Plymouth Mayor Robert Listenberger took time Monday evening during the Common Council meeting to highlight and share the progress so far in his first 189 days, 6 months, on the job. 

First, he thanked the community for electing him to the position.  He also thanked the City Council and Clerk-Treasurer for their support. 

The mayor said, “These first six months have been a whirlwind of meetings, learning, and collaborating.  As I said from the beginning ~ this is an interdependent team effort.” 

 Listenberger told the audience, “Our Department Heads are what keep this city functioning.  Plymouth is fortunate to have such dedicated leaders.”  He then highlighted each department.  

Regarding the streets and sidewalks, they started the year by putting together sidewalk and paving projects for 2024 and are already working on the 2025 and 26 projects.   The Mayor said, “In the last decade we, on average, have spent $600,000 to $700,000 on paving projects.  By planning these out we will qualify for the Community Crossings Grants allowing the city to double the budget for paving projects with this grant.” 

Mike Collins, head of Oakhill Cemetery is plotting out an additional 180 grave spaces with a new road around this section.  Those grave spaces will be for sale by the end of the year.

Donnie Davidson and his crew in the water and wastewater departments continue to meet and exceed IDEM and EPA requirements and audits, with no permit violations for the last 2 years.  Mayor Listenberger said, “Both departments continue to upgrade and maintain miles of utilities every year keeping our rate well below state-wide averages of communities our size.

The Plymouth Municipal Airport continues to grow and improve. Airport Manager Bill Sheely brought the high school aviation program to the airport.  In its 6th year, there will be 45 students this fall.  The airport’s flight schools Alpha Flight and Cleveland Helicopter Services are turning out new pilots every month.

The mayor said things are steadily moving along at the Park Department with many exciting projects. The newly constructed pickleball courts will be done in the next couple of weeks and he’s received countless compliments about the two new playgrounds at the Hoosier Old Wheels Pavilion and at River Park Square.  The Greenway Trail extension that goes into Price’s Memorial Park is in the permit stages, looking at construction in the Spring of 2025 and the Greenway Trail Phase III in River Park Square, an INDOT and Stellar Grant-funded project will begin construction in the Spring of 2025.

 The mayor also thanked Fire Chief Steve Holm, his full-time crew and volunteers along with Police Chief Weir and his entire staff.  

Concluding his comments Mayor Listenberger said, “As I reflect on my first six months as your mayor, I am filled with immense pride and gratitude for the progress we have made together. Our community’s spirit of collaboration and resilience has been the driving force behind every initiative we’ve undertaken. I am committed to continuing this momentum, listening to your voices, and working tirelessly to make our city a better place for all. Thank you for your unwavering support and trust. Together, we will continue to build a vibrant and thriving community.

Mayor Listenbergs written comments as read Monday night during the Council meeting follow:

Today marks 189 days since I embarked on my journey as Mayor to the City of Plymouth.  I want to take time tonight to share about our progress so far. 

 First and foremost, I want to thank the community for allowing me to serve as your mayor.  I am honored to take such a role in our city’s wonderful history.  The warm welcome and support from so many citizens, and our city staff has been unbelievable, and I am very grateful.

I am thankful to our City Council, and Clerk-Treasurer.  I appreciate all that you have done for me, and more importantly for our City.

These first six months have been a whirlwind of meetings, learning, and collaborating.   The city staff and citizens and I are really starting to get to know each other.

 As I said from the beginning ~ this is an interdependent team effort. 

Our Department Heads are what keep this city functioning.  Plymouth is fortunate to have such dedicated leaders. 

There were only three changes to Department Heads. Police Chief John Weir was appointed to replace former Police Chief David Bacon after his retirement. City Attorney Jeff Houin was appointed to replace City Attorney Sean Surrisi.  And Daniel Sellers was appointed to the re-established position of City Engineer.

In regards, to our streets and sidewalks.  We began the year by putting together our sidewalk and paving projects for 2024.  I want to thank Jim Marquardt, Dan Sellers, and Chris Marshall for the hard work in planning. 

We are now busy planning sidewalk and street improvements for 2025, 2026,  and beyond .  My ask of them was to create an ongoing document for these projects.  In the last decade we, on average, have spent $600,000 to $700,000 on paving projects.  By planning these out we will qualify for the community crossings Road Grants.  

What this means is that in 2025 and beyond we will be able to double our budget and our paving projects with this grant. 

In addition, the Hoham drive project will finally be coming to an end very shortly.  This project began 17 years ago during Mayor Senters first year. 

We have began the street improvements around the Junior High on Gibson and East Laporte.  This project should be completed by the end of summer. 

Our Cemetery, lead by Mike Collins, has done a tremendous job this year.  Thank you to Mike and crew for having the cemetery looking really good and in time for our annual Memorial Day ceremony.  This year, the cemetery is plotting out an additional 180 grave spaces.  A new road around this section is also in those plans.  We should be able to begin selling those grave spaces by the end of the year.

Utilities  Departments

I want to thank Donnie Davidson and his crew.  Water and Wastewater continues to meet and exceed our IDEM and EPA requirements and audits, with no permit violations for the last 2 years.

