Linda has taken on the unenviable task of code enforcement for the town. She’s also the chairwoman of the Tipton County Democrats, so it’s fairly certain she’s not driven by a need for popularity.
“I tell people, all you have to do is go out there in the yard, bend over and pick stuff up that doesn’t belong, but a couple gallons of paint, and you’ve got a mansion,” she says. “All it has to be is clean and neat.”
It’s a measure of the continuity in the town that the town council backs Smeltzer in her quest for a tidy community. Smeltzer’s grandparents lived in the house she and her husband, Don, now occupy. Rood’s grandparents lived in Sharpsville. The ties that bind are still strong here.
“If the weather’s nice and we’ve got our work done, we sit on our porch and wave, and everyone waves back, whether you know them or not,” she said.
Over the years, they’ve also learned to engage the outside world a bit better, from hiring a new, less aggressive town marshal, to welcoming new businesses to town.
Gabe’s Pizza is the new restaurant, and in a town like Sharpsville, having a pizza place open is a big deal.
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight may be at the forefront of a national movement to restore “walkability” to cities, but in Sharpsville, they never lost it.
“We can walk downtown and get pizza, but if you walk downtown, you don’t want to be in a hurry, because someone’s going to stop you to talk,” Don Smeltzer said.
Over at the convenience store, the bus drivers were all piled into one bus, getting a ride back to their houses from Jay Rayl.