I grew up in Portsmouth, graduated from Minford and have long since moved away from Scioto County. I had recently contemplated moving back to the area, was recently offered a position at the former A-plant and was prepared to move myself and kids four and half hours from our current home, back to Portsmouth.
I then took a driving trip through Portsmouth. The scenery reminded me of an episode of the ‘Walking Dead’. Citizens who clearly had an addiction problem shuffling aimlessly, and looking for ‘loose’ change in the Hickies parking lot. People sitting on benches in a park, shaking uncontrollably. Residents who had mental health issues talking to no one, standing at a cross walk.
I then looked at the school ratings for Minford schools, as this was going to be my school of choice for my children. Consistent ‘D’ ratings. This is not just Minford but apparently all the schools in the county are suffering from academic success. This information I gathered from the State of Ohio’s website, not just some random post on social media.
The Portsmouth City Manager was recently terminated for ‘cause’ – striking a subordinate employee. The Fraternal Order of Police submitted a letter, supporting his continued employment. Let’s let that sink in. The Union that represents your police force, endorsed the continued employment of the city manager who assaulted a subordinate. I am not even going to draw parallels here, I don’t need to. This action speaks volumes.
Scioto County has the highest insurance premium rate (within the state of Ohio) to insure personal property, due to the drug scourge affecting the community.
I know the people of Scioto County, I grew up here. We value hard work, want and value a job that provides for our families and ultimately provide a better life for our kids. However the elected leadership has failed the citizens. The drug scourge affecting this community is not something the community will be able to arrest and incarcerate through. There is an appalling lack of hope. Why is the leadership not creating a mandate of improving the situation? Here are some basic questions that enter my mind
(1) Why is the leadership not addressing the housing blight and abandoned building situation?
(2) Is the leadership actively trying to recruit and bring new businesses to the area? Creating a business friendly environment through tax breaks and land grants? How is the leadership attracting new business to the area? Are they making at least one phone call per day to attract a new business to the area?
(3) Is the elected leadership partnering with SSU to find common ways to address the social issues and drug scourge? Is it not time for some ‘out of the box’ thinking to get this fixed?
(4) What happens to the tax base when the Portsmouth bypass is operational? What budget cuts will need to be made as the tax base decreases?
(5) When is the last time new street lights were installed? This one single item can turn a high crime area around and give residents a better sense of security.
If you want the drug scourge to end – then people must have hope. It is time for the elected leadership to step up to the plate, and provide actions, and not just more talking points and empty promises. This are can do better. It is just going to be a question of when ‘enough is enough’
Matthew ConleyFranklin, IN