Richwood Council members talked about upcoming projects for the new year at Monday night’s regular meeting.
The first order of business was to elect a council president. Reddy Brown was voted in as president.
The first project discussed was the Franklin Street Beautification Project which includes installing new street lights from the southern end to the north end of Franklin Street. The delay on installing the new street lamps was due to the poles not having electric outlets installed on the poles. While waiting for the new poles to arrive, Council heard from representative Josh Cross, who is with Ohio Edison/First Energy.
Somewhere in the original planning of the North Franklin Street Phase 1, council was unaware that there would be a charge to the village for Ohio Edison to remove the old street lights and poles at a cost of $12,000. Cross explained that there was a misunderstanding in the beginning of talks of the project and it was left off the plans.
Council asked Cross how they would be able to find $12,000 to pay for the removal of lights and poles. Cross also stated that some poles where electricity is installed on arms of the poles that connect electric to some residences. So it would not be possible for village staff to remove the poles and lights.
Cross will go back to Ohio Edison and see if there is a program where the cost could be financed, or a payment plan set up. Ohio Edison would be responsible for reseeding lawns when the poles come out, but in the downtown area, the holes would be filled with gravel. No concrete was discussed in the beginning stages of the project.
Tom Baldwin, an independent title search professional, was hired to search for a title to the former middle school property located on Norris Street and the football field behind it. The football field has a clear title and is able to be sold. However, the Norris Street property was found to have a title to the parcel, which has three platted lots. Council and the North Union School Board are working on a project of building a resiliency center, a center that would provide services and help for the community. But there has to be a clear title for the school board to be able to sell the property to the village.
Baldwin researched the property to ensure that with a clear title, the property would be insurable. There could be problems without a proper title.
Craig Mescher of Access Engineering suggested to council members that they consider having several public meetings to discuss the next project, Phase II of the Franklin Street Project. He suggested residents attend the meetings to share in their thoughts of the work to be done on S. Franklin St. Council agreed with Mescher and will set-up those open meetings.
Mayor Scott Jerew told council that something needs to be done very soon regarding saving the former town hall building. The roof needs to be shored up with supports before the roof collapses. It would take about $100,000 to put in supports to save the roof, but does not include the cost of new trusses and a new roof. The decision was made to hold open public meetings asking residents their feelings on whether to save the building, where would the money come from to fix the building, or tear it down.
Jerew has set the first meeting for Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the administration building at 153 N. Franklin St. at 7 p.m. Everyone is invited to share their thoughts on this historic landmark in Richwood. Jerew said that if no one attends these meetings, then council will make the decision on the building.
Jerew also mentioned that the State Capital Budget grant that the village applied for has passed the first stage. They asked for grant funds for two composting toilets for the park, 20 new picnic tables for the new shelter house, and an ADA compliant pedestrian bridge and a kayak launch. Jerew will keep council informed if the request is approved or not.
Council members Laurie Elliot Shea and Reddy Brown have been working to re-establish a tree commission for the village. They are working on guidelines for the commission to operate by as to what kinds of trees/bushes would be able to be planted in the tree lawn, establishing the boundaries of a tree lawn, and seeking volunteers who wish to be on the tree commission. Until those guidelines are approved, they hope to ask residents not to plant trees the first few months of spring. More information will be announced in the near future.
The topic of a loan to pay for the balance of the Phase I of the Franklin Street project was discussed. Council opted to approve a loan total of $596,643.05. The project came in under budget in the construction costs, so the extra cost of $96,643.05 for the tiling work to connect Route 47 near Plotner Hardware and Ken Davis and Sons, under Route 47 and hook into Edgewood Drive was approved. This is a zero percent interest loan.
Council’s next regular meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
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