Moving to Heath, Ohio? Here’s Everything You Need to Know.
With its roots in pre-historical society, this Ohio city has its branches in a really good future
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Image courtesy of The Newark Advocate.
Heath, Ohio is one of those American cities with its roots deep in the past. If you’re looking to move here, you can expect to find a sparse suburban feel with plenty of things to do alone or with the whole family.
The history of Heath, Ohio reaches way back to the original settlers of our continent: the Native Americans. The area that is now Heath was settled by Hopewell Indians during the 1st Century B.C. Archeologists haven’t been able to figure out the name by which they called themselves-- the term “Hopewell Indian” is derived from the landowner on whose property remains were first excavated. The Hopewells had significant structures made out of wattle and daub walls with thatched roofs for residential housing, and created major earthworks for ceremonial purposes. Many of Heath’s early European settlers destroyed parts of these earthworks while clearing land for agriculture.
The Hopewell Indians had a sophisticated, long-distance trading network as far north as the copper mines of the Great Lakes, as far east as the Carolinas, and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. They planted, hunted, and made pottery-- fragments of pottery have been tested and found to be thinner and more refined than older Native American cultures, with curved shapes that at the time were new. By 400 AD, all traces of their culture stopped.
They left behind the giant earthworks, typically-- though not always-- of geometric shapes. The largest set in Ohio is the Newark Earthworks, one of which is situated in Heath, Ohio. All three of the remaining earthworks are considered precious National Historic Landmarks and are under consideration for becoming World Heritage Sites.
European-American settlement began in the 19th Century. As stated previously, the land was cleared for agriculture and in the process, some of the earthworks were destroyed. After World War II, Newark Air Force Base was established in Heath, and for 35 years was the headquarters for the United States Air Force Aerospace Guidance and Metrology Center.
In 1952, Heath was incorporated by the state as a village with a mayor-city council form of government. In 1965, it was chartered as a city after a population boom-- it is one of only three in Licking County. In 1986, the Indian Mound Mall opened as the first and only indoor shopping mall in the county-- you can find more information on that in the last section of this article.
Heath’s population continues to grow. During the 2010 Census, a population of 10,310 people was recorded (see updated population statistics in “Heath’s residential life” section of this article), which figures out to about 944 people/square mile. Heath is about 11 square miles large, of which .08 is water and the rest is land.
Heath’s politics & services
As stated in the previous section, Heath’s legislative powers lie primarily with its City Council and Mayor, except where the state has jurisdiction or precedence. The council has four members elected by each of their city wards and three elected at-large. Meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month at 7:30pm. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings. Residents can contact the city council and the mayor via email or phone.
Heath’s Street Department has seven full-time members who are responsible for the repair and maintenance of Heath’s 90 miles of roads, snow removal, storm sewers and catch basins, signs, the annual leaf-pick up program, and more. They have 14 vehicles and 10 pieces of heavy equipment in their fleet. They are also responsible for inspecting the rest of the city-owned vehicles for safety and repair.
The city also has its own Fire Department, which proudly consists of 16 full-time firefighters/paramedics and volunteers with various other certifications. Operating since 1951, the department offers aid to all other Licking County Fire Departments under the Mutual Aid Agreement. Each shift has 24 hours on and 48 hours off, so the department remains fresh and ready for action. Each shift is assigned a captain, lieutenant, and three firefighters/medics. The department responds to an average of 2,400 calls annually, answered by two stations which are amply equipped. Licking County’s HazMat Truck #2 and the Rescue Team Trailer are both housed by the Heath Fire Department. Beginning 2006, all EMS billing is now returned to the city’s general fund.
The Heath Police Department is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and is staffed by 18 full-time officers, a reserve force, and various civilians in office desk or dispatch positions. Three of the officers are Detectives. If you ever need electronic fingerprinting services-- such as for background checks or FBI clearances for teaching-- the Heath Police Department can also help you with that. Through their webpage you can also find resources on addiction recovery, citizen and officer complaints, anonymous tips, and more. The department responds to an average of 16,000 calls per year for various reasons. See the section of this article entitled “Heath’s residential life” for more information on crime statistics.
If you’re planning on moving the Heath to build your dream home, you’ll want to contact and work with the Building & Zoning Department to make sure you have all of your legal ducks in a row before you begin construction. Be sure to also check out their Floodplain Management information, Development Regulations, and Property Maintenance-- all linked on their webpage.
Heath’s Income Tax Department has 4 full-time staffers. They take care of the collection and administration of Heath’s 2% income tax and 3% hotel excise tax. On their webpage you can find links to frequently asked questions, blank tax forms, and their contact information.
Whether you’re building your dream home, moving into a new house, or renting, everyone wants clean water that’s safe to drink and odor-free. This is where the Utilities Department comes in handy. With their state-of-the-art facility, they ensure that all of Heath has water that is beyond safe for drinking, cooking, and washing. On their webpage you can find information on billing, safety, leaks, and previous water quality reports.
