MOUNT VERNON — In anticipation of warm weather, the city of Mount Vernon is preparing for many projects that will usher in outdoor fun.
“The Patriotic Memorial Committee has been meeting, and May 25, of course, is Memorial Day. That will be our annual memorial parade and ceremony on the square,” said Mayor Richard Mavis.
Mavis said letters will go out this week to parade participants from previous years, but the mayor requested anyone who does not receive a letter to contact his office.
“The letter basically identifies opportunities to enter into the parade. Memorial Day is approaching and plans are well in place for [the event],” he said.
The Memorial Day ceremony and parade will be Monday, May 25, at 10 a.m. The parade will stage on East High Street.
This week the city also sent out mailings regarding summer membership for the Hiawatha Water Park.
“This went out to everyone in Knox County who had children in the household; the message is that you can start purchasing the family pass memberships at the city auditor’s office,” said Mavis.
“We also, and I think this is an indication of the times, will be mailing out about 60 letters to people who applied for water park jobs and weren’t able to get them. We are hiring as many people as we have in the past, but we had so many more people apply,” he said.
Last year the city had about 20 people it could not hire; this year, the number has significantly increased, said Mavis. The city also saw an increase in adult applications compared to previous years in which it was mostly young adult to teenagers who would apply.
“However, we do keep a list of those that didn’t get hired at the beginning, so that as summer goes on and we have people who are not able to perform, we will hire [from that list],” said Mavis.
The city has also been preparing for a series of projects that were identified in the Community Development Block Grant.
“We had a lot of small projects in there, and among them is to pave the parking lot where the Hiawatha picnic pavilion is,” said Mavis. “We had put a handicap pad in there, but we are going to pave the whole parking lot. We will be able to focus the water into the drainage system we have, and it will also make less dust, dirt and mud when it rains.”
Another project the city is looking into for this spring is adding an additional parking lot to Hiawatha park.
“There is an area of woods that has never been developed, so we felt that on heavy days when the parking lot is full, we can create additional parking and maybe even shaded parking on [the portion of the wooded lot],” he said.
Along with this project, Mavis said the city is interested in the possibility of adding a small trail to the park.
The mayor discussed the intersection of Beech Street and Sychar Road, and the possibility of adding a traffic light.
“We have done traffic counts and the primary traffic action is on Beech Street turning right on Sychar Road, and Sychar left on Beech Street,” he said. “So last year we changed stripping and that helped.
“We are looking at making the radius bigger and improving that intersection. Ultimately it will require a traffic signal, at least during part of the day, but right now we are trying to make the traffic control devices suitable so we have safe passage through there.”
Although the traffic count is high for the intersection, he said, right now it doesn’t meet the required number to have a traffic light installed.
The CDBG also allows for building sidewalks on Sychar Road and Wooster Road.
“We are going to have two construction projects going on to build some sidewalk on Wooster Road where there is none presently, and we are trying to improve the pedestrian approach to the water park because we have a lot more kids walking to the pool,” said Mavis. “That is why it is necessary to improve sidewalk access.”
Another project will be the water line construction between Wooster Road and Vernonview Drive, after the bid is complete. The bid opens on April 17 for the waterline project.
“The sidewalk on Wooster Road is a part of the CDBG projects and the water line is part of this Vernonview, Wooster Road project. Although the construction will be around similar times, they are two different projects,” he said.
In other news:
•The city is continuing to work with the architect for the Foundation Park restroom project. The location has been determined and plans are made, and crews hope to have the project under way by mid summer.
•Mavis met Thursday with consultants from E.P. Ferris, civil engineers and surveyors, to discuss traffic patterns on outlying areas of Coshocton Road to Vernonview Drive, out to Upper Gilchrist Road and including the area of Yauger Road to Coshocton Road. This is the area of the proposed hospital road. Also discussed was a crossover road from Ohio 229 to Coshocton Road by way of Eastern Star Road, to Gambier Road then to Upper Gilchrist to Coshocton Road. Another area discussed was the intersection between Yauger Road, Vernonview Drive and Eastwood Drive.
•With the construction project going on Gay Street, there will be days where both lanes will be closed. Mavis explained that on one day last week the traffic was gridlocked. Both lanes being closed, he said, will only happen periodically; it will not be continuing throughout the duration of the project. As the project develops, he said, the city’s engineering department is going to try to work more closely with the construction project scheduler so that times will be known when both lanes of Gay Street will be closed. He also said a police officer will be at Ohio Avenue during those times to help control traffic, and parking at those times will be restricted.
•Geoff Oliver, city public parks superintendent, reported to Mavis Memorial Park will open for the season immediately after the Easter egg hunt, slated for Saturday, April 11, at 10 a.m. The park is being kept closed to help prepare for the event.
•City engineer Cameron Keaton spoke with Mavis this week about bids for resurfacing streets, as well as the bid to demolish the old Connells building.
“Both bids should be out in the future,” said Mavis.
•Also discussed was the new drain cover system instituted this year by the federal government, which requires all public pools to be equipped with the new covers. Mavis said the covers have been received and installed, and Hiawatha Pool will have no problem opening on schedule.