West Unity Village Council Hears Details Of Possible Trail Acquisition

Members of the West Unity Village Council heard some of the details regarding the possible acquisition of two miles of 100 foot wide trail near the village. Such trails are often used by runners, walkers, bikers, and horse riders. The trail is part of the 65 miles of trails commonly known as the Wabash Cannonball corridor and connects to longer trails in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Village would acquire the trail for a negligible amount of funds from the Northwestern Ohio Rails-to-Trails association (NORTA). This acquisition would put the Village of West Unity in a partnership with other trail owners, including the City of Wauseon. The partnership must approve any improvements to the trail made by the Village and, in return, the Village would maintain a voice in other partners’ improvements as well. While Mayor Peggy Bernath noted that she believes the acquisition of the trail would be a positive for West Unity, Councilor Ron Hausch did voice some concern regarding liability. After hearing the information provided at the meeting, council approved a resolution allowing the Mayor and Village Administrator Ric Beals to continue discussion with NORTA regarding the acquisition.

Other legislative matters addressed by council included the third and final reading of a resolution showing council’s support of the levy being asked for by the Millcreek-West Unity School District to fund a security officer. It was again noted that the amount being asked for is not the actual wages of the officer currently in place but, rather, the maximum amount it could cost for such an officer.

An ordinance declaring the old 100,000 gallon water tower as an asset no longer needed by the Village was also passed. It has been found that the new 300,000 gallon tower is enough to serve the purposes of the Village and that the cost of upkeep outweighs the benefits of keeping the tower in use. Passage of the ordinance will eventually allow the Village to accept bids to dismantle the tower.

In his report, Village Administrator Ric Beals informed council that Tim Fry won the bid for tree and stump removal and will begin shortly, the 1983 sump truck was sold to Bob Turner for $3050, the Oak Street fire pump passed the annual fire inspection, the CCNO work crew has recently painted the interior of the old shelter house, and that the Village recently saw a demonstration of a Durapatcher that might be used for pot hole repair. It was recently learned that the Village is now also responsible for repairs along state and federal highways so such a piece of equipment might be useful. Beals will be speaking with other nearby villages and cities who own the equipment to seek advice. He will also be working to provide Council with estimates regarding an emergency generator for the Village as well as be attending a non-public meeting for village and county officials regarding the proposed countywide county wide Code Red Emergency Alert System.

Towards the end of the meeting Councilor Don Leu revisited the idea of having exits off of the toll road in West Unity, a project he thought might be in line with other projects being funded through Turnpike bond funds. Mayor Peggy Bernath noted that she recently addressed this at a Mayors’ meeting and was informed by Turnpike Director Rick Hodges that West Unity will not be able to receive such an exit due to lack of space which carries with it safety concerns, the lack of need due to other nearby exits, and lack of sufficient traffic.

Council moved into executive session for the purpose of discipline of a Village employee with no further action being anticipated.

The next meeting of the West Unity Village Council will be held on Thursday, May 8 at 7:30 pm in Council Chambers.

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