Village of Walbridge
The Village of Walbridge in Wood County is celebrating its centennial this year with fun and memories. Residents of the village of 3,000 celebrated the long Fourth of July weekend with rides, food vendors, historical displays, and music. Current and former residents are invited to purchase a brick to be part of memorial square at Loop Park. The Centennial Committee is also still copying family photos that might illuminate the village history. See the committee’s website here and village information here.
The village was formally incorporated in 1913 although settlers starting arriving in the area as early as the 1840s, and a railroad was built in 1876. That railroad is now operated by CSX. Village councilman and retired CSX employee Ken Gilsdorf is a long-time member of TMACOG’s Freight Advisory Committee. He currently serves on its steering committee. According to current Mayor Ed Kolanko, CSX is the village’s largest employer and a good civic citizen. “CSX is a good local partner for us,” said Mayor Kolanko. “We’re happy to see that business is picking up for them as the economy improves.” The CSX Walbridge Yard is in the town limits and the Stanley Yard is nearby. The town’s motto is a tribute to its railroad history: “A Town on the Right Track.”
In addition to railroads, village leaders are also concerned with streets and roadways. The village runs an annual road resurfacing program and has started a program to replace curbs that are 30 to 40 years old. The mayor and his administration have been successful in securing funding for some needed projects. A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) will pay for ADA-compliant curb ramps in town, and an Ohio Public Works Grant for $209,500 will make the complete rebuilding of parts of Union Street possible. The public works grant is a 50/50 match requiring village funds. Depending on resources, workers may be able to continue to upgrade Union Street for more of its length.
Walbridge is a member of the TMACOG Stormwater Coalition. The coalition works with members to help them meet state permit requirements and learn best management practices for dealing with rainwater and snowmelt. The village recently purchased a camera that workers use to find blockages to storm sewers before they can cause flooding problems. Employees jet and clean the lines before roots can cause damage. “On-going maintenance is our job,” said Mayor Kolanko. “It’s what you have to do.”
The Village of Walbridge was a founding member of TMACOG in 1968. Forrest Scarberry, a longtime mayor in the 1980s was chair of TMACOG from 1990 to 1991. Present Mayor Kolanko says, “TMACOG helps us run more efficiently. The e-mail notices and the training seminars offer quality training for elected officials. It’s been crucial to making the right decisions.”