Defiance is a vibrant and progressive community —the confluence of rich history, small town experiences, and innovative opportunities.

Our mission is to unite the community through learning, service, and culture.

This group is very pleased with the content of the plan, and we invite you to click the link to view the document.


Abby Wolfrum, Executive Director of United Way of Defiance — transportation, safety, networks

Rita Kissner, Former Mayor of Defiance, Dr. Richanne Mankey, Defiance College President, and Bob Morton, Superintendent of Defiance City Schools — life coaching, youth supportive services, defined culture

Erika Willitzer, Defiance County Executive Director of Economic Development and John Lehner, City Finance Director — jobs, wages, economic growth

Jamie Gerken, Defiance County Health Commissioner, Doug Bush, ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital President , Dr. Richanne Mankey, Defiance College President — behavioral, mental and physical healthcare, substance abuse prevention and intervention, dental

Liz Keel, Maumee Valley Planning Organization Housing Coordinator — rental standards, affordability, availability, blight

Luis Rivera, Next Gen Group, Kirstie Mack, DDVB Director, and  Defiance Area Foundation, Christine Yoder— schools, community, diversity


Mayor Mike McCann
City Planner Niki Warncke
City Executive Assistant Debbie Stevens
Defiance Dream Center representatives, Bill Lammers, Guiseppe Blanchard
Defiance Chamber of Commerce Director, Sarah Tackett

Defiance Public Library Director Cara Potter

THE PILLARS - Click each for Goals and Strategies



Defiance is a community where everyone has connections to and is utilizing safe and easy access to reliable networks.

  • 100% that want access have access to fast, affordable/free internet services.
  • Workforce rates have increased making the Defiance community exceed the national average.
  • Transportation systems and resources are in place and accessible.
  • 100% of community has access to safe pedestrian connections.


  1. Create a comprehensive transportation system for Defiance County.
  2. Provide access to affordable high-speed broadband internet service county-wide.
  3. Develop a build-up academy.

Outcomes and Discussions – See Minutes on these topics

  • Defiance County Transportation Network
  • Mobility Manager Position
  • Connectivity and Wi-Fi with 5G networks and neighborhood HUB

Key Contributors to this Pillar:

Brad Booth, ED Henry County Transportation Network
Kathy Shaw, Triangular Processing
The new Mobility Manager
Guiseppe Blanchard, The Dream Center
Angie Franklin, NOCAC
Katye Katterheinrich, Ravens Care
Ryan Mack, County Commissioner
Niki Warncke, City Planner

The Defiance community provides residents with a variety of experiences and opportunities for awareness and growth in education, arts and culture.

  • The community offers diverse education and experiential opportunities Pre-K through 12 (public) and college (private) in and beyond the schools, public and private.
  • Residents have a variety of opportunities and experiences to be exposed to, participate in, and learn about the visual and performing arts.
  • Children and adult learners have an abundance of educational opportunities that contribute to a culture that embraces change, diversity and civil discourse.
  • Families have access to a variety of programs for their growth and development.
  • The perception of area schools is improved and our schools attract high quality teachers.


  1. Provide the resources children and adult learners need to build a vision for their futures through a collaboration with churches, non-profits, the city, the county, businesses, museums, higher education institutions, public and private schools, and other agencies.
  2. Renovate or build an attractive, spacious facility to support family and community programming in collaboration with the City of Defiance, the Defiance City Schools, and Defiance College.

Outcomes and Discussions – See Minutes on the Topics


  • 1918 Building


  • Small Business Development Committee – Entrepreneurship Incubator Space
  • Dream Center Initiatives
  • GAP Year Program at Defiance College
  • Jacket Journey at Defiance College


Defiance is a renaissance community recognized as a national leader in attracting and retaining quality jobs and supporting innovative business opportunities.

  • We bring educators and business leaders together to develop a relevant and world-class workforce.
  • We have the systems businesses need — abundant water, a state of the art wastewater treatment facility, competitive electric and natural gas rates, safe/easy access to major highways, and high-speed broadband access.
  • We offer competitive incentives and appealing land opportunities.


  1. Research market sectors for whom we offer strategic advantages and direct educational efforts to support.
  2. Evaluate real estate and land availability for development and re-development.
  3. Compete for awards and recognition that we can use to promote Defiance and market our brand.

Outcomes and Discussions – See Minutes on Topics

Economic Development:

  • Harmon Business Park
  • Industrial Buildings
  • New CRA #5 being developed by MVPO
  • Future Spec Buildings

Workforce Development:

  • A Wage and Compensation Survey
  • The Seven Mindsets”

We optimize the physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being for all Defiance community residents.

  • All community organizations and agencies utilize a Health in All Policy
  • There is an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
  • Community members have access to physical, mental, spiritual, and social resources.
  • Deliberate efforts are made to communicate that “health” is comprehensive in scope encompassing physical mental, spiritual, and social well-being.


  1. Develop and share best practices of Health in All Policy with local organizations.
  2. Develop a consistent message that the Defiance community is committed to supporting health and wellness.

