Wauseon City Council on Monday discussed downtown and Dorothy B. Biddle Park development, and said goodbye to the Fulton County official instrumental in pushing forward downtown revitalization.
The council unanimously approved the third and final readings of separate resolutions authorizing Mayor Kathy Huner to enter into contracts with Ehrsam Excavating of Delta and with Bruce Ernst Asphalt of Wauseon, the latter of which will apply a cold mix process to several parking areas at Biddle Park. Both resolutions will take effect in 30 days.
Fulton County Regional Planning Director David Wright told the council that by next week he will have processed seven of nine applications submitted for Wauseon downtown revitalization projects through the Community Development Block Grant program. The city was awarded $270,000 in private rehabilitation grant money.
“So that makes me feel good that we’re looking like we’re going to get through that $270,000 worth of private rehab,” he said.
Wauseon building and business owners have submitted the applications to improve building facades.
The revitalization process will also involve the installation downtown of Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant crosswalks and intersections. Wright told the council estimates for those projects from Peterman and Associates, a Findlay engineering and planning firm, were well below what he had considered.
The ADA-compliant work will be funded with Revolving Loan Funds from Wauseon and Fulton County.
He said new benches and trash receptacles ordered for the downtown area should arrive within the next four to six weeks. Previous benches have been removed and relocated along the city bicycle path and park walking trails.
Wright, who will resign from his county position July 1, thanked the city council for an amicable working relationship.
“I appreciate all the graciousness that Wauseon has shown me, and the trust. Some of the programs that I’ve worked through – they’re not the easiest. But you folks have been very, very nice to work with, and I do appreciate it,” he said.
He began the position in December of 2012.
Tree Commission member Jeff Stiriz reported no response yet from the Oklahoma City National Memorial about whether Wauseon can secure tree seedlings from the Survivor Tree. The American Elm tree survived the 1995 truck bomb attack of a federal building in downtown Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.
Seedlings from the symbolic tree, which have since been sent to communities across the United States, were requested by commission member Kim Bowles.
Stiriz also said Bowles found a free computer download, iTrees, to keep an inventory of the city’s trees. Additionally, the commission will swear in Larry Frey as the newest member, and will search for grant money to pay for tree plantings in Biddle Park.
The city’s Park Board met June 14. Public Works Superintendent Dave Murry reported then that a gazebo will be constructed in Biddle Park following state approval of its design.
In department reports:
• Fire Chief Rick Sluder said the department submitted contracts regarding fire protection to five outlying townships and has received responses from three of them. He said negotiations will continue.
He said fundraising for the city’s Fourth of July fireworks show has gone well, and should fully fund the presentation.
• Police Chief Keith Torbet said there will be traffic restrictions at Biddle Park during the fireworks show. He said visitors who leave the show out of the park’s north entrance should continue north, and those going out the south entrance should continue south.
“That’s the only way to get the people out of there in time,” Torbet said. “They need to take the country mile, take a few extra minutes. Relax, you’ll get out of there in plenty of time.”
The park will be closed 10 minutes prior to the fireworks, he advised.
Torbet told the council four of seven community cameras recently purchased through a government grant have been installed, two around the Linfoot Street project. The remainder will be in operation soon, and all will have recording mechanisms.
And he reported there were 13 graduates from the recent Youth Police Academy hosted by the department.
• Public Service Director Dennis Richardson said plans for a picnic shelter at Biddle Park have been approved.
He said no problems were reported following a May 25 Ohio Environmental Protection Agency inspection at the city’s water treatment plant.
A June 8 meeting with Arcadis, a Toledo consultant firm, was held at the Water Reclamation Plant about a biosolids study conducted, with recommendations forthcoming.
Richardson said the city Utility Committee must meet to make a decision regarding Fulton County’s request for a sanitary sewer system on Airport Highway.
And a civil service process is being conducted to fill positions in the Recreation Department and the Public Works Department and the water treatment plant.
The city council also approved the third and final reading of an ordinance granting Sara’s Garden application to rezone an eight-foot strip of property in Palmer’s Addition from B4 Community Mixed Use District to R3 Single Family Residential District. It takes effect in 30 days.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.