ANNA — Wayne York has been named village adminstrator in Anna.
His first day in office was Monday, July 25.
The Versailles native had planned to retire from the same position in New Bremen in September, but when the Anna opportunity presented itself, he realized he wasn’t really ready yet to sit on the porch with his feet up.
“I still want to make things happen,” he said, July 18, during his last week in New Bremen. He’ll have that chance in Anna.
“During his intrview process, we talked about economic development. We currently have a project that may be blossoming. He’ll be an asset, maybe able to get funding,” said Anna Village Councilman Richard Eshleman.
York was one of nine candidates the council interviewed for the job, which was open because Nancy Benroth is retiring Friday.
He had served as the New Bremen village administrator since July 2005. During his tenure, he oversaw the reconstruction of Deer, Elk, Bear, Front, Fox, North Franklin, First and North Washington streets; various water main, sanitary and storm sewer improvement projects; and a wastewater treatment plant was dredged in 2015, a project that should last nearly a decade, York said.
“There were four (businesses) that moved in that I was directly involved in,” he said. York is proud of the work that has been done in Bremenfest Park, a Rotary Club project with which the village assisted, and the ongoing work at Komminsk Legacy Park.
“The Lock One Reconstruction project in 2007 began a series of projects that has completely reshaped the public areas in downtown New Bremen. A unique project itself, it is a very close recreation of what was in New Bremen in 1910,” he said. “Another significant improvement was the joint project with Crown Equipment Corp. to bury thousands of pairs of communication lines between South Main Street, through the park and under the canal, and across South Washington Street. They were an eyesore that would have greatly detracted from the lasting value of the Komminsk Legacy Park and the other improvements in the center of New Bremen.”
The worst day of York’s time in New Bremen occurred in his first month there.
“There was an explosion in New Knoxville. Our fire department responded to that. Two firefighters died. I was present at the scene within 20 minutes after the explosion. I had my personal camera. My photos turned out to be important to the investigation,” he said.
If there were anything in New Bremen he could do over, it would be a water well project that took several years to complete.
“We had to dig 20 test wells to find two good ones,” he said. “I wish there were some better way to do that.”
York had not planned to go into public service when he was young. He attended General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan, but didn’t like working in an industrial environment, so he transfered to Wright State University and got a job in the engineering department of the city of Celina.
“At 21, I was the head of the department,” he said. Stints in the engineering department and as safety service director for the city of Wapakoneta followed and then he became plant manager of the Apex Bag Co.
“I doubled the business from 17 employees to 35 in 10 years,” he said. Next, he opened an insurance agency. He made a sales call in 2003 in hope of getting the village of New Bremen to purchase its municipal insurance from him.
“They didn’t want my insurance. They wanted me,” he laughed. He was hired as the assistant administrator and economic development director. Two years later, he took the village’s top job.
“It’s been the best part of my professional career, my 13 years here in New Bremen,” he said.
And now, he’s looking forward to how he can contribute to Anna.
“I’ve very excited to be here,” he said Monday, his first day in his new office. He’s ready to tackle village issues.
“Storm drainage is a longstanding problem. I’d like to get a handle on that. Anna has begun a discussion of an organized sidewalk program. There are also subdivision issues. Thre’s a develoment east of I-75. I’ve always liked working with development and community growth issues. Those are a lot of fun.”
Eshleman said the council selected York because “he was a natural. We thought he could help the village out more than any of the other applicants.”
Council members appreciate the experience York takes to Anna.
“He knows the ropes. His knowledge of being administrator in a small town will be an asset,” Eshleman said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.