ASHTABULA — Stephen Kellat, candidate for the Ward 4 seat on Ashtabula City Council, hosted an event on Wednesday raising issues he sees with the ward specifically and the city in general.
Ashtabula still has a homeless problem, he said.
Kellat, a Republican, said he is campaigning on three things. First, improving the roads in Ward 4. A section of East 50th Street is badly degraded and sections of East 47th Street have worn down through the asphalt to bricks, Kellat said. There also need to be more sidewalks, he said. Finally, housing in the county needs to be fixed.
“Walking the dog through Indian Trails during the age of COVID, I keep stumbling upon homeless encampments,” Kellat said.
Kellat said entities like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army do not have a significant presence in the area.
“Right now, we have an environment in place in this town which is not particularly conducive to ensuring people get the help they need,” Kellat said. There will not be investment in the city if there are road and sidewalk issues and homelessness, he said.
Kellat suggested requiring home inspections before new tenants move into a rental.
“I would love to have those homes inspected at least once, before a new tenant comes in,” Kellat said. “Make sure there are no surprises, make sure those places are livable.”
He also suggested making sure roads are passable, instead of trying to make a couple roads perfect.
The city should seek to expand the use of the port, Kellat said. The port has a customs officer, which should be utilized, he said.
Kellat wants to see more tourism from Canada once COVID-19 health orders are lifted, he said.
Kellat said he isn’t sure if the planned Harbor hotel and Petmin pig iron projects will ever come to fruition.
“My biggest hope for overall investment in the city, get more shipping,” he said. “Our lifeblood a hundred years ago was getting ships here and that’s probably where we need to be again.”
Kellat is running against Democrat Jodi Mills in the November election.