LEWIS CENTER — The end of a year is also often the end of an era, and so it will be in Orange Township when Debbie Taranto steps down as trustee.
“Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. It has been an honor,” Taranto wrote in the township’s Fall Newsletter. “It is hard to believe it has been ten years since I began this journey of serving my community as your township trustee. I wanted to thank you for the privilege of working for you.”
The current vice chairman, Taranto’s final trustees meeting is on Dec. 20. In the newsletter, she thanked the staff of Orange Township.
“I am proud of many accomplishments and thankful for the people I have had an opportunity to work with,” Taranto wrote. “Your township staff are an amazing group of people, those who have moved on and those who are currently with us. It has been wonderful to work alongside them. This last decade, built upon the hard work of the trustees who served before, saw many positive changes for our community.”
The first accomplishment Taranto listed was she helped change “Ohio law so that townships across the state could fund community events, like movies in the park. Bringing residents together and celebrating our hometown is what makes us a community.”
During her tenure, the township built a bridge over U.S. Route 23 that connects the east and west sides. Improvements were made to US 23 and Orange Road, as well as adding traffic lights at high-traffic intersections.
Taranto said she also created a “Do Not Knock” registry for solicitors, an electronic recycling program, brought accessible equipment to playgrounds, added new parks and trails, and got the Orange Road railroad track underpass project started.
“Probably one of my favorite opportunities was working with Boy- and Girl- and Eagle Scouts, and the Oak Creek Elementary 3rd graders each year, teaching them how rewarding working for your community can be,” Taranto said. “This job has given me the opportunity to meet and talk with so many of you. Whether we are walking down the aisle at the grocery store, enjoying the trails together or hanging out at the pool, listening to your concerns, following up and, hopefully, making a difference has been the most important job of serving you.”
While it may be the end of an era, it’s also the start of a new chapter.
“I will still be around in the community and hope to see you in our parks, playing pickle ball on our future courts, or even attending a trustee meeting,” Taranto said.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.