ELYRIA — Judith Keys is the newest member of Elyria City Council after she was sworn in as the new representative of Ward 1 on Monday night.
A Democrat, Keys replaces longtime Councilman Larry Tanner, who resigned his seat Thursday due to health reasons.
Tanner was appointed to the Ward 1 seat in November 1978, and had served on City Council since then save for a two-year span from 1987-89.
“Thank you, it’s great to be here,” Keys said Monday when those in attendance applauded the unanimous vote among Council’s Democrats to appoint her to the seat.
Councilman Mark Jessie, D-Ward 3, was not present at Monday’s meeting and Councilman Jack Baird, the body’s lone Republican, did not vote.
However, Baird said if able, he would have made the vote completely unanimous by casting a vote for Keys.
“I’ve known Judy a long time,” Baird told Council. “I think it’s great she’s joining us.”
Elyria Law Director Scott Serazin, who administered the oath of office to Keys, agreed.
“Speaking personally, I think it’s great we have a Keys back in town,” he said (Judith Keys is the sister-in-law of former Elyria Mayor Michael Keys and daughter-in-law of former Elyria Mayor J. Grant Keys).
Tanner did not file to run for re-election this cycle, and Keys was the lone Democrat to file, with no opponent in November’s general election.
To replace Tanner, City Council members appointed Keys to the Utilities, Safety and Environment Committee, and also appointed Councilwoman Brenda Davis, D-Ward 2, to Council’s Finance Committee, taking Tanner’s place there.
After the meeting, Keys said she has been waiting 30 years for the opportunity.
“I feel like Elyria is on the uptick,” she said.
In other business
A public hearing on plans by TrueNorth Energy to build a 4,000-square-foot convenience store and additional gas and diesel fuel pumps at the intersection of Lorain Boulevard and Bell Avenue on the city’s north side drew no opponents.
TrueNorth had asked City Council to rezone two parcels at 915 Lorain Blvd. and 526 Bell Ave. to better accommodate its plans. Rick Turner, a senior project manager with Diamond Z Engineering in Cleveland, said Monday the redevelopment plans will allow panel trucks to fuel at the pumps.
Assuming the city’s Design Review Board signs off on the project, Turner said the company hopes to start the project on or about March 1, 2020. An additional 10 jobs could be created, he added.
City Council also authorized Mayor Holly Brinda to advertise for bids and enter into a contract for a $3.5 million Water Treatment Plant improvement project. The city plans to install new baffles and sludge collectors that will increase water pumping capabilities at the plant and allow it to sell more of the water it pumps from Lake Erie to customers, including the cities of Amherst and North Ridgeville, the Northern Ohio Rural Water Authority and a number of surrounding townships.
Public hearings on rezoning requests from the partners in the future Unplugged Brewery at 201 East Bridge Street, a conditional use permit for a new group home for recovering addicts being built by The Road to Hope Inc. at 600 Delaware Ave. and a conditional use permit for a new electronic sign for Redeemer Lutheran Church at 295 College Park Drive will be heard at the City Council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. July 1.