While many communities don't even have a comprehensive plan, Howland has made significant strides in actually using one that the township adopted several years ago. In fact, over the last several years, Howland made progress for its residents and businesses beyond what is spelled out in its comprehensive plan.
Thirty nuisance homes in Bolindale and Morgandale were demolished using Neighborhood Stabilization Program money. Storm water improvements were made in Venice Heights and Bolindale; more are on the horizon. Gateway beautification was completed at the routes 82 and 46 interchange. A brownsfields assessment grant will help prepare the Golden Triangle industrial area for infill development.
These are among the reasons incumbent trustees Matthew Vansuch and James Saker should remain on the job.
Challengers James LaPolla Jr. and Elizabeth Ward would make good trustees, too, if elected.
We like LaPolla's idea of using community service organizations to spearhead some township projects, much like Howland parks accomplished tasks when LaPolla was closely involved.
We agree when Ward says Howland officials should work closely with the Regional Chamber, Youngstown Business Incubator and Youngstown State's STEM college to create ideas to rebuild the township's tax base.
Hopefully, LaPolla and Ward do not stay on the sidelines if their opponents are elected.
Vansuch had a successful first term since winning election four years ago. He has emerged as a leader in carrying out the recommendations in the comprehensive plan. He was closely involved in a leadership change at the fire department that has improved staff morale and the department's community service.
Next for Vansuch is continuing to make progress on the comprehensive plan, and trying to use the Trumbull County land bank for industrial infill, not just residential.
Since being appointed in January of 2012, Saker also has played an important role in helping Howland increase services - such as progressive recycling programs and creating green space while balancing the budget. Howland should support his attempt to change state law to allow townships to clean drainage ditches on private property. The ditches have eroded to the point of causing flood issues.
Our one concern is that when talking about future projects Saker often says, ''If we had more money ...'' Howland residents already approved a tax increase in 2012 when the three replacement levies passed (some might view this as a vote of confidence for the incumbents). Saker should not expect more money.
There is no reason to replace Vansuch or Saker as Howland continues to provide residents with a quality place to live and businesses with a productive place to operate.