BATAVIA, Oh. - How well do you know the top man or woman of your town? Our new weekly feature will introduce you to the people charged with keeping Tri-State municipalities ticking.
John Q. Thebout (b. Sept. 10, 1946), Batavia
Population: 1,509 (2010 Census)
Founded: Oct. 24, 1814
Claim to fame: 19th Century gold-mining town
John Thebout was appointed to the Village of Batavia Council in April 1991. He remained on the council through 2003, when he was elected mayor. He is now in his third term. Mayor Thebout was born in Cincinnati and grew up in Afton, a tiny community between Batavia and Williamsburg. A graduate of Williamsburg High School, he attended Southern Ohio College and University of Cincinnati in Clermont County.
He and his wife, Marilyn, have two daughters, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Mayor Thebout served with the Air Force during Vietnam. He worked in the insurance business and as a bail bondsman, then worked for Cincinnati Milacron and for Siemens, retiring in 2008. He has been a part-time police officer for Batavia, a volunteer firefighter and an emergency medical technician (EMT).
In the absence of a village administrator, Thebout served as interim administrator for eight months in 2009. In a small village administration, he has filled every position when necessary. He answers the phone, takes out the garbage and does anything else that needs to be done. He once used his life-saving experience when he and the police chief resuscitated the village administrator, who experienced cardiac arrest at work.
Q &A with the mayor
1. What is the single biggest issue facing your community?
The single biggest issue facing Batavia is business development. Commercial, professional, and industrial development are vitally important to the people of our community and to the county that we serve as the seat of justice.
We need to create the conditions that will encourage and facilitate investment to promote commerce and law and to bring people back to the Clermont County seat as the place to get business done.
2. If someone were to visit Batavia for the first time, what should they see and do?
Someone visiting Batavia for the first time should see the grand old 19th Century homes, then visit the nearby East Fork State Park, with its lake, trails, camping, and other facilities. Along the way, a visitor can enjoy the beauty of the East Fork Valley of the Little Miami River.
3. What is your proudest accomplishment as mayor?
My proudest accomplishment as mayor of Batavia so far has been the renewal of the village and the rebuilding of downtown, which is still underway. This renewal resulted from the coordinated efforts of the village council and village staff, who have developed a dynamic approach in the past several years, building each success on the successes before.
We rebuilt West Main Street a few years ago, and now we are rebuilding East Main Street, the historic part of the village, which will lend new vitality to the county seat and provide an elegant and state-of-the-art setting for the professional services surrounding the county offices and the shops serving clients and staff of those offices.
The boulevard design and high-speed telecommunications available will enable us to promote further physical renewal of the buildings downtown and multiply the opportunities for property owners.
The village council has promoted policies and initiatives and give me as mayor and the village administration the backing to carry the village to new heights.
4. What do you hope is different about Batavia in ten years?
In the next 10 years, I hope to carry our redevelopment plans further, with major expansion and development on West Main Street. We hope to build a new bridge over the East Fork of the Little Miami River at State Route 222 and extend the road across the valley to connect with Clough Pike at West Main.
That highway would open up significant land areas along West Main and would accommodate more development in the surrounding area, both inside and beyond the village limits.
5. What are your political aspirations?
I have no political aspirations. Batavia will celebrate its 200th anniversary next summer, and by then our new downtown Main Street will be completed, and I will be 68 years old.
6. Fill in the blank: I bet you didn’t know....
Here is something you probably don’t know: Batavia was not the original Clermont County seat. Williamsburg was the first county seat, then New Richmond, and finally Batavia, this time to stay.
Editor's Note: We are publishing "Meet the Mayor" in the order that we receive responses to our interview requests. If you are a local mayor or know one, feel free to contact us! Email: email@example.com