–by Mike Jones
PUBLICATION DATE: May 21, 2019
Oliver Turner, the city manager of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., has been named by the Township trustees as the next administrator of Sylvania Township. His first day on the job is planned for May 28, with John Zeitler, the current administrator, staying on for a few weeks to aid in the transition.
Turner, 36, who spent most of his childhood and high school years in Celina, Ohio, was a resident of Sylvania and Toledo while a student at The University of Toledo and noted in his application that he feels a personal investment in the area. He added that he has close friends and family nearby.
He obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2008 and a master’s degree in public administration in 2010, both from The University of Toledo.
While in the area, Turner was a municipal management intern with the city of Perrysburg.
In 2011 he became the village manager and zoning administrator for the village of Almont, Mich. While there he detected and launched an investigation into what was revealed to be a scheme by a prior clerk/treasurer who had stolen more $145,000 from 2004 until that year. Turner then became the village manager. He became the city manager of Sault Ste. Marie in 2014.
Turner has been active in civic organizations including being a former board member of Michigan Municipal Executives. He is currently the chair of that group’s ethics committee.
He and his wife and two daughters will be moving here from Sault Ste. Marie.
The current administrator, Zeitler, submitted his resignation to the trustees in September 2018 in order for there to be sufficient time for a thorough search for a replacement and for a smooth transition.
There were about 100 applicants for the post, with about 10 candidates interviewed.
Sylvania Township road department crews have been out clearing drainage ditches, storm sewers and retention ponds. They are liable to continue that work until it’s time to start on road improvements. Lucas County also is working on a couple of projects, all of which together should improve drainage and reduce flooding overall in the township.
Township crews have nearly completed work on a retention pond at a housing development on Black Oak. The pond had lost capacity for storing water because of illegal dumping at the site southwest of Central Ave. and Holland-Sylvania Road, according to Rob Nash, Sylvania Township road superintendent.
Another township project is a waterway known as the J. Cunningham Ditch, which runs along the south property line of McCord Junior High School. The waterway regularly jams and water invades the adjoining yards. Nash said the road department visits the site twice a year and hauls dump trucks full of debris each visit. In addition to the normal debris that finds its way into drainage ditches, the J. Cunningham Ditch gets debris from the fields behind the school as well as a nearby condominium. He is asking that the county design and construct a tiled, covered waterway, which should cut down on debris and allow for the free flow of water. The top will be seeded with grass seed to improve its appearance.
The township will also improve the drainage of the Eisenbraum Ditch in the area of Robinson and Ridgemere. The ditch will be cleared of brush and sediment and any other objects which impeded water flow. The project of about 900 feet is meant to improve drainage for the owners of 22 residential parcels there.
County crews are expected to have to clear away trees in order to widen Smith Ditch between McCord Road and I-75/US 23. The project is designed to create “benches” part way up the banks of the waterway. The “benches” will be flat shelves on each side of the channel to increase the capacity of the waterway. They will be planted with tall grasses and native vegetation to improve water quality and riparian ecology.
The county has also begun work on the long-discussed project to widen and straighten a portion of Ten Mile Creek. Brush and trees have been removed from most of the area west of Herr Road to a point east of Centennial Road. The creek in that area is winding and often traps logs, which eventually creates flooding in western portions of the township. A bid for proposals to widen the waterway is expected this summer, according to a county official.