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Two candidates seeking Martins Ferry mayor seat

MARTINS FERRY — There are two candidates for mayor of the city of Martins Ferry this Nov. 5 election — incumbent Mayor Robert Krajnyak and challenger John Davies.

Davies, 61, is a 1976 graduate of Martins Ferry High School and business owner. For the past 35 years he has operated a trucking, construction and real estate company. His final demolition job occurred this past weekend, kick-starting his retirement.

Davies also has previously served on Martins Ferry City Council, and worked as service director under then-mayor Phil Wallace. Davies said, if elected, he would be a full-time mayor who will “get back to basics” and clean up the city.

“We need to take pride in our town once again,” Davies said. “This will start with our administration, the city’s workforce and, yes, you.”

Davies said he plans to run a transparent administration to keep residents in the loop about decisions being made for the city. He also plans to re-examine the city increasing water rates during the past few years, something he believes could possibly be lowered, if feasible.

Some of his other plans include:

∫ Securing more money for demolition of blighted properties;

∫ Bringing back spring and fall cleanups for residents at no extra charge;

∫ Making sure all city-owned grass stays cut throughout the year;

∫ Having lines repainted throughout the city, including on the streets, curbs and crosswalks;

∫ Keeping streets plowed in winter and holes patched;

∫ Repair streets and alleys across the city;

∫ Having a comprehensive plan to keep city vehicles maintainted; and

∫ Keep existing businesses while attracting new ones.

Davies said his past experience with the city and as a businessman will serve him well as mayor.

“I know the budget. I know how the city budget works,” he said.

Davies said he wants to be mayor because he believes the city needs help.

“I want to get it cleaned up. I want people to get energized again and have pride in our city,” he said.

Davies noted he recently purchased two commercial buildings in the city: one is across from the City Building and currently has a free clothing store called Re-Thread, a ministry of Grace Church.

Davies is working to renovate the front portion of the building for use as a new youth center. He also plans to renovate three apartments on the building’s upper floors to be used as emergency shelter. For example, a person who has lost their home to fire could live there for free for 90 days until they can back on their feet, he said.

Davies also purchased the former Mackey Avenue Community Center. He plans to re-open it as a low-cost place for people to hold parties, such as weddings and baby showers. He would also like to serve meals there for the community on the weekends.

“I want to use it as an extension of the youth center and clothing store,” he said. “I want to draw the community back together. People are so busy with their lives.”

Krajnyak, 58, is in his second term as mayor of the city. He previously served as mayor several years ago. Before becoming mayor this current term, he also served as a city councilman. He is a 1979 graduate of Martins Ferry High School.

Krajnyak works as a teacher for the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District. In an online letter to residents of the city, Krajnyak outlined events that have occurred in the city during his past three and a half years as mayor.

“When I took over, the city was $148,000 in the red in the general fund. We went through some hard times, but the budget is stable, and every fund is in the black. We will have a carryover again this year to get us started,” he said.

He also mentioned the completion of repaving work on First Street to help bring more businesses to the industrial park, along with the re-paving of North and South Ridge drives. The North Eighth Street major slip repair was completed. Krajnyak said the city also has razed several dilapidated properties via the county Land Bank program. At times the city has demolished properties that were an immediate danger to residents. Liens were put on those properties.

After two years of working with a developer, a Dollar Tree store will be built at the former Bauer Ford car lot, he noted.

“In October of 2016, we had a major fire in our Downtown Business District. Through all the hardships and inconvenience, the community pulled together to work through this devastating time. We now have construction of two businesses that will be located on the once vacant lots,” Krajnyak said.

“Out of the ashes, we created the City/Business Committee to make a plan to revitalize and rebuild our Downtown. This committee grew into Project Forward and has been a solid partner with the city to bring back the community spirit that is alive and growing.

“Working together, Project Forward and the city brought back the Strawberry Festival and added Winterfest. Both have been very successful in rebuilding community commitment and community spirit. Not only have our citizens enjoyed the events, but people from all across the Ohio Valley and neighboring states.”

He also noted that the city now has a Class 1 and 2 water operator, along with a Class 2 wastewater operator. The city also is working to replace any possible lead lines “at no cost to the homeowner.”

If re-elected his future plans include:

∫ To bring water plant’s water softening units back online after the Class 2 operator becomes a Class 3 operator;

∫ Continue work on Sewer, Street, and water infrastructure;

∫ Continue clean-up of dilapidated properties;

∫ Expand economic development with existing businesses and new businesses wanting to locate in Martins Ferry;

∫ Repair a slip on Vine Way with completion set for December; and

∫ Work with the engineer to prepare a plan to repair sewer, water, storm collection, and roadway in Glenhurst.

“We have worked very hard to move the city of Martins Ferry forward and believe we have been successful. We have built a spirit of cooperation between myself and City Council. Working together, the city is moving forward with a bright future ahead of us. I again ask for your support on Nov. 5 by re-electing me mayor.

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