Governor DeWine and his wife visit Salem | News, Sports, Jobs

Morning Paper/Mary Ann Greier Retired Salem police officer Austin French and Salem resident Dave Gano, owner of TruCut Inc., chat with Governor Mike DeWine at Heggy’s in downtown Salem during a campaign visit on Wednesday morning.

SALEM — Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife Fran returned to Salem Wednesday morning, sharing breakfast with local leaders and learning about economic development efforts and what’s needed to advance the cause.

“I think Salem is not only doing well, but he has great potential,” he said.

The DeWines are no strangers to Salem, making many stops around the city and Columbiana County over the years, whether marching in the Grand Parade, attending campaign events, or, in the case of Fran, from reading to preschoolers last fall.

“Fran and I really feel at home here,” said the governor.

Part campaign stop and part listening tour, the final visit began at Heggy’s, a downtown Salem institution since 1983 described as a typical small-town eatery where regulars talk politics at the round table with a cup of coffee and a plate of bacon and eggs.

Conversations ranged from chatter about Cleveland Indians turning into Cleveland Guardians and hard-to-resist candy and nuts at Heggy’s to more serious topics such as downtown revitalization projects and the need for funding.

A short drive later, the DeWines toured the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center on Pennsylvania Avenue, listening to Executive Director Julie Needs talk about the training center and the need for more ready-to-use industrial space for companies looking to expand. expand or move to Salem.

“Small towns in Ohio have a lot of value to add to the state and there are a lot of opportunities in our small towns,” Said needs.

Everyone present felt honored that DeWine took the time to come to the SOD Center and recognize the importance of economic development in a small community.

“He heard us” she said adding “It’s not an opportunity you get every day.”

“He was extremely receptive to some of the economic development ideas that we have in the pipeline,” said Councilman Jake Gano, referring to downtown and industrial development.

Gano had only met DeWine once, but said “He seemed very invested in Ohio and very interested in our area and very passionate.”

During his brief presentation, Needs explained that Salem is 39% industrial, which is a lot for the size of a Salem city. Asked by the governor about the need that cannot be met, she replied an industrial space. Most businesses want a building now, with demands ranging from small to large, and a need for small manufacturing space as well.

DeWine said a pending program will put more emphasis on helping small communities. He also said he supports a pending bill to expand the historic preservation tax credit. He is a proponent of downtown preservation, noting that the state has legacy towns with lots of older buildings.

“Many communities like Salem are already working on it. We want to give them some help,” he said.

When it comes to economic development and bringing businesses to a city, DeWine said “the appearance of the community is important.”

Joe Hovorka, a resident who returned to his hometown of Salem with his wife and two children, has invested in downtown to redevelop some of the old buildings. He owns seven buildings, including six downtown, and said expanding the historic preservation tax credit program would help Salem.

“Attention is a good thing when you get to the state level,” Gano spoke about the governor’s visit.

Christopher Sell, who owns and operates Heggy’s, along with his brothers Ryan and Patrick, said he was happy to welcome the governor and first lady. He said the last two years have been a challenge, but they have a good team of employees in place right now and value both their customers and their employees. His father, Michael, opened the Salem site and also operated Heggy’s in Alliance, taking over from his parents Jack and Evelyn who worked for the original Ben Heggy in the early 1940s.

The breakfast table included Gano, Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey, Councilman Dennis Plegge, Columbiana County Republican Party Chairman David Johnson, County Recorder and Perry Township Administrator Jim Armeni, Bob Sebo, City Services/Safety Manager Joe Cappuzzello and County Attorney Vito Abruzzino. City Treasurer Tod Mumpire and former Councilman Greg Oesch were also in attendance, along with regulars like Gano’s father Dave, Austin French, Dick Wilson and Robert Houshour. Mike Plegge and Barbara Csik, seated in a booth near the door, received a salute from the Governor as he exited.

The DeWines did not leave empty-handed. Sell ​​and longtime employee Tricia French filled a Heggy mug with lots of candy to take home.

The DeWines left the SOD Center with a huge basket full of items from Salem businesses, including coffee, tea, cups and pastries from LiB’s Market, Reach for the Stars gift items, books from nature + nurture, wine glasses and wine from Liebe Wein, soda from Kast Iron Soda Works and T-shirts from Your Best Self and GC Murphy Bicycle Company.

Johnson said no other Ohio State figure has been more attentive or shown more interest in Columbiana County than DeWine.

“We are thrilled to have the governor back in Salem,” he said.

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