Voters to decide on pool


After seemingly endless discussion and debate by city administrators, and pursuit through grass-roots efforts, it will be voters who ultimately decide the fate of a new Wauseon community pool.

City Council members on Monday voted 5-0 to accept the Pool Advisory Committee’s recommendation to place a five-year tax levy for the construction and operation of a $1.4 million pool on the ballot Nov. 3. Councilor Rick Frey was not in attendance.

The 2.6 mill levy would generate $290,000 annually.

Councilor Jon Schamp told the council the city must budget 100 percent of the project, including monetary assistance from the state. The city will then record the state payments as they are received.

Approval of a new city pool had taken a circuitous route since the original pool closed in 2009 due to deteriorating conditions. Grass-roots efforts, such as the non-profit group New Pool 4 Wauseon, attempted to raise private and business donations to finance a project. Attempts to greenlight a plan were waylaid, however, by seemingly endless debate over where the pool should be located and, if indeed, citizens actually wanted to support one.

The results of a survey distributed by the city last September showed approval for the project.

Resolutions required for the ballot process will be introduced during two City Council meetings in July. At a July 10 Finance Committee meeting City Law Director Tom McWatters III suggested the council might want to schedule a public hearing on the proposed legislation.

In department reports:

• Regional Planning Director David Wright said he is advertising notice of intent for request for release of downtown revitalization grant funds for the private rehabilitation portion. Wright said the request would be included in the agenda of Tuesday’s Fulton County Commissioners meeting, and would have to meet state approval.

He said once the funds are released he will continue working with Sunshine Communities and Edgar-Grisier Funeral Home, two downtown entities that have expressed interest in rehabilitation projects.

Wright said a Target of Opportunity grant application through the Community Development Block Grant program to upgrade portions of the Wauseon Public Library is still pending. Pursuit of the grant was encouraged due to deterioration of the library’s foundation, which threatens operation.

• First Assistant Fire Chief Phil Kessler announced that a fundraiser for a July 3 fireworks show at Tiny’s Dairy Barn was postponed over the weekend due to potentially severe weather. The new date is June 21, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Fireworks are scheduled at dusk at Dorothy B. Biddle Park.

“We have been encouraging people to donate, as the donations have started to dwindle,” Kessler said. Donations can be made at the city fire station on Clinton Street or by visiting wauseonfire.com.

• Police Chief Keith Torbet reported that 64 children participated in the first session of Safety City. He also said there were 17 graduates of the recent Police Youth Academy.

• Code Administrator Tom Hall told the council that two downtown businesses have received approval for projects. Sullivan’s Restaurant will erect a fence on the building’s south side in anticipation of constructing an outdoor patio for rental. And Upper Crust Bakery was given permission to change its building exterior; the business is seeking approval for an interior project.

• According to Public Service Director Dennis Richardson, replacement of a digester lid at the city’s Water Reclamation Plant is proceeding. He said a biosolids study being conducted for the plant should be completed in January.

Richardson also said a notice to proceed on the Shoop Avenue water tower aeration project has been issued to the contractor.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has encumbered grant funds totaling $1,658,400 toward the Linfoot Street redevelopment project. An agreement has been signed with the project’s general contractor, Vernon Nagel, Inc. of Napoleon.

The total cost of the street project is $2.4 million

• Law Director Tom McWatters said a resolution to be introduced at a July City Council meeting would transfer the city’s ball diamond properties to the Wauseon school district.

And Mayor Kathy Huner announced that the city’s former Strawberry Fest has been resurrected, and will be held Saturday, June 20, beginning at 11 a.m.

Huner expressed condolences to the family of Richard Batdorf, a former city councilor and the sports director for the INTV community access cable channel, who was also involved with numerous city organizations and associations.

Batdorf died June 9 at age 67.

“Rich was a huge advocate for Wauseon,” Huner said. “He graciously served the community with love and with pride. Our friend will be sadly missed but his contributions and loyalty toward our city will never be forgotten.”

Councilor Martin Estrada added, “He was a mentor to me. He sat on just about every board Wauseon had to offer.”

The City Council also approved:

• The second readings of four separate ordinances directing the city clerk to file copies of the following proposed charter amendments: “Directing the city clerk to file a copy of the proposed charter amendment revising the qualifications of a council member”; eliminating the acting mayor’s ability to vote twice on legislation, once as a councilor and once as mayor; eliminating reference to the city finance director in nominations and elections, since the position is appointed; and eliminating lack of qualifications as basis to remove a public official.

Each of the ordinances will be requested for placement by the Fulton County Board of Elections on the Nov. 3 ballot.

• Suspension of three readings and emergency passage of a resolution authorizing the mayor to grant a permanent and temporary easement to Rover Pipeline LLC to construct and maintain a gas pipeline across the city’s Rails to Trails bicycle path. It takes effect immediately.