TORONTO - Mayor John Geddis said Toronto's philosophy of effective city government is simple - provide a dollar's worth of services for every tax dollar and don't lose sight of the fact that "the people's interests are ours, and ours are theirs."
A lifelong resident of the "Gem City," as Toronto is commonly called, Geddis is proud to call the Ohio River community of about 5,000 residents home sweet home.
"It's a good town to raise a family in. ... I didn't know for years that Route 7 led out of Toronto. I thought this was heaven on earth," he said.
Dedicated in 1919, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Toronto was one of the first memorials built to honor those who fought for America during World War I.
Geddis said one of the things that makes Toronto stand out is that despite its size - most people could walk from one end of town to the other without much difficulty - all the basic services residents look for are right there. The city has its own paid police and fire departments, does its own refuse collection and even has its own city school district.
In fact, once a new school building project is complete, Geddis said a child born in Toronto will be able to go to school from kindergarten through high school on the same city block. The elementary, middle and high schools all will be next to each other on Dennis Way, where Karaffa Middle School is now located.
This was made possible, Geddis said, because residents stepped up and approved a levy for the Toronto City School District, during a time when many school districts in East Ohio have tried and failed - in some cases multiple times - to pass levies. He believes Toronto is more financially stable than many other communities of comparable size because of its diverse employment base, led by what Geddis called the city's "lifeline," TIMET Corp., which is one of the world's largest titanium companies.
Toronto Calendar Of Events
- April 2, Easter Egg Hunt, 1 p.m., City Park shelter
- July 7. Independence Day festivities, with street fair all day and fireworks after dusk
- Sept. 1-2, Festival of the Arts, all day, Town Commons
Other major employers in town include Bulldog Rack Co., Valley Converting, Kwik King and Cattrell Co.
But above all, Geddis believes Toronto's biggest selling point is that it is a community of neighbors. From civic organizations like the American Legion that help keep the city's patriotic spirit alive to people simply taking the time to pick up a piece of trash blowing down the sidewalk, he said people are "the key that makes Toronto work."
"What makes Toronto so special and unique is the people who live here. They take pride in their community," he said.
Toronto is the birthplace of Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Clark Hinkle, who played for the Green Bay Packers from 1932-1941; and of the late actor Robert Urich, for whom an interchange from Toronto to Ohio 7 is named. Urich attended Florida State University on a football scholarship, and his coach there, Bill Peterson - who would go on to coach the NFL's Houston Oilers - also hailed from the Gem City.