The Water Department has completed or is preparing for the following:

1) a new well installation at the Ledyard plant

2) a lead service line inventory (as required by IDEM)

3) an asset management plan

4) is preparing for a partially funded OCRA project ($700,000), which includes water main replacement on Jefferson St., Gilmore St. & S. Plum St. area

5) a renovation of our Pidco Dr. 1,000,000-gallon water tower.

The Wastewater Department has completed or is preparing for following:

 1) a Phosphorus removal system

2) a Solar array at the Waste Water Treatment Plant

3) we continue to work with the Marshall County Regional Sewer District to provide a treatment option for their project

4) and the flood control project located at Plum St. & Garro St. is expected to be completed by fall of this year.

Both departments continue to upgrade and maintain miles of utilities each and every year. We utilize our staff working with contractors to reduce project costs, which has kept our rate well below state-wide averages of communities our size.

Our Plymouth Municipal Airport continues to grow and improve.  Our Airport Manager Bill Sheely has shown great enthusiasm in supporting Plymouth’s aviation future.

The High School Aviation program enters its 6th year this fall with 45 students registered. With over 200 students through the program in the last 5 years we are now seeing our past students in successful aviation careers and many in advanced flight training.

The airports flight schools-Alpha Flight and Cleveland Helicopter Services are turning out new pilots every month with many advanced multi-engine and commercial ratings.

We invested funds to finish a new hangar and the result is a 5-year contract with Republic Airways LIFT Academy to supply flight training services.

Our 1st full length paved taxiway is partially complete and being considered for a federal grant in September to fund the final paving work.

PARKS   Things are steadily moving along at the Park Department with many exciting projects. The newly constructed pickleball courts will be done in the next couple of weeks and will be ready to play on.

 We have had countless compliments about the two new playgrounds put in at the Hoosier Old Wheels playground and at River Park Square near the newly named VFW Shelter.

The public pool is still a great way to cool down this summer and its numbers have been steady this year.  While we are looking at options for a new pool in the future, we are a privileged community to have a public, outdoor pool for our residents and visitors to enjoy.

Two projects that the Park has been working on for years are about to come to fruition. The Greenway Trail extension that goes into Price’s Memorial Park is in the permit stages, looking at construction in the Spring of 2025.

 And The Greenway Trail Phase III project at River Park Square which is an INDOT funded/Stellar Grant funded project is waiting on approval from the State for the flood gate permit. That project is also looking at construction in Spring of 2025.

Thank you to Mike Hite for his long-time steadfast leadership, and his  at the Park Department. The Park Department has absolutely thrived through his 20 plus year tenure.

Our First Responders, my thanks to Fire Chief Steve Holm, his full-time crew and volunteers.   Also, Police Chief Weir and his entire staff.   We will always place public safety as a high priority.  I have met with many Members from our First Responder teams, they deserve and can expect my ongoing support into the future.

Collaboration is at the heart of, not only the City of Plymouth but all of Marshall County. To enhance communication throughout the County in an effort to understand our common challenges and embrace our unified opportunities ~ we launched monthly meetings inviting the Presidents of every Town Council, the County Council, and the County Commissioners. This meeting is independent of any organization and allows the presidents of each municipality to discuss matters with each other and bring ideas to and from their own governing bodies to benefit the whole.

The Plymouth Comprehensive Plan Committee is full of enthusiastic individuals all with unique talents who volunteer to work together in numerous subcommittees to specialize in their areas of expertise to manifest the goals of the plan. The current Subcommittees include Marketing, Zoning, Building Trades, Revitalization, Membership, and recently Diversity and Inclusion. Thank you, City Attorney Houin for leading this effort. 

Housing is and will continue to be one of our highest priorities.  Housing is a basic human need. Shelter, security, and a stable environment are necessary for individuals and families to sustain their well-being, enhance their health, and access both educational and economic opportunities.

My commitment to pursuing all types of housing will remain steadfast. I participate in two housing initiatives ~ the Marshall County wide Housing Matters Project and the City of Plymouth faith-based housing group led by Jack Davis and Jim Smart. 

Investing in affordable housing not only benefits individuals but also strengthens the social and economic fabric of communities, promoting stability and growth for society. 

 Population growth is critical to sustaining Plymouth and housing is the key to that growth along with economic development. 

I have kept my promise to invest in drawings, renderings, and preliminary engineering studies for future projects. This preparation strengthens our applications when grant funding opportunities arise.

 In just six short months we have completed conceptual drawings for downtown streetscape improvements, conducted a study for pedestrian safety on Oak Road, and we have established improvement plans for the East Jefferson Street and Lincoln Highway corridors.

In Conclusion:

As I reflect on my first six months as your mayor, I am filled with immense pride and gratitude for the progress we have made together. Our community’s spirit of collaboration and resilience has been the driving force behind every initiative we’ve undertaken. I am committed to continuing this momentum, listening to your voices, and working tirelessly to make our city a better place for all. Thank you for your unwavering support and trust. Together, we will continue to build a vibrant and thriving community.