replaced with LED fixtures and lights for better nighttime play. The Civic Center Gym got both scoreboards replaced in the gym with newer LED scoreboards and upgrades to be operated with a wireless controller. 
The Sports & Rec Department had a very busy spring and summer with hosting the local youth softball rec league with 80 plus teams, totaling 1,040 plus players from across the region participating in basketball, baseball and fastpitch softball tournaments. These tournaments bring an estimated 3,640 visitors to Miami. In the City of Miami’s Youth Softball Rec League’s first year 43 Youth softball teams had 430 players, 129 coaches who played over 344 games. 
The City’s MSRP (Miami Summer Recreation Program) which runs through the month of June, had 180 kids registered with an average of 80 kids attending each day.  The kids enjoyed many different activities, games and a few field trips like Soar, Creation Wildlife Safari, and trips to the Splash Pad. 
The City’s IT department employs two technicians serving the entire City’s technical needs. This year they provided everything from computer set-ups, programming, and assistance to all departments, including audio/visual needs such as for meetings and town halls. Every City Council and MSUA meeting is videoed by IT and is available on the City of Miami’s website. In 2023, IT worked with all departments to update and redesign the City’s website. 
Customer Service
Now managed by Jennifer Welch, the City’s Utility Customer Service department has worked to design new billing notices to better serve and inform the City’s nearly 7,000 utility accounts including residential, commercial, and industrial customers. There were 427 new utility customers this year and Customer Service received 13,804 phone calls as of mid-December 2023.
HR/Risk Management
The City of Miami employs 200 to 220 total full and part-time employees working to serve the needs of residents and visitors. The team faced the same post Covid challenges many employers faced yet brought dedicated, hardworking members to the City as well as serving the needs of current employees and retirees. HR worked to provide competitive wages and salaries and provide important and affordable health benefits for City workers through safety training and information. In 2023 HR ungraded the OkMRF retirement plan resulting in about a 20% increase to an employee retirement benefits, and provided DISC training for managers and new Directors, and 7 Habits training for senior management.
Thanks to HR, City of Miami employees came together for fun holiday parties, employee appreciation luncheons, a BBQ and Family Swim Night, educational health and wellness fairs, and new ‘Cake Talks’ where employees meet with the City Manager to share ideas and feedback and get to know one another better from different departments, all effort to make the City of Miami a great career opportunity and place to work.
Christy Jones was named as the City’s new Risk Management, after Mark Hill’s retirement. 
Community Development/Project Management
Community development must be foundationally strong for the growth of a community and to serve that goal the team completed a large FEMA Acquisition grant which resulted in the removal of 11 structures from the floodplain. They also completed 1,720 Building, Mechanical, Electric, and Plumbing Permits and Inspections for 2023 on projects throughout the city.
Taking care of all the financial business done by the City of Miami is a task of detailed accuracy and accountability which is aimed at transparency and responsibility in handling revenues and expenses. The Finance team works together toward such fiscal goals handling everything from bids, contracts, and invoices to cutting checks for all City departments. Under the current leadership of Jennifer Watts, the finance department has created and improved policy and procedures, and built an efficient team.
The City of Miami’s Municipal Court staff handled 780 initial court hearings in 2023. The court completed 41 regular court dockets and 14 specialty dockets for the year. In 2023 Municipal Court collected $188, 719 and paid $159, 216 to the City. $29,503 fees were paid to CLEET, OSBI, OBN, the Ottawa County Jail, Tax Intercept Fees and the Juvenile Alcohol Fund. 
Currently there is over $740,000 due to the City in outstanding collections by pay agreements pending, collections accounts, or outstanding warrants in unpaid fines.
The Miami Public Library (MPL) has become a community resource hub far beyond just books, offering a variety of programs, resources, events and classes for children, teens, and adults. The library offered so much it’s hard to pick a few highlights for 2023. But a top accomplishment was having two graduates in the Excel, high school diplomacy program and eight more students working toward that goal. 742 Ottawa County children under five years old enrolled in the MPL’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library in the inaugural year aimed at fostering a love of reading and learning in younger children. The staff saved the community $522,724 in 2023 in money spent purchasing books, DVDs, eBooks, games etc. through services offered at the library and had 42,050 items circulated or checked out of the library. 
Local artist Jessica Stout painted a new mural in the children’s area depicting Route 66 and Miami area attractions and highlights as part of the renovations underway.
Code Compliance/Floodplain
The important work of Code Compliance keeps our community safer and more appealing to all.  This year the team completed 1,043 new inspections, 1,326 re-inspections, for a total number of inspections of 2,369. 1,619 10-day letters were sent out, and 189 abatement work orders done, and 627 properties were corrected by the owners/tenants The department logged 146 complaint calls, did 61 IPMC inspections, and issued 45 Certificate of Occupancy. 
