Wauseon City Council Hears Plans For New Bike Route Possibility

The Wauseon City Council entertained a presentation by Ellen Smith, Deputy Director of the Maumee Valley Planning Organization, at their February 6th meeting. Smith informed council about the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) proposed project to designate state and US bike routes throughout Ohio.

“The reason that ODOT is deciding to designate a network of state and US bike routes is because they are responding to a national initiative to designate these routes,” she said.

The national initiative, led by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, hopes to connect various bike paths from city to city and state to state to one day make it possible to bike from California to Washington, D.C.

Smith cited that biking has increased 24 percent since 1998 and the activity fosters economic development, supports local tourism, and helps regions grow. Locally, ODOT is seeking to designate Ohio Bicycle Route 90, which is mostly made up of the Wabash-Cannonball Trail (which runs through the city) and some county roads in Williams County where the trail ends.

Smith stressed that a resolution of support would place no financial burden on the city and no additional ODOT construction would be completed. The only change would be the possibility of sign placement once the route is designated.

“The purpose is to find the best routes today, as is, and designate those,” Smith said.

In response, council passed Resolution 2017-04- Supporting the designation of proposed state bicycle routes by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

In committee reports, Councilor Rick Frey reported that the Tree Commision is in the process of reviewing several city ordinances and a list of trees typically planted in the city to potentially update and add to. He also added that the Tree City USA awards will be held in Lakeside, OH in April and there are 25-30 trees to be removed in the city this winter. He also stressed that tree trimming seen locally in recent weeks has been contracted by Toledo-Edison, not the city.

In department head reports, Police Chief Keith Torbet updated council on the department’s recent grant applications, saying they were denied for the Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant, funding they typically receive every two to three years.

Chief Torbet also reminded council of the next “Coffee With a Cop” event to be held on February 17th from 7:30-8:30 AM at The Upper Crust.

Public Service Director Dennis Richardson reported that his department working on numerous projects, including: working with Wauseon Schools to interconnect a fiber cable line to the high school and other district buildings, and reviewing the city’s agreement with the Maumee Valley Planning Organization planning services and a draft form of a Phase 2 Environmental Report for a property on West Chestnut Street.

Richardson also announced the acceptance of Astro Pool’s (Mansfield, OH) $894,941 bid for the city’s community pool project. Although bids were solicited last fall, the company’s bid will extend to today. The project’s architect, Duket Architects Planners of Toledo, will reopen the bidding process for the restoration of the city’s bath house at the Reighard Park site.

Also of note is the progress on the Water Reclamation Plant’s biosolids handling project, where the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to re-inspect the carbon dioxide system after new standards were released following previous approval of the system. The plant is also working a few bugs out of their computer system, Richardson said.

Upcoming summer projects include an evidence room expansion for the police department and the moving of various city departments. “Things are hopping,” Richardson expressed.

Finance Director Jamie Giguere reported that income tax to the city is up 25 percent from January of the previous year. She also announced plans to form a committee to develop a wellness program for city employees with a goal of getting city employees a little healthier and ultimately decrease insurance premiums.

Assistant Director of Law Kevin Whitlock said the police department is working with Director Thomas McWatters III to visit an ordinance regarding smoking in the city’s parks.

Council also voted to suspend the rules and declare an emergency on:

Resolution 2017-05- Accepting the recommendations of the Revolving Loan Fund; authorizing the mayor to enter into certain agreements, and

Resolution 2017-060- Authorizing the mayor to acknowledge receipt of an addendum to the amended agreement for a county-wide Emergency Management Agency.

Both resolutions received final passage.

After approving payment of the bills and entering into executive session to discuss personnel compensation, no further action was taken.

The next meeting is scheduled for February 20th at 5:00 pm in Council Chambers.

Cory Johnson may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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