Mayor Alan Ausman is proud of Bethel's revitalization efforts as well as its history. (Photos courtesy: A. Ausman)
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BETHEL, Ohio - How well do you know the top man or woman of your town? Our new weekly feature will introduce you to the people charged with keeping Tri-State municipalities ticking.
Elected: Nov. 2011
Population: 2,700 County: Clermont Founded: 1798 by Obed Denham
Claim to fame: President Grant spent part of his childhood in Bethel. It is also the home of Steve Newman, The WorldWalker.
Ausman was elected in November 2011 and took office in January 2012. He served three years as a councilman before being elected mayor. He is a registered Republican, but considers himself "a Conservative before a Republican."
He graduated from Williamsburg High School in 1983, but has always considered Bethel his hometown. He has been a professional window cleaner for 30 years. As mayor of Bethel, Ausman earns a salary of $500 per month.
1. What is the single biggest issue facing your town?
I believe that the biggest issue facing Bethel is our infrastructure needs as is evident by three water main breaks in the last four weeks and a water tower rupture recently. Council approved securing a low interest EPA loan and will begin on replacing our decaying water mains and replacing the 1930’s era water tower this spring.
We have already begun a Plane St. (our Main St.) revitalization project that is replacing curbs, gutters and sidewalks as well as new street lighting. We are also working on grants to replace our bridges. One has been completed (Charity Street) and another (Spring Street) to begin the near future.
2. If someone were to visit your town for the first time, what should they see and do?
We have the only Ben Franklin 5 &10 store in Southwest Ohio and it is owned by Tim Smith, who is a third generation of Smiths who have owned the store. A person can go to the store and still have loose candy weighed and bagged just like Ike Geodesy did it on the Waltons.
We also have many antique shops on our Main St. Midway, the iconic single screen theater, is still operating on weekends.The Bethel Historical Society operates a museum in the Grant Memorial Building open most Saturdays and has quite a collection of history.
3. What is your proudest accomplishment as mayor?
I would have to say my proudest accomplishment as mayor is actually a great accomplishment for the village as a whole. In 2009 we were placed in fiscal emergency and it was removed in 2013--ahead of schedule even with our local government funds being cut in half. It took a lot of work from many people, but together with council and administration, we were able to right the village’s finances and chart a positive outlook for the village of Bethel into the future. fiscal emergency in 2009 and
4. What do you hope is different about your town in ten years?
It would be my hope within the next ten years that we can have our Main St. upgrades complete and have a whole new look to our Main Street business district.
5. What are your political aspirations?
I have no further political aspirations as I enjoy serving as mayor in the town where I grew up.
6. I bet you didn’t know...
The first mayor of the village of Bethel (1852) was Jesse Grant, the father of Ulysses Grant.The Grant Memorial Building that stands in the center of our village is actually in honor of Jesse Grant, not President Grant. We were also a stop on the Underground Railroad as the founders of Bethel were avid abolitionists.
CORRECTION: The headline of this story originally referred to Alan Ausman as a house painter. He is a window cleaner.
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