Hospital growth affects sidewalk project

By David J. Coehrs -

For emphasis, Wauseon Police Chief Keith Torbet obscured his face behind one of the new “No Smoking” signs to be placed in city parks.

For emphasis, Wauseon Police Chief Keith Torbet obscured his face behind one of the new “No Smoking” signs to be placed in city parks.

An ongoing discussion by Wauseon City Council regarding sidewalk installation on a quarter-mile strip of Leggett Street continued Monday with news that nearby hospital expansion will limit the project.

Councilor Rick Frey reported that during a recent Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting, Fulton County Health Center officials revealed possible plans in two years to expand the campus. The project would include the south side of Leggett Street at Shoop Avenue.

Under those circumstances, “Sidewalks on the south side wouldn’t be feasible at this time,” Frey said.

The city has considered placing sidewalks along both sides of Leggett Street from Shoop Avenue to Wauseon Primary School. At a previous City Council meeting, resident April Petz urged the members to install the sidewalks as a matter of safety. She said motorists driving along the quarter-mile strip routinely ignore the posted speed limit, posing a hazard to pedestrians and people living in a nearby subdivision.

Frey said the city’s Public Works Department has been asked to survey the north side of the street and provide a cost estimate to install sidewalks.

The council voted 6-0 to accept a recommendation by the Street Committee to boost the safety of residents using the city’s bicycle path with motorist warnings where the path crosses Shoop Avenue. Frey said the committee suggested including painted crosswalk lines and signs with LED flashers at a cost of $1,700. He noted that present warning signage is not at recommended distances.

Council members also voted to eliminate parking on Glenwood Street north of Linfoot, and on Banister and Wagner streets. In a letter to the Street Committee, Police Chief Keith Torbet said adequate parking is available for developed properties on those streets, so street parking is unnecessary.

In department reports:

• Fire Chief Rick Sluder said the department is finishing up annual school inspections performed just prior to the beginning of the new school year.

• Chief Torbet said the annual Citizens Police Academy will begin Sept. 14, and will be held Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. He said four people have already registered for the academy which is limited to 15 persons. Interested parties can contact the police department for an application.

He displayed one of 23 “No Smoking” signs to be placed in city parks. A new city ordinance prohibits smoking beyond the parks’ parking lots.

The signs were donated by the Fulton County Healthy Choices Caring Communities organization, which initially suggested the ban on smoking.

Torbet also reminded citizens that the new school year begins Wednesday, Aug. 16, and that city traffic patterns will be altered.

“Remember, the traffic pattern changes even if you don’t have kids in school,” he said. “It definitely changes an hour before school and an hour after, so you’re going to have to take that into consideration when you’re getting around town.”

• Public Service Director Dennis Richardson said the community pool project is currently ahead of schedule. Work is progressing on foundations for the buildings and and on sub-surface concrete areas.

Richardson said the city has accepted bids for a street paving project. He said all but one street planned for the project will be paved by a September deadline.

He said Superior Street will be excluded due to plans to install a water line there. Richardson said because the ground must settle after that project is completed it would be counterproductive to also pave the street. Instead, Francis, Doris, and Virginia drives will be paved.

Superior Street paving will be delayed until at least next year, he said.

Richardson also reported that an open air shelter will be constructed near the midget football field in Dorothy B. Biddle Park.

And he said Josh Reckner has been named assistant supervisor of Public Works.

• Finance Director Jamie Giguere said city income tax revenue was up nine percent in July from the same time last year.

• Law Director Tom McWatters III told the council a woods trail project in Homecoming Park is nearing completion.

Mayor Kathy Huner shared with council members a letter received by Fulton County Sheriff Roy Miller thanking the city’s first responders for assisting during the recent shooting of Deputy Jeremy Simon in Delta. A suspect, Jeshua Gilmore, was later taken into custody by Toledo police following a Crime Stopper tip and transported to the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio in Stryker.

Huner said the sheriff is “very grateful for everybody assisting and everybody working together in Fulton County.”

Wauseon City Council also approved:

• The first reading of a resolution authorizing the mayor, through the Maumee Valley Planning Organization, to advertise for and enter into contract with the lowest bidder for construction of Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant ramps along Fulton Street.

• The first reading of an ordinance amending Section 505.17 of the city’s codified ordinances to permit dogs on a leash and away from playground areas in Homecoming Park.

• The suspension of three readings and emergency passage of the amendment of Codified Ordinance Chapter 1117, establishing districts and maps and amending the official zoning map.

• A motion scheduling Halloween trick or treating in the city on Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 6-7:30 p.m.

For emphasis, Wauseon Police Chief Keith Torbet obscured his face behind one of the new “No Smoking” signs to be placed in city parks. emphasis, Wauseon Police Chief Keith Torbet obscured his face behind one of the new “No Smoking” signs to be placed in city parks.

By David J. Coehrs

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.