Bellevue City Council Meeting 2/18/15 – Red Bike, sewer collapse and super school Superintendent

The meeting came to order in the freshly painted Callahan Center on the coldest night of the season. A decent crowd was in attendance.

A motion was made and passed to approve the 19th annual, Fairfield Avenue Mile Run on March 21st, 2015.

Council member Ryan Salzman introduced the Bellevue School Superintendent, Robb Smith and the Director of Academic Services, Dr. David Rust. Superintendent Smith spoke first saying, “We have a renewed sense of commitment to work with the city. We want to make a model school district for the state.” Council Member Matt Olliges asked Smith how they intended to be different than other school districts and Smith responded by mentioning the graduation ceremony they organized last week for Grace Elizabeth Randolph, a student whose mother has terminal cancer and isn’t expected to make it to the spring to see her daughter graduate from Bellevue High School. Smith said, “In a larger school district, we wouldn’t have been able to pull something like that off. It would have been a small gathering of people with the daughter just getting handed her diploma in front of her mother. We are able to personalize the school experience for each kid.”

Smith went on to point out a few things they were doing to improve the school experience in Bellevue. They are bringing back a middle school, adding head start program and allowing kids to experience college life by enrolling them in college classes where they will earn college credits while they are still in high school. Smith said, “It’s possible for a student to be able to get an associates degree before they graduate high school.” Superintendent Smith also wants to host a full time daycare within the school so teachers have a place to put their children during school hours that will be close and convenient.

Council member Steve Guidugli inquired about what the school could do to change the trend of people moving out of Bellevue to other cities once their children became of age to attend school. Superintendent Smith responded, “We need to give kids the opportunity to think. They will be participating in project-based learning like non-fiction writing. It is all about engagement in the classroom.” Smith said it was important to keep parents informed and to give kids a unique school experience with things like the Gateway College Program that allows students to earn dual credits.

Dr. David Rust took over at the podium and spoke about an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) that allows kids to be exposed to different careers while they are in high school. This kind of program helps students figure out their passions and strengths to make it easier for them to chose a career path sooner rather than fumbling around not knowing what their abilities are. There is a program called SPARK, which was put together by the Department of Education and the Department of Labor. Rust added “SPARK enables employers to start apprenticeships with students as young as a junior in high school. Mazak is dying for machinists. Starting machinists make $40,000.00 – $50,000.00 a year.” These kinds of programs should help students and parents see that Bellevue Schools are an investment in their future.

The new Zoning Administrator, Scott Enns was introduced. Enns background is as a Senior planner with the City of Cincinnati and an architect. He helped coordinate the development around the University of Cincinnati that is happening now. Council member Guidugli inquired as to why this was an attractive position for Enns to take. Enns stated that he has “deep roots here.” His wife is a musician with the Cincinnati Ballet and the Mariemont Orchestra. He has a daughter at Berea College and Bellevue is only 5 minutes from his house. “The combination of all of these things along with the opportunity to expand the community,” Enns added, was the reason he wanted to take the position with the city.

There is a collapsed sewer line under Riviera Drive and that is the reason for the sewer pipes alongside of the road. The road will be closed at some point but Bellevue leaders didn’t know when. The project is expected to take 2 or 3 months to complete and they are trying to work it out so it doesn’t impede the MLB 2015 All-Star Game in mid-July.

Red Bike has announced two locations for their bike stations in Bellevue. One suggested spot is at Riverboat Row at the entrance of Port Bellevue and the Southwest corner of Fairfield and Ward. The project is receiving a grant of $20,000.00 from Southbank partners. Some of the council members spoke out about wanting to have a say in the location of the stations.

Assistant City Administrator, Jody Robinson, reminded everyone of the upcoming events within the city starting this Saturday with Winter Carnival on the Avenue and going onto March Madness for 1st Friday shopping on the Avenue. This Saturday Bellevue will be one of the featured cities on a documentary on PBS at 8:00 PM.


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