Wauseon City Council gave a thumbs-up Monday to a network of U.S. and Ohio bicycle routes being proposed by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The council unanimously approved the first reading of a resolution supporting the project following a short presentation by Ellen Smith, deputy director of the Maumee Valley Planning Organization (MVPO). Smith told council members ODOT is proposing the statewide network of bicycle routes in response to a national initiative.
The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is leading the cause “so that one day you may be able to bike all the way from California to Washington, D.C.,” she said.
Smith said bicycling has increased about 24 percent among the U.S. population since 1998, and has become important to communities. She said bike routes can foster economic development, support local tourism, and help regions grow.
Designated State Bicycle Route 90, it would locally consist mainly of the established Wabash Cannonball Trail.
The proposed network through Ohio would not be a construction project to introduce new routes, Smith said. It would instead identify the best existing routes and designate them. ODOT is also interested in connecting those routes to other states and to larger cities within the state.
Smith said Wauseon is not being asked for financial support. She added that ODOT cannot mandate that involved communities place signage for their portion of the bicycle route, although the department itself has not committed to providing signage.
Originally proposed in 2015, the initial bicycle route network was reviewed by planning organizations in the state, whose suggestions were adapted. ODOT plans to gather resolutions of support from communities statewide, then apply with AASHTO to pursue the project.
In other business, Tree Commission member Rick Frey reported the group reviewed the city’s tree ordinance to gather a list of trees typically planted in order to update it. He also said it’s necessary to remove about 30 trees in the city.
In response to a question by Councilor Shane Chamberlin, Frey said current tree trimming in the city is being conducted by Toledo Edison.
In department reports:
* Police Chief Keith Torbet said the department has been denied a Justice Assistance Grant – Law Enforcement this year. “They had a little bit of money and a lot of requests for it,” he said.
Torbet said the grant is coveted because “that’s one of the few grants you can buy equipment with.”
He said the next “Coffee With A Cop” event is tentatively scheduled for Friday, Feb. 17, 7:30-8:30 a.m., at The Upper Crust Restaurant, 206 N. Fulton St.
* Public Service Director Dennis Richardson said a list of activities his department is involved with include a Wauseon school district project to interconnect a fiber cable route with the high school and other district buildings; lot-split applications within the Old Orchard subdivision; reviewing an agreement with MVPO for planning services for the city; and a draft form for the Phase 2 Environmental Report for property on West Chestnut Street.
Richardson also said the city will accept a base community pool bid of $894,941 submitted last fall by Astro Pools of Mansfield, Ohio. He said that pricing will extend to the present. The project architect will rebid for renovation of the city’s original pool house.
He said the city water plant has received Environmental Protection Agency approval for its carbon dioxide system, but the agency will have new regulations for contingency planning for water treatment systems.
Richardson also reported a water main break last week on Burr Road.
* Finance Director Jame Giguere said the city’s January income tax revenue increased 25 percent over the same time last year.
* Assistant Law Director Kevin Whitlock said Director Tom McWatters III is researching the city ordinance regarding smoking in public parks in consideration of a future proposal on the issue.
The City Council also suspended the rule of three readings and passed on emergency: a resolution accepting recommendations of the city’s Revolving Loan Fund and authorizing the mayor to enter into certain agreements; and a resolution authorizing the mayor to acknowledge receipt of an addendum to the county-wide Emergency Management Agency amended agreement.
The council entered into executive session to discuss personnel compensation. No action was taken.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.
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