WINTERSVILLE - Five men are seeking Village Council seats in the November election.
The candidates are Robert Martin Sr. of 360 Canton Road; Jason Mattern, 173 Meadow Road; Bob Merriman, 433 Eisenhower Road; Matt Parise, 215 S. Avalon Drive; and Ralph Parissi Jr., 406 Fernwood Road. They are vying for the four available seats.
Martin, a life-long resident of the village, has served three terms on council, beginning in 2001. He describes himself as accountable and dedicated to "getting the job done."
"I feel as though I do a very good job of answering residents' questions and concerns when needed," he said. "I think the people of Wintersville want someone who can make things happen and someone who can get the work done. I believe people honestly enjoy what I do because I try to help everyone. I don't limit myself to a certain group and I don't make promises I can't keep."
He said that during his time on council, the village has prospered into a budding community.
"A new hospital has been constructed in the village, new businesses have developed and we have worked on a continuous plan to keep our roads up to date without adding any extra costs to the residents," he explained. "I have played a key part in making sure there are recreational activities for the children of the village, and I am very proactive when it comes to planning those activities. I also helped get SVRTA bus services into the village, which turned out to be a huge success. I hope one day we will be able to continue that service in the village.
"Another vital piece of my time spent on council is the fact that all of the council members, the mayor and the administrator work really well together," he continued. "I think we are on a good path to make people proud of their representatives, and I think that is very important to them. I get a lot of feedback from residents throughout the village, and they feel very happy and proud to call Wintersville their home. We have to praise the police and fire departments as well because they give us a reason to feel safe in this community. People want to be in Wintersville because they feel safe, it's productive and we have really grown into a community to be proud of. My work is never done, it just continues."
Mattern, another life-long village occupant, has served the village for eight years.
"My primary vision over the past eight years, and for the future, remains a commitment to infrastructure improvements, enhancing recreational opportunities and fiscal responsibility," he said. "I feel strongly that our community has experienced great improvements with regards to infrastructure improvements over my time on council, including the Garden's, Knoll's, the Fernwood Road sidewalk and water tower projects as well as upgrades to the waste water treatment facility, utilities mapping, traffic signal improvements and numerous road pavings."
However, he believes there are still plenty of opportunities that need to be addressed.
"We need to work on making improvements on all village lift stations, Gump's Lane and Luray Drive," he noted.
Mattern also is in favor of developing the village's recreational opportunities.
"Over the past eight years, the development of the village field has been remarkable," he stated, mentioning the area behind the Municipal Building. "We have received nearly $30,000 in grant awards and transformed this field into a recreational opportunity that has been enjoyed by many village residents and people from surrounding communities.
"I want to keep Wintersville moving forward," he continued. "Our future should not be based on a matter of chance - it is a matter of choice. If elected, I will choose to focus on infrastructure improvements, enhanced recreational opportunities and fiscal responsibilities rather than leave them to chance."
Merriman has served the village for six years, nominated twice as council president.
"I feel as though I am trustworthy, honest and a hard-working individual who wants to continue to move the village in the right direction," he said. "One of my core values is to do the right thing for the right reasons for the residents of Wintersville. I have been a local businessman for 23 years, supported the local community and its children and want nothing more than to help provide a safe and enjoyable community in which to live, work and raise our families."
Continued growth of the village is a key focus of the future, Merriman said.
"We must continue to keep up our infrastructure and improve our areas of green space," he noted. "Another focus is to secure a physical locale for a senior citizen community center."
Communication is extremely important to Merriman and he said he vows to keep it that way.
"Open and honest communication is important in all aspects of life and I promise to communicate with fellow councilmen and other village personnel to achieve our goal and to keep Wintersville moving in the right direction," he stated. "It is just as important to provide good communication to all village residents keeping them up to date, whether it be an open-forum council, committee meetings, online minutes or telephone calls. I have an open door policy and am available to talk to any village resident when needed."
Parise, another life-long village resident, has previously served six years on Village Council, including one term as president.
"I have experience with working with people and dealing with county and state level individuals. I know how to get things done, where to go and who to see, whether its maximizing the impact of a grant or contacting someone to address an issue."
Parise believes he offers the residents experience, leadership and the ability to effectively communicate.
"The fact that I'm a businessman also plays a key role," he stated. " I own a company and we've been through good times and bad times. I've made financial decisions that have made the company financially solvent. You need someone who has made those kind of decisions on council, someone who knows when to cut back and why, without hurting the taxpayers."
Recreation is at the top of Parise's to-do list, if elected.
"Recreation is something that we have in the village but I think we need more opportunities," he said, "somewhere for kids to go that will be safe, whether it be a pool or recreation building. Obviously it would take grant funding, but I know there are grants out there and ways we can get money so that we can make sure our kids have more things to do.
"Also, when we talk about making sure the village is fiscally solvent, we have to be more diligent than ever before," he continued. "We need to make sure that we know where every tax dollar is going and that we get the maximum amount of tax money back without requiring the residents to pay more. With my background, I feel as though I am one of the better people to accomplish that."
Parissi was selected to take the seat of former Councilman Robert Cochrun in January. Parissi has lived in the village and surrounding areas all his life.
"I really love this area," he began. "A lot of people complain about the small town and no opportunities, but I think that if we get more young people who actually want to stay, create new things and share ideas then we could turn this area into something that would keep people around."
Parissi wants the village residents to know that he is dedicated to always be there.
"My phone number is on the village's website and my e-mail address is out there," he said. "Please contact me if you need anything or if you would like me to discuss an issue with the other council members. I can't promise that everything will get done, but I can promise that I will make it a point to address the issue and try to make something happen."
He said he's enjoyed his time on council and hopes to continue to serve the residents of the village.
"So far, this year has definitely been a learning experience," he stated. "I like everything and everyone that I have come in contact with. Everyone has been extremely helpful. The thing about the village is that we have a perfect community - a quiet area and a great place to live.
"I would like to see there be more recreational activities implemented in the future, especially the park by the Municipal Building, and more places for kids to play and people to go. I would love for community members to be able to stay close to home for entertainment purposes and I believe with the right amount of support and effort, we have the chance to make that happen."