MOUNT VERNON — The city and Heritage Centre Association have been working on plans for this year’s First Friday events, according to Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis.
Mavis said Friday they have talked about the impact the Gay Street construction project will have on First Fridays during the summer months. The construction is expected to start in March, and will have sections of Gay Street closed until approximately August. That will force traffic onto South Main Street, some of which is usually closed to traffic during the First Friday events.
The First Friday in July will not be affected as plans were already made to move the event to Memorial Park in conjunction with the city’s fireworks. But, that still leaves May, June and possibly August or even September, Mavis said.
Mavis said HCA is planning on using Vine Street between South Main and Mulberry streets for its First Fridays in May and June; that block will be closed to traffic. The parking lot next to Eagles on South Mulberry Street will also be used for activities.
“Hopefully, we’ll have the project finished by Aug. 7,” Mavis said. “We’re going to meet with the contractor soon and try to have some compatibility with First Fridays and his schedule.”
Mavis also met with the pool administration committee this week and discussed the opening of the waterpark/pool. Because Mount Vernon has calamity days to make up at the end of the school year and there won’t be enough lifeguards available, the city is pushing back the opening day for the pool. It is now tentatively scheduled to open on June 8 at 4 p.m. It will also be open June 9 from 4 to 7:45 p.m., then, on June 10, begin opening at noon.
Mavis said the city is continuing to work on potholes in the streets around the city and is well stocked with salt for the next storm. The city has purchased 1,000 tons of salt at $54 per ton, which is up from the $38 per ton price of a year ago.
“We’ve used a lot more salt. This severe winter has called for it,” Mavis said. “And I know we’re being criticized for the potholes. ... We’re working every day on the chuck holes, when weather permits.”
One thing Mavis noted about the potholes this year is they seem to be coming up in layers. The top layer is coming off an inch or two — still deep enough to rattle the cars — but not deep enough for the cold mix asphalt to stay well. The city has been using rollers to try to get the cold mix to fill and remain in the holes better.
The city is also looking at when to purchase the hot mix that usually becomes available later in the spring. Right now, oil prices are down, so Mavis and street department officials are looking at when to bid on the mix. The city, which has about 100 miles of asphalt roads, is expecting to spend about $350,000 to resurface streets again this year.
In other news:
•Mavis met with representatives of Columbia Gas of Ohio. The company is preparing to install a new natural gas pipeline up Columbus Road through Foundation Park and up Norton Street to Rolls-Royce. The project is not expected to affect service, but they will be digging up some areas along Columbus Road and Norton Street, which may affect traffic. It’s expected to start sometime in March and will take approximately six weeks to complete.
•Mavis also met with the fire chief and captain about a long-term strategy for the placement of a fire station on the east end of the city. Several locations were discussed.
•Mavis and Safety-Service Director Dave Glass are in the process of evaluating the department heads.