The Administrative staff includes the City Clerk, a Grants Coordinator, Communications Manager and Assistant to the City Manager. Transparency, accessibility, and accountability are the focus and mission of this team and crucially important in municipal government. In 2023 Miami’s City Clerk filled numerous public records requests, posted, distributed, and filed hundreds of meeting notices, agendas, schedules, and documents. The City’s Communications Manager and staff implemented town halls, forums, and other public meetings, use of social media platforms including Mayor Parker’s informative spokesperson videos, press releases, and the City’s website to network and inform the community about City functions, events, and services drawing attention and interest to Miami  
CVB/Tourism/Miami Main Street
Offering unique, fun, special quality of life opportunities for community members and visitors, several CVB events drew huge crowds, and offered family entertainment for all ages throughout the year. The third annual Miami Route 66 Heritage Fest, Rodeo Miami, were hit events again this year, and plans are underway for bigger and added excitement for 2024!
New life came to downtown Miami with the revitalization of the Miami Ok Main Street program now under the direction of Keisha Lawson. This specific focus on Miami’s downtown Main Street area allows development and preservation of Miami’s special atmosphere and offerings while building economic stability and growth. Miami Ok Main Street hosted Sip and Shops, a Hallmark style Holiday Market, and lots of fun activities for all ages including Santa, live reindeer and snow!
Miami Regional Airport
The Miami Regional Airport Board, staff and director received an exciting opportunity of $1 million plus in grant funding to build a new airport terminal. The Board and staff worked diligently toward the goal finalizing the conceptual plans and launched the process to start building in spring of 2024 and anticipating an early 2025 project completion. This significant project will help in economic development making Miami more easily accessible by air for commercial and industrial developers and puts the City on the map for travelers. 
Police Department
The Miami Police Department detectives made a move to a City owned downtown building repurposed for a new Detective Center. This move gave the detectives much needed office space and brought an added law enforcement presence to Miami’s busy downtown. MPD received a $150,000 in grant funding used to provide officers with new side by sides, tasers, vests, training, and furniture for dispatch.
The MPD’s innovative drone program assisted multiple agencies in law enforcement operations in five counties capturing over 20 felons. Detective staffing was expanded with an augmentee from Patrol. Officers received specialized training for Glock red dot instructor, self-defense instructor, AXON taser instructor training, ARIDE, and crisis intervention team training. 
Officers and department staff supported City functions such as the Fourth of July celebration and Rt. 66 Heritage Fest. The department supported DEA by assigning an officer to their task force. The task force efforts resulted in over $800,000 in asset forfeitures, with over 1,000 pounds of narcotics and over 100 arrests. In 2023, Chief Thomas Anderson participated in an informative town hall on crime, the MPD hosted youth group tours of the department and demos. 
By the numbers the MPD answered 15,967 calls for service. Officers filed 1,907 incident reports, 241 accident reports, made 790 arrests, and issued 802 citations, 84 warnings and 75 Safeline cards. Ottawa County 911 Dispatch received a total of 141,600 calls of those 100,244 went to other agencies and 41,356 to the Miami PD. 
Fire Department 
After Chief Wright’s retirement early this year, his successor was chosen, Fire Chief Chris Chenoweth. Also, promotions to Deputy Chief for Shannon Biggs and promotions for Kenton Kline to Lt. and Daniel Allen to Driver. MFD had over 2,800 Fire and EMS runs. All hydrants in the City were checked. 250 inspections were completed at local businesses by the department and 100 smoke detectors were given out and installed.
The department received a $5,000 donation from Vance Chevy for First Responders. MFD used the awarded AFG grant to purchase nine sets of bunker gear. An annual event, this year 2,466 local and surrounding area kids attended MFD’s fire prevention show at the beautiful Coleman theater. 100 schoolchildren from Commerce came to tour the fire station. 
Miami 2024
The year 2023 is the result of what happens with commitment, and innovative efforts by the community, council, mayor, administration, and staff of the City of Miami. 2024 looks even more promising with plans for a nearby theme park, new housing developments, industry and new business interest and investment.
“All of this is super exciting, but all of this is possible because of the hard work of our City staff and employees and the strength, determination, drive, and support of the community. It’s the people of Miami that make us unique and successful,” Reese said, “ I am so proud of all the hard work and dedication of the city staff. Their tireless efforts have resulted in the success and completion of so many great projects for our citizens.  Each of the projects lead to future growth and economic development. I am grateful for their commitment to excellence and their unwavering support of our community.

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