New Ross Twp. trustee Jen Patterson brings lots of experience

Jen Patterson, 42, is the new trustee in Ross Twp. CONTRIBUTED

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Jen Patterson, 42, is the new trustee in Ross Twp. CONTRIBUTED

Jen Patterson is the new trustee in Ross Twp. and she brings with her a wealth of experience in government management and development, characteristics the trustees who chose her say they value.

Patterson, 42, was scheduled to be sworn in Thursday night to succeed longtime Trustee Tom Willsey, who died last month. Trustees Ellen Yordy and Keith Ballauer made their pick a week ago in executive session.

They said Patterson was chosen largely because of her experience working with the city of Monroe as an assistant to the Monroe city manager. Yordy said “she’s impressive.”

“She’s got employment, development, she’s just got so much more background being that she works with the city of Monroe, she’s got governmental background, I just think she can hit the ground running for us,” Yordy said. “I don’t think she will have such a learning curve that she will have to go through. She can start right off with input.”

Willsey, 74, served 36 years as a trustee and had just begun his 10th term in office after winning re-election last November. Patterson must run in the November 2023 election to keep the seat. The trustees had until this weekend to fill the vacancy or the decision would have gone to Butler County Probate Court Judge John Holcomb.

Ballauer said he also liked Marc Longworth II a lot. He is a lifelong resident and founder of LEI Home Enhancements, a national exterior home remodeling company.

“It went down to the very end for me as I like Longworth,” Ballauer said. “Patterson’s current employment with the city of Monroe swayed me just a little, she could bring her knowledge to help us out until the next election.”

The trustees received three resumes and an unsigned letter from people who want to be considered.

ExploreRoss Twp. trustee remembered as champion for the community

Monroe hired Patterson as an economic development specialist in 2008 and promoted her to assistant to City Manager Bill Brock four years later. Yordy said she served on the township’s zoning commission board which is working through the process of getting local control over the township’s zoning.

“She sits back and and sees the whole picture, she doesn’t come with a lot of baggage so to say,” Yordy said. “She’s open minded, that’s the way I look at her.”

Patterson has lived in the township for a decade and she and her husband have two children in the Ross schools. She told the Journal-News she has had several career opportunities through the years that would have forced them to move away but “we’ve actively chosen to live in Ross time and time again.”

“I sought out this position because I saw an opportunity to be involved with the future of Ross,” Patterson said. “As a community that I’ve lived in for 10 years I have a lot of pride in the community, it means a lot to me and I’d like to see it move forward in a thoughtful direction.”

She grew up in northeast Ohio and came down here to get her degree in public administration at Miami University. She also got her law degree from the University of Cincinnati and passed the bar but has never practiced as an attorney.

The biggest issue the trustees face at the moment is the huge $353 million mixed-use development that is proposed for the Burns Farm. The very preliminary plan for the 350-acre farm tract at the corner of U.S. 27 and Ohio 128 is for 339 mid-level and estate homes, senior cottages and assisted living,185 rental units and 124 units of “active adult housing.” A small portion, about 25 acres, could hold a hotel and neighborhood retail.

Patterson said she is well aware there are residents who strongly oppose the development.

“With just starting in my role as a trustee I know that I don’t have my arms around the entire project, the details, the technical side of things. I know there’s a lot of concern in the community,” Patterson said. “I’d like to hear those concerns beyond just we don’t want it to develop. Because there are property rights involved, they have a right to sell. But I think the goal for everyone is to come up with a project that meets the needs of community, respects the community’s history and vision for the future and respects those property owner’s personal goals as well.”

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