BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Two Tims are on the ballot running for Waterville mayor this fall – one with decades of experience in public office and a newcomer who had a crash course in local government when an outdoor amphitheater was proposed for Waterville Landing.
The Mirror asked incumbent Tim Pedro and challenger Tim Plowman about why they decided to run for mayor, relevant experience, philosophy, goals and plans to represent all Waterville residents. Their profiles are provided below in alphabetical order.
When Tim Pedro first ran for council in 1995, he recalls then-mayor Dave Myerholtz advising him: “Don’t just run for office because you’re mad about something – because it won’t make you happy.”
When he took over as mayor in 2019, Pedro also got some advice from outgoing mayor Lori Brodie.
“She said, ‘Tim, you’ll have a lot of things come at you. Just deal with the facts, not the emotions,’” recounted Pedro, who is running for his second term in office. “I’ve held that dear to my heart over the last 15 months.”
Since a June 2022 application for a conditional use permit was filed to build an amphitheater in the city, Pedro said his role as mayor has been challenging, but now he sees the community making lemonade out of lemons.
“People are stepping up and getting involved in our city,” he said.
He commended Terri Massucci for heading up the Waterville Wally rock snake and other community projects. Third Street Blooms owner Wendy Gray organizes a team of volunteers to decorate the downtown area for the holidays. Brea Wise put together a program to create banners honoring military veterans. These are displayed throughout the city.
The 50th Roche de Boeuf Festival was the city’s Super Bowl event, showcasing all of the positive the city has to offer, Pedro added.
“I believe we are at a major turning point in Waterville,” he said.
It’s not the first time he’s seen the community go through a tough time and heal. When a rerouting of U.S. 24 out of the downtown area was first proposed more than 35 years ago, the topic divided the residents. Now, that division is forgotten as the bypass has provided opportunities for development while solving a major safety issue in the city. The amphitheater project was just as divisive but with social media providing more outlets for voicing opinions – and often inaccurate information.
As he spent countless hours reading and responding to hundreds of phone calls and emails, Pedro said he got to know and understand the residents and also took time to explain the process behind every decision that is made.
“As a city, we have to balance residential growth and commercial growth, and look at all proposed projects for the future by weighing all of the information and using the proper channels – by going through council meetings and committees,” he said. “We look at all angles before making a decision.”
The mayor has just one vote, so Pedro said his goal is to allow all council and community members to express their knowledge and then seek consensus.
“People see things from their vantage point, but there can always be better communication,” he said.
When Pedro moved to Waterville in 1993, he and his wife Karen got involved with several community organizations: the Anthony Wayne Area Baseball Softball Association, Scout Troop 101, neighborhood groups and Waterville Primary’s parents’ association. As their four sons are now grown and having kids of their own, Pedro has remained involved in regional development both through his role in CT Consultants and as mayor.
“I have the opportunity to be in other communities and see how they operate,” he said, naming Sylvania and Van Wert as examples.
The city’s decision to implement a Downtown Redevelopment District last year will begin coming to fruition in early 2024, he noted.
If elected to a second term, Pedro said he wants to increase funding for road repairs that are needed as the city grows. He also plans to focus on providing a safe community by supporting the police and fire departments. Increasing funding for recreational opportunities will see the completion of Parker Square. Many of these projects have come about with $4.6 million in grant funding for projects that continue through 2026. Additionally, the city will begin its land use plan update early next year. Lastly, he plans to work toward keeping as many younger people as possible in the community – with jobs and housing.
Tim Plowman is running for mayor in order to do the will of the people.
“After witnessing the approach our current council took with us residents and our city code and charter, particularly in regards to the amphitheater, I decided to become involved,” he said. “I felt like the people were brushed aside in favor of the wants of council.
“I believe that, particularly in a small town, the job of a council member is simple: Be a medium for the will of the people. Work for the residents and follow the law. Council members and the mayor aren’t what make a city special – the residents are,” he said.
As mayor, Plowman said he will work to understand the people’s will, and then follow it to all extents possible under the law.
“Our charter dictates our comprehensive plan is the cornerstone to knowing the will of the people, yet a new one is overdue,” he said. “I would make sure a new comprehensive plan is achieved with relevant questions asked of the community to ensure all Waterville residents have a say in the direction our city takes as we move forward.”
Plowman said his experience in local government has consisted of being an advocate for the citizens, as opposed to being just “another politician.”
“Whether at the national or local level, faith in our representative bodies is at an all-time low, and these institutions are filled with ‘experienced’ politicians. I believe this is because they have forgotten their actual purpose: representing their constituents,” he stated. “As an elected representative, you should fight for the people you represent, never against them.
“This last year has been difficult for all of our city’s residents, and needlessly so. Waterville needs leaders that are in touch with their constituents, leaders with the courage to truly listen to them. This is what provides a good leader with the foresight to avoid issues that can incite and divide a once-neighborly city.”
As the father of young children, Plowman said he is in a better position to represent a growing demographic of young families in the city. He pointed out that no one on council has young children anymore.
“I’ve served my nation as a Marine and have chosen to raise my family in Waterville for the peace, safety and good educational institutions we currently have,” he said. “I believe the majority of this city agrees with me that these assets are the most valuable to our small city, and I seek to protect them. I am willing to take a hard stand to preserve the values of peace and safety that make Waterville special, values that are enshrined in our charter and code as law.”
Plowman has a bachelor of science degree in management information systems and is a federally licensed firearms dealer who specializes in bringing historically significant items to a national market by auction. Plowman also is Ohio’s Highpower Rifle director and sits on the board of the Ohio Rifle & Pistol Association, overseeing state-sanctioned marksmanship competitions and partnering with the Civilian Marksmanship Program out of Camp Perry – the national sanctioning body charged with providing safe and competitive marksmanship programs for Americans of all ages.
He is also captain of the Ohio Service Rifle Team, which competes against other states and military teams at the national matches at Camp Perry. This year, his team won the national championship for top state team, Ohio’s first in 30 years and its sixth title since the matches began in the 1880s.
“Above all, I’m just an average Waterville dad. I believe that our laws guarantee all of us the right to a peaceful home. I believe Waterville is a city that promises our children the right to a quiet, full night’s sleep before a day of school or sports, that promises our hardworking families and retirees the peaceful relaxation they have worked so hard to enjoy,” Plowman concluded.