Outcomes and Discussions – See Minutes on the topics

The Wellness Focus is on 4 Key Areas:

1) The Farmers Market

2) Walking Program/Trails

3) Research

4) The Health in all Policy

PILLAR: Housing

rental standards, affordability, availability, blight

GOAL: The Defiance community has a variety of housing options to meet the needs and interests of all current and future residents.

  • Building codes and enforcement procedures are reviewed on a scheduled basis.
  • There are incentive programs in place for new development.
  • Volunteer community groups partner to address housing and social needs.
  • There are realistic evaluations of housing needs and conditions.
  • There is a data collection process that assists with anticipation of the unique housing needs of a multi-generational community.
  • Those experiencing barriers to accessing and maintaining stable housing are educated.
  • There is noticeable improvement in the visual appeal of neighborhoods.


  1. Conduct a comprehensive housing feasibility study. (Neighborhoods, populations, needs, inventory, opportunities, threats and rehab status).
  2. Review and strengthen comprehensive code enforcement to comply or assess penalties.
  3. Create a cross-functional task force to review and create incentives for housing development on all levels.
  4. Create a Defiance Certified Landlord Program.



The world knows that Defiance, Ohio is a great place to live.

  • There is an ongoing campaign to highlight the Defiance community’s positive aspects. We communicate and widely disseminate complex community information in easy to understand formats.
  • Community leaders create collaborative partnerships to increase positive awareness of Defiance and to move Defiance’s perception from industry dependent to an innovation leader.
  • The public understands and supports Defiance led initiatives that will ultimately benefit the community.


  1. Create a strategic marketing plan to promote the Defiance community. Conduct a SWOT analysis for the Defiance community and utilize the results in the marketing plan.
  2. Develop a network of promoters.
  3. Optimize riverfront development. (Brought forward by the Pivotal Partners)

Outcomes and Discussions – See Minutes on Topics:

  • Issue Media Group (IMG)  – a digital marketing firm to promote Defiance
  • Parks and Recreation Facebook Page development
  • Riverfront Development Interest
  • Social Media positive messages
  • Speakers in the Downtown to air music
  • Murals on downtown buildings


Strategic Planning Committee Pillar Team Group meets the second Tuesday of every-other-month to ensure we stay on task to fulfill the strategies and goals set forth.

2022 Meetings:
January 11, March 8, May 10, July 12, September 13, November 8

January 11, 2022 Pillar Group Minutes
March 8, 2022 Pillar Group Minutes
May 10, 2022 Pillar Group Minutes

2021 Meetings:
January 5, March 2, May 4, July 13, September 14, November 9

January 5, 2021 Pillar Group Minutes
March 2, 2021 Pillar Group Minutes
May 4, 2021 Pillar Group Minutes
July 13, 2021 Pillar Group Minutes
September 14, 2021 Pillar Group Minutes

2020 Meetings:
January 7, March 3, May 5, July 7, September 1, November 3 at 11:30 a.m.

January 7, 2020 Pillar Group Minutes
March 3, 2020 Pillar Group Minutes
June 10, 2020 Pillar Group Minutes
September 1, 2020 Pillar Group Minutes
November 3, 2020 Pillar Group Minutes

2019 Meetings:
January 8, March 5, May 7, July 2, September 3, November 5 at 11:00 a.m.

January 8, 2019 Pillar Group Minutes
May 7, 2019 Pillar Group Minutes
July 2, 2019 Pillar Group Minutes
September 3, 2019 Pillar Group Minutes
November 5, 2019 Pillar Group Minutes

2018 Meetings:
July 10, September 11, November 6

July 1, 2018 Pillar Group Minutes
September 11, 2018 Pillar Group Minutes
November 6, 2018 Pillar Group Minutes

Contact Information:

Office of the Mayor
631 Perry Street
Defiance, Ohio 43512


Office Hours:
Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.



The Defiance Community Strategic Planning Committee commenced in the Fall of 2017, led by Consulting Facilitator Kathy LaSota. The Defiance Community Strategic Planning Team participated in a process resulting in a community-wide five-year strategic plan for 2018-2022. The planning process engaged a diverse group of constituencies in a facilitated and collaborative environment to create a plan that draws all existing agency plans together, supports and enhances each, and clarifies how and why common needs, interests and solutions interact. The plan provides a roadmap for action to accomplish common goals.

The result was a holistic and sustainable plan for the Defiance community. This large group of community members gathered monthly for five months to work together and create a plan for the community’s future. It took a group effort and many meetings later to finalize the Vision and Mission Statements, establish the Guiding Principles, create the six Pillars, and set Goals and Strategies for our community.

After finishing the tasks above and under the direction of Mayor Mike McCann, the Pillar Leaders were assigned to lead their individual team members to fulfill the goals and strategies of each Pillar of the Community Strategic Plan. The Pillar Team Leaders meet as a group with Mayor McCann to discuss  progress made in their individual Pillar. Those meeting minutes are listed on this page.  At the end 2022, the Team will gather again to re-evaluate the Defiance Community Strategic Plan.