Franklin City Councilman Brent Centers listens to thoughts from resident Sky Stewart on ideas on how revitalize downtown Franklin. Community stakeholders, city officials and representatives from Heritage Ohio met for two days to assess the viability of the downtown area to eventually become a Main Street community. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Area’s latest 30-something mayor following in father’s footsteps

Centers, 31, is the latest 30-something along the Interstate 75 corridor through Butler and Warren counties to be elected or appointed mayor. In November, Nicole Condrey, 37, was the first woman directly elected as Middletown’s mayor, and last week, Jason Frentzel, 39, was appointed as Monroe’s new mayor.

Public service is a tradition in the Centers family. His father, Denny, is a former Franklin mayor and has served on council since 2001; his brother Shane is a Franklin Twp. trustee; and his maternal grandfather, Wilburn DePew, is a retired Franklin fire chief and a former council member and vice mayor.

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In April 2018, Centers was appointed Hamilton Twp. administrator and was recently promoted to master sergeant in the Ohio Air National Guard. He is currently serving as the first sergeant of the medical group at the 180th Fighter Wing based in Toledo.

Centers said he’s “honored” that his fellow council members voted him to serve as mayor, adding he’s worked hard to get where he’s earned his stripes.

“I’ve learned a lot from serving on council and I’ve learned a lot from (mayor) Todd (Hall) and dad,” he said. “We’ve had a long line of public service. I was raised to give back to the community and this is a milestone for me. I’m very proud to serve the community in the capacity of mayor.

Hall, who was re-elected to a new four-year term in November, was tapped to serve as Franklin’s vice mayor. Hall has been a Franklin council member since 2000 and has previously served as mayor and vice mayor throughout his tenure.

In other business, council:

• Rejected a rezoning request for 0.70-acres at 23 W. Second St. to put in a used car business. City Engineer/Zoning Official Barry Conway said on Dec. 6 the Planning Commission recommended to council that it deny the request because it did not appear to consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan which did not allow for that type of business in thet type of district.

• Approved a resolution to seek an estimated $150,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding through Warren County during fiscal year 2020 for improvements in the Mackinaw neighborhood of Franklin. The proposed $200,000 project will involve grinding and repaving of alleys between Elm and Cedar streets; replacing some deteriorated curb and gutter on Maple Street, and replacing 10 catch basins. If the city receives the $150,000 CDBG grant, the city’s portion would be $50,000 and would be paid out of the city’s stormwater fund.

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