We’ll talk about Heath’s Parks & Recreation Department later in the “Time off in Heath” section of this article. Their webpage contains links for the parks, reservations, bike trails, and the volleyball/softball fields.
Heath’s residential life
Life in Heath, Ohio appears to be very good, according to Niche.com-- they gave Heath a report card with only one “C”... the weather! Heath’s weather tends to be cloudy-- they get an average of 42 inches of rain and 20 inches of snow per year, which is about on par with the national average and totals an average of about 128 precipitous days each year. However, they get significantly fewer sunny days: 172 as compared to 205. Summer highs occur in July at about 84 degrees, and winter lows occur generally in January at about 18 degrees. June, September, and August tend to be the most comfortable months, while the months of January and February have the worst. 132 days of winter will have nightfalls of freezing-- or lower-- temperatures. May is the wettest month, with nearly 13 days of rain. The driest month is September-- just in time for school sports season!
Nearly half of Heath’s residents are over the age of 45, with a full 32% of them over 55. Roughly 20% of residents are minors, which is about equal to the percentage of senior citizens. So Heath has a great deal of citizens who are middle-aged to retired, though roughly 34% of residents are between the ages of 24-44.
Of Heath’s 10,542 residents, 54% identify as female and 46% identify as male. 90% of the population is white, 2% are African-America, and the same for Hispanic or Asian descent. A further 2% are mixed race. So racial diversity is fairly low, but some representation exists.
The majority of Heath’s residents are educated to at least a high school level, while 29% have some sort of college experience and 12% have a BA. Only 6% have a Masters, which is half of the national average. As one may expect with a midwest population with some level of higher education, the average individual income is just under $26,000/year. 37% of the population lives on $15-$34 thousand/year. In households where two or more incomes are combined, the average gross total of income is just over $48,000/year. Most of Heath is employed-- the unemployment rate is a low 3.2%-- but around 13% of the population lives in poverty. Recent job growth is a positive .7%.
Most residents own their homes, which are worth an average of $131,600. The 34% of the residents who rent pay an average of $819/month, which is below the national average. The cost of living in Heath in general is around 15% lower than the national average-- utilities cost about the same--so do groceries-- but transportation and housing are both much less expensive. Housing costs are the biggest difference.
The residents who live here are generally safe. Crime statistics reveal that the majority of crime is theft-related, with relatively few crimes classified as “violent.” Of those, the majority are assault-- however, that statistic is still half of the national average. Public records reveal that there are 18 registered sex offenders living in Heath, which is about the state average. Overall, the police department does a good job of keeping its citizenry safe-- though as with any city, citizens do need to exercise good common sense about safety (such as not walking around at night with ears plugged up with music).
There are 19 public schools serving the Heath area. Only five of these schools are in Heath. Heath schools spend roughly $10,016 per student, and the average student-to-teacher ratio is 18:1. All of Heath’s schools are above average.
Time off in Heath
As we mentioned earlier, the indoor shopping mall in the Heath area is the Indian Mound Mall. It’s located off Route 79 and features anchor stores like JCPenney and AMC Movie Theaters, as well as top retailers like Ulta and Sephora inside JCPenney. There’s also a Trampoline Park, children’s play area, a nursing mothers’ lounge, and a food court.
The Newark Earthworks runs through Heath. As we mentioned above in the “Heath’s roots” section, these Indian Mounds were built by the Hopewell Indian culture between the 1st Century BC and 500 AD. They primarily had ceremonial value, but also were used for primitive astronomy and covers approximately 4 square miles. Early European and American settlers destroyed some of the sites, but the three remaining sites have been preserved primarily through the efforts of local citizens: Great Circle, Octagon, and Wright Earthworks. Make sure that you wear good walking shoes, and plan for at least an hour’s stay.
For a more grown-up and sophisticated good time, wander over to the Sand Hollow Winery or the Speakeasy. Both are owned by veteren traveller Jim Young, who opened Sand Hollow Winery in 2011. His 83-acre farm is also rentable for weddings and other special occasions. Both locations serve small bites and small-batch, handcrafted wines. Check out the events page for the latest entertainment.
For a smaller shopping experience, check out Finders Keepers Village. It opened in 1999, and has over 200 unique shops of antiques, gifts, furniture and more. It’s the largest such shopping center in Licking County, and emphasizes a fun shopping experience with excellent service. Instead of playing music, they play nature sounds! And as you wander through the hassle-free environment, you’ll catch whiffs scented candles and potpourri. All vendor products are juried before display, so you know the quality is good!
For a unique night out or overall drinking and eating experience, “hop” on over to the Homestead Beer Company, Licking County’s premiere craft brewery. Located at the intersection of Aerospace Drive and Irving Wick Drive, they opened in 2012 and have been drawing crowds with their excellent microbrews in various sizes and a radical line-up of local food trucks (Thursday-Saturday). Get social with them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This place is a great way to meet new faces and experience excellent local food with some of the best beer you’ll ever have.
Overall, Heath, Ohio is a safe little gem of a suburb with a truly unique history and a great local food scene. Moving here will give you the space you want and the life you need at a price you can afford.
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