The Village of Ashley in July tripled the size of their municipal building and doubled the capacity of their council room. Now village officials are inviting the public to an open house at 3 North Harrison Street, 6-7 p.m., Tuesday Sept. 6.
“It’s three times the size of our old building,” said Elaine McFarland, member of village council. “It’s our old fire station.”
McFarland has lived in Ashley for 39 years and been on the council for 9 years.
McFarland said the village had lost a lot of state funding because of budget cuts and thought it only made sense to move the municipal offices to the old station they owned.
The village had been renting space at 14 East High next to the laundry. “We own the building so we’re saving money by not paying rent,” she said.
Mayor Jim Nelson has been mayor since 2008. He said he and his family left the military in 1974 to move to Ashley because his wife’s family was from there. “It’s an older community,” he said. “We live on the only brick road in the community.”
Nelson said in the old space the council room had an occupancy limit of 28 people. He said they have almost double that with the new council room being approved for an occupancy of 44.
“It’s a very nice new facility,” Nelson said. “We’ve consolidated everything into one facility instead of everything into one room.”
The growth in Ashley is slower than in other parts of the county but it’s moving in that direction. “It’s slowly coming this way,” McFarland said.
Nelson said the growth is slow coming north because the farmers don’t want to sell off to developers. He talked about how Galena was once all farmland.
“I remember when Galena was just a pass through,” Nelson said. “Look at it now.”
This November the village has 1 percent income tax on the ballot. “It’s the first year because of the state budget cuts,” McFarland said.
Nelson is excited about the new Buckeye Valley East Elementary being built in Ashley because good schools.
“We’re excited about the new school,” Nelson said. “We were fortunate not to lose because without it the community would slide down hill.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.