MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis got some promising news when it comes to the funding of a grant for the city.
The city received word in December it had been selected to receive a grant in 2011 or ’12 for walking trails along Foundation Park and the Kokosing River, but included was a stipulation that the money would depend on the economy. Mavis said he met with representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation this week, and they were very positive about the availability of funds for the park grant the city received.
“They felt the money would be available,” Mavis said. “They suggested we go through the process and get a consultant. It usually takes 18 months for that work, which would put us midway through 2010.”
The project, which has a preliminary estimated cost of around $2 million, would include a trail hub in Foundation Park and the pedestrian bridge across the Kokosing River. The hub would connect the proposed Heart of Ohio Trail out of Centerburg with the current Kokosing Gap Trail and a proposed Kokosing River Parkway that will run from Tilden Avenue to the dikeway trails.
Mavis said the funding of the project is similar to the one on South Main Street a few years ago. The city will have to get an estimate and pay its 20 percent share, and then the state would construct the project.
“We’re enthused that the district personnel believe the funds will be available,” Mavis said.
Mavis also said he heard from Bruce White, the chief executive officer for Knox Community Hospital, about the proposed connector road between Coshocton Avenue and Yauger Road. The city is considering building a connector road that would include the current entrances from both streets to the hospital; the hospital board had some questions before agreeing to the project.
White said the board would be willing to work with the city on developing the crossover road, but was concerned with the helipad, the retention pond and the value of the land, as well as some other issues.
“It looks like the hospital project might be viable,” Mavis said. “We’ll try to get the final design to them, explain how we’ll do it without interfering with access to the hospital.”
In other news,
•Mavis received word from the city’s income tax office that tax forms are now available online for city residents. Individual, business and/or withholding forms can now be completed by logging on to www.mountvernonohio.org. The letter also reiterated that the filing of a city income tax return by April 15 is mandatory for all city residents 18 years and older.
•Mavis reminded residents that there is no parking on emergency streets when there is 3 inches or more of snow. Residents are obliged to move their vehicles and find an alternative to parking so snowplows and salt trucks can get through.
•City officials are going to meet with fish specialists from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Jan. 28 to discuss ways to improve fishing at Foundation Park. Mavis said ODNR officials counted the fish and varieties this past year and they will be discussing the findings. Once they determine the number and variety of fish in the lakes, Mavis said they will discuss the possibility of making each lake fish specific, which will make it easier and better for fishermen.
•The letter from Buckeye Energy explaining the gas aggregate program is scheduled to be sent to city residents in the next week or so.
•Mavis reported the gates at Foundation Park are closed in the winter, just like all the other city parks, but that residents may park their vehicles outside the park and walk to the lakes for fishing or for the trails.