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Joe Lawless, who ran for Perrysburg City Council 16 years ago because he saw a need for changes in town, last week attended his final council meeting.
“I tell my kids if you don’t like the way things are, get involved and change them,” he said.
Changes Mr. Lawless has helped orchestrate on council have included eliminating city debt and improving Perrysburg’s parks. The parks and recreation committee chairman said when he took office, Municipal Park was “a mess,” Rivercrest Park was still developing, and Rotary Park didn’t exist.
“Parks help make the community family friendly and the kind of place people want to live,” said Mr. Lawless, who also has been council president for the past eight years. “We made vast improvements to the parks and the staffs.”
The owner of Corporate Housing Systems Inc. in Perrysburg wasn’t re-elected in November, and three newcomers will be on council. Mr. Lawless said he hadn’t planned on seeking re-election, but changed his mind when Maria Ermie stepped down and Mike Olmstead ran for mayor. He wanted to offer some continuity for council.
Council member Todd Grayson said Mr. Lawless was his inspiration to run for council, and was extremely helpful showing him the ropes of how council and the city works.
With three new council members to be seated in January, Mr. Grayson said, it will hurt not having Mr. Lawless there to help everyone understand the process.
“New people on council will need to get up to speed on how and why things work,” Mr. Lawless said. “It may take council awhile to move things along quickly and efficiently because a lot of procedural stuff happens behind the scenes. They’ll get it done; it just may take longer.”