October 27, 2021
Pickerington Online’s Meet the Candidates
Melissa Wilde, incumbent candidate for Violet Township Trustee, believes the community has “two critical issues in need of immediate solutions. One is the loss of our green space as we continue to lose open areas to housing development. The second is the lack of safe sidewalks and bike paths. Almost every year I have lived here, we have someone hit by cars, which is unacceptable.”
For both of these issues, Violet Township must seek partnerships and grants.
“We will also need to shift our own resources and devote some of our own dollars to provide some of the required match many grants require,” Wilde said.
In the past, the providing safe sidewalks, conserving green space and pushing for continued use of farmland were not township priorities.
“This has to change,” Wilde said.
By the end of the year, Violet Township should have a new Land Use Plan formulated from community feedback which will inform zoning and development decisions moving forward.
“The future of the local economy is constantly shifting, and we need to be more open to working with other communities as more businesses continue to move into the Columbus area market,” Wilde said. “Once the Violet Township Land Use Plan is complete, it will be incredibly important to work with our neighbors to as well as organizations like MORPC to accomplish the goals of this study.”
Wilde said that in the few years that she has been a trustee, she fulfilled many of the promises that she made to the voters.
“I will always work hard to move this community forward for the residents I serve,” she said. “I am most proud of the fact that I was able to work with the team that saved a large-wooded area from becoming a housing development and have been successful in joining forces with Fairfield County Park District to maintain this area and provide access to the members of the community. I will continue answering my calls and advocating for each person in this community.”
Wilde first ran for office years ago as a way to give back to the community.
“I am running again because I have enjoyed advocating for the residents of Violet Township and believe that my vision for this area is something many of the people here believe in and will continue working hard to create a future that benefits all residents,” she said.
The large-wooded area that Wilde helped save is the Wigwam Event Center (10190 Blacklick Eastern Rd, Pickerington), which now houses the Violet Township administrative offices and includes a banquet hall which is rented every weekend for fundraisers and weddings. A community group planted a raised-bed garden and the Pickerington Community Theatre performs in the theater.
This past summer, local Girl Scouts held a day camp on the property and the Pickerington Public Library threw a large party there to celebrate the conclusion of the summer reading program.
In September, Wilde organized a partnership between the township and the Fairfield County Park District (FCPD) in which the FCPD will develop the Wigwam into a park and maintain the park for at least the next ten years.
“When I was first elected, I contacted the director at the time to discuss possibilities for a partnership,” Wilde said. “Violet Township is a strong supporter of the park district and I wanted to find ways for our residents to enjoy more parks close to home. After the Wigwam was purchased, this became my ideal location for a partnership.”
Beginning in November, walking paths will be cleared through the west woods and around the perimeter. Then the township will evaluate the need for a shelter and the possibility of a nature center.
“I am a huge advocate for parks and walking/biking paths,” Wilde said. “It is part of my job to ensure the health of my constituents and I think we can agree that park systems have had a positive impact not only on our physical health, but in a crazy year when everything in life was turned upside down, parks have provided a space to boost our mental health as well.”
Through her position as a trustee, Wilde has worked behind the scenes to “bring all the right folks to the table to ensure we are not only using our tax dollars in the most efficient way through available partnerships, but also providing ways for community input and involvement. This project is one of the best examples of the way government and the community can work together to provide benefits for the community as a whole.”
Wilde is “incredibly proud” of the partnership with the Park District and is already looking for more future opportunities.
“I have already had discussions with folks from the library for storybook paths featuring local authors and Girl Scout troops to provide educational opportunities inside our parks so that visitors can learn about our local indigenous history,” Wilde said.
“Pickerington is a community that is generous and always willing to step up and take care of one another. I’m always so encouraged by the requests for help and how people here just step up to take care of one another”
What are people saying about Melissa Wilde?
Township resident Michelle McTeague said that she is “voting for Melissa Wilde because I see the fresh perspective she brings to the Violet Township leadership. She is insightful, educated and has an integrity that is often times hard to find.”
McTeague said that even though she is a registered Republican, she and Melissa share many common viewpoints.
“We’ve had many discussions on what her vision for the township entails,” McTeague said. “Because of these conversations, as well as seeing her dedication since being elected as a township trustee, I feel extremely confident voting once again for Melissa Wilde.”
Yolanda Owens also supports Wilde.
“Having been in the Township for the last six years, I have seen so much growth of young families just like ours,” Owens said. “Looking for a place to belong that offers a sense of community, safety, diversity, and a stable economy. I believe that Melissa values those same things and works to bring them to the township. I am glad to call her a neighbor and a friend. She was/is such a strong advocate for the community garden and creating communal spaces for education. She has so many initiatives yet to be realized, I am excited for yet another term for her to continue working towards a township that I am glad to live in.”
Who is Melissa Wilde?
“My parents met while serving in the Navy so I grew up traveling the coastlines here and abroad with my parents and two younger sisters.,” Wilde said. “My husband, Eric, and I moved to Pickerington when Eric finished his service in the military. He is from Ohio and we wanted to raise our kids near family. We chose Pickerington for the excellent schools.”
The couple has three children: one attends Ohio University, one attends the Eastland Career Center and one attends Pickerington High School Central.
“We have five cats, a hamster and a fish,” Wilde said. “We love animals and nature and enjoy exploring the amazing Metro Parks and traveling to National and State Parks.”
Before serving as a Violet Township Trustee, Wilde was elected to the Pickerington City Council. She is also a member of the Violet Township Women’s League, 100 Women who Care, Lions Club, Fairfield County Land Bank, the board of the Regional Council of Governments and the board of the Pickerington Area Resource Coalition.
For more information on Melissa Wilde, please visit her campaign website at: wilde4violet.com.
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