We have excellent educational opportunities, great recreation programs and venues, desirable neighborhoods and housing stock, quality local healthcare, a vibrant downtown, an active senior center, two modern libraries, solid infrastructure and efficient city services.
Even with the current COVID-19 pandemic, Sylvania’s quality of life continues to be among the highest in the region. Many people and families are looking to improve their home environment where they are spending more time, and Sylvania is benefiting as more people want to move to Sylvania, increasing Sylvania home sales and raising Sylvania home values.
This has been a challenging two years during COVID-19 for our Sylvania Schools, but our schools remain a draw to attract and keep families in Sylvania. We are also fortunate to be a college town with Lourdes University sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis.
In order to remain competitive with newer outer ring communities, we have ongoing programs to improve all the great amenities Sylvania has to offer. We keep our streets paved, our utilities up to date and our services efficient and responsive.
Over the last few years, $36.3 million of grant funds have been awarded to the City of Sylvania to help finance many current and future infrastructure projects including the 2022/2023 Monroe Street/Harroun Road Intersection Improvement, 2023 Monroe Street/Silica Road Intersection Improvement and Silica Road Bridge Replacement, and the 2025 US 23/Monroe Street/Alexis Road Intersection Improvements.
The City of Sylvania is also working to identify and redevelop old or underutilized sites in our community. Redevelopment land was created a decade ago by clearing old buildings east of the downtown hotel. The now occupied SOMO Flats were built on that land with 202 luxury apartments and indoor parking below, in total a $36 million investment. Other properties are being studied and prepared for additional improvements and development along Monroe Street.
A wonderful synergy of the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce, Sylvania Arts Commission, Redbird Downtown Sylvania Association and Heritage Sylvania continues to make for a vibrant downtown and attract new businesses and community activities. We have an Art Festival, a Fall Festival, a holiday celebration, parades, a weekly summertime Farmers Market and Art Walks the first Friday of each month.
Sylvania's DORA, or Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, permitting alcohol consumption outdoors on Main Street downtown, has been a great success attracting visitors and making Sylvania a destination, and is being studied by City Council for expansion.
The City of Sylvania has also completed an updated Downtown Masterplan. The city has done these visioning exercises every ten years for the last 40 years. Previous studies lead to many of the improvements and new investments downtown. This update has great ideas to continue the growth and improvement of our downtown. State capital improvement funding has been applied for to help rebuild the downtown streetscape and extend it farther to the north.
Sylvania City Council approved a 25% rate reduction for water customers in Sylvania for 2020, and that rate remains unchanged for 2022. After years of work and negotiation with Toledo, a Regional Water Commission was formed to equalize and stabilize water rates, and meets regularly to review water safety, operations, and rates. We are also meeting with Lucas County officials for improvements at the Lucas County Waste Water Recovery Facility in Waterville.
The 2022 City Operating Budget is balanced with no services cut, no employees laid off and no taxes raised. Operations are regularly reviewed to make them more efficient, reduce overtime and extend equipment life. With the help of Ohio grants, the Capital Budget is funding many infrastructure improvements without the sale of new bonds.
All in all, the future looks bright for Sylvania! Sylvania continues to be a great place for families and businesses!