October 6, 2021
Pickerington Online’s Meet the Candidates
When asked why he decided to run for the office of trustee, Mark Mathews answered, “Simply, I want to help make Violet Township a better place than when I got here.”
To achieve this objective Matthews believes the township needs to create a plan for development that helps fund improving our community instead of creating an additional drain on services, such as schools, fire, and police.
“Economic development done correctly (planning) can fund parks, bike trails and other green spaces,” Matthews said. “Otherwise, it falls on the individual/families to pay for with an additional levy or increasing property taxes.”
Mathews points to New Albany as an example.
“There is office, retail and residential included in a comprehensive plan,” Matthews said. “This type of development has helped pay for a library, wellness center, fire station, amphitheater, walking trails and abundant green space. Done correctly development improves the community’s quality of life.”
A land use plan needs to be long-term as in 10 to 20 years. It needs to be created with the cooperation of other government entities including Fairfield County and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).
“If we do not plan for future development, we will get what the current zoning allows – more homes,” Matthews said. “Ninety percent of the undeveloped land in Violet Township is currently zoned residential. Without a plan we will get the development that chooses to come, rather than us choosing what we need and want.”
A growth plan would address other township concerns such as traffic congestion, the lack of sidewalks and safety issues. Additionally, our schools are busting at the seams. Balanced commercial growth will add revenue to our schools without adding students. The end result is a better educational experience for students and reducing the tax burden on families.
Matthews also has thoughts about the Wigwam Event Center (10190 Blacklick-Eastern Rd NW) which the township owns. In addition to the township offices, the center includes several rentable spaces including conference rooms and a theater, while the grounds include woods, grassy fields and attractive water features.
However, outside of the township’s regular weekday office hours the elaborate gates usually remain closed.
“Allow the community to use the space and grounds!” Matthews said. “As taxpayers, they own it and should enjoy the benefits of it.”
Matthews also believes that the township should partner with a private company to manage the property.
“This is a highly competitive area of business that needs marketed and run by experts. The township is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year trying to maintain and market the Wigwam. This is in addition to the lost property tax dollars that are no longer paid now that the township owns it,” Matthews said.
David Stone, owner of Personal Financial Advisors in Pickerington, said that Matthews is “a good fit for the township”.
“He truly cares about our community and wants it to thrive without any political agendas or wanting to ‘get’ something out of the position,” Stone said. “He is honest and straight forward and has no issue if people don’t agree with his perspective. He will not yield to public opinion, and always do what he thinks is best for our community.”
Stone said that because Matthews has been ingrained in the community for many years, he understands what the community needs. If elected, he will take the position very seriously, and work hard to fulfill the commitments he made to our residents during his campaign.
Amanda Barnes works for Matthews.
“I have wanted to strangle him, OF COURSE, but because of the person he is, I am still here 11 years later,” Barnes said. “When it comes to running MMA Insurance, he had a vision not to be your average insurance agency. We would not sell policies that could leave someone underinsured and at risk to lose everything that they had worked hard for, just to make a buck. He makes sure his clients are taken care of as if they were family.”
Barnes has “huge respect” for Matthews because he is a leader, not a follower.
“He will stand for what is right,” Barnes said. “I know that because of the care and the compassion he has for his employees and clients he is the right person for trustee.”
Matthew lists amongst his skill set the ability to form relationships, to work with others and see from their perspective, to create a budget and to look forward.
“I have experience in the business world and serving the community,” Matthews said. “This provides me a unique perspective as a volunteer, supporter, job creator and sustainer, that none of the other candidates have. We can stay true to our past, without being stuck in it. I care and am willing to do what is best for all, not myself.”
Who is Mark Matthews?
Matthews grew up in Groveport.
“My dad was in the Air Force, and got transferred to Rickenbacker,” Matthews said. “I am one of two children; my father and sister have passed away. But my mother is 83 and still going strong!!”
He has been married to his wife, Chris, for more than 32 years and the couple have two grown children who are 29 and 26 years old.
“My wife supports me in my desire to make Violet Township great,” Matthews said.
They have lived in Pickerington for more than 11 years and Matthews has owned a business (MMA Insurance at 670 Windmiller Drive, Suite E) in Pickerington for more than 18 years.
“We moved here because we love Pickerington/Violet Township,” Matthews said. “This is our home and our community. We have the best people in our community of anywhere we go. Our residents care about their community and each other. We are all in this together!”
In his spare time Matthews enjoys golfing, bicycling, watching “nearly all sports”, and he considers himself an avid reader.
“We have two dogs Rudy and Gracie, that are spoiled and know it,” Matthews said.
How you might know Mark Matthews:
“I have served on the Boards of Pickerington Chamber of Commerce, Violet Festival and Diley Ridge Medical Center,” Matthews said. “My company MMA Insurance is active in the community through sponsorships and events. We started Pickerington Kidsfest over seven years ago, a free event focusing on families that is attended by thousands each year. Additionally, we were one of three business that created a Shred It Day, with all proceeds going to the Pickerington Food Pantry. This year the proceeds went to Bottoms Up, an organization that provides diapers to families that cannot afford them.”
Pickerington Online does not endorse any candidates or issues.