West Unity Village Council heard at their regular meeting on Thursday, April 25 that, at this time, The Ohio Turnpike Commission (OTC) will not be granting the Village’s request for an interchange at U.S. Highway 127. The letter turning down the request comes from an initial inquiry sent to the Commission by Village Administrator Ric Beals at Council’s request.
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Reasons given by OTC include the proximity the interchange would have with the service plaza as well as a cost benefit analysis that takes into account the cost of project as well as the ability for such a ramp to generate new traffic. The OTC estimate is that the project would cost between $7 million and $10 million. Due to the current traffic volumes at Interchanges 13 and 25, the OTC does not believe that the cost would be worthwhile because they don’t foresee an additional interchange off of 127 as being able to generate much new traffic.
Despite the original objection by OTC, council remains optimistic about the possibility of such an interchange at a later date. Council Member Donavon Leu noted that the rejection letter is actually beneficial to the Council and explained “we knew that this was going to be a long term project and that we would probably be told ‘no’ the first time through. The letter tells us what we need to look at and will help us proceed.” The rest of the Council seemed to agree with Leu’s optimism that the rejection letter might actually serve as a tool. Council Member Dave Short concluded by saying “it’s easier to get someone to say yes after you know why they said no”.
Among areas of the rejection that Council intends to further investigate is that the projected OTC estimates seem high. Also, precedents have been set at other interchange locations that don’t seem to agree with the reasoning of OTC.
Beals reported during the meeting that Village employees have begun mowing for the year and that thus far 34 of the 55 trees the Village purchased have been planted. The remaining 21 will be given a little more time to grow. Also reported by Beals was that the Village has just received a 100% award at the Black Swamp Safety Council Awards. The reward comes for having no lost time accidents or injuries involving Village employees during 2012.
Beals would also like to remind residents that big trash pickup will run from Monday, May 13th through Thursday, May 16th. Residents should have their trash to the curb first thing that Monday. The Village will not pick up construction materials or any wood with nails or screw in it. They will also not pick up regular trash or oil. The Village will, however, pick up paint cans that are empty or have dry paint in them as well as tires with no rims in them. There will be a limit of two tires per household.
Police Chief J.R. Jones reported to council that the new Police cruiser, a 2013 Dodge Charger, has now been lettered and put into service.
It was also reported during the meeting that the collection of delinquent taxes continues to go well and that Taylor Wheeler, who works maintenance for the Village, has completed his six month probationary period and will be removed from probation and added as a full-time employee.