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Every 200 years is enough for Medina Bicentennial Committee chairman

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    Roger Smalley, 71, was chairman of Medina's Bicentennial Committee.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — For Roger Smalley, it was a one-time deal.

“I told the mayor, I’m not doing the next one,” he joked about the city of Medina’s 250-year anniversary celebration in 2068.

Smalley, 71, was chairman of the city’s Bicentennial Committee, which culminated its yearlong events with a 200th birthday party Friday at the United Church of Christ, Congregational, 217 E. Liberty St.

Looking back on a year that included a golf tournament, home tours, special documentaries and a scavenger hunt, Smalley said it was all worth it.

“It was a lot of work,” he said. “It was for the community. They got a lot out of it and that’s great.

“That’s all I need to know.”

The committee is being honored at the next City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Smalley wasn’t paid for his services, even though it was like a full-time job. He was among a group of community members selected by Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell in June 2014 to be on the committee. That group elected Smalley as chairman in July of that year.

He said he couldn’t have done it without a “great” committee.

“A lot of people helped out,” Smalley said. “A lot of people in the community stepped in when we needed certain things.”

Smalley said Service Director Nino Piccoli, Parks Director Jansen Wehrley and Hanwell, along with police and fire departments, were extremely helpful when he asked for help.

“There were some stressful periods,” he said. “We struggled to get certain things to happen. By and large, it was a great committee to work with.”

Hanwell said he’s thankful and appreciative of the work Smalley and the entire Bicentennial Committee has done.

“Roger established a diverse committee from all facets of our community,” he said. “They have worked tirelessly to plan, organize and present programs over the last 12 months. We are blessed to have community members and Roger’s leadership to provide such an outstanding celebration of our history.”

Smalley said the committee varied from about 15 people to about 25 or 26 in the last 18 months.

“They stuck with it to the end,” he said.

Smalley said there were about 30 events. However, he said if one adds the Medina Community Band concerts, the Medina County Historical Society, the Medina County Show Biz Co. and even the 12 historical stories in The Gazette, there were more than 70 ways Medina celebrated the momentous occasions.

“All of those things were a direct connection to the bicentennial (celebration),” he said. “It was a busy year. We had great attendance for all the history events in January. People came out and were interested.”

Some of the other events were the Spring Grove Encampment, put on by the Friends of the Cemetery, Rockin’ the Park and Pool Celebration, homecoming week, a visit by NASA and the family picnic in the park.

“Every event was unique,” he said. “It was stuff that people enjoyed.”

City Council presented Smalley with $50,000 at the beginning to use as needed.

“They set aside some money,” Smalley said. “They were funds we could draw on. I don’t think we spent a penny of it.”

Community and business sponsors stepped up and took care of everything that was needed. City Council will be happy to get that money back in its coffers.

The bicentennial work adds to Smalley’s resume of public service. Smalley spent 14 years on Council from 1988-2001. He was also a teacher for over 30 years and president of the Brunswick Education Association in 1977 and ‘78.

He was also executive director of the Community Design Committee from 2005-13 and a member of the Archive Commission since it was formed.

He also helped create the Engine House Museum on Public Square.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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