MOUNT VERNON — The city of Mount Vernon got some bad news as far as one project is concerned, but may have found another way of solving the issue.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis said the city received its official rejection letter on the application it submitted for a federal national brownsfield grant to clean up the old American National Can property. The city had applied to the federal EPA for $400,000 for the project, but was turned down. Mavis said the letter recommended the city resubmit in November when the next round of grants is issued.
But, Mavis said, the city recently discovered it is now eligible to submit a grant application to the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund because of the economy and jobless rate in the county. The state grant would be worth up to $300,000 for the assessment of a derelict industrial site like the ANC property. It is not a matching grant, which means the city would not have to put any of its own funds toward the project.
Mavis said 83 counties in Ohio, including Knox, were recently named as priority investment areas; this made the city eligible to apply for the grant. If the city receives the grant, it would then be eligible for cleanup funds as well.
“This new classification is helpful in us achieving the funds to try and do the project,” Mavis said.
The city will apply for this new grant and, if successful, will not reapply for the federal grant in the fall.
One project that is already under way in the city is the plaza building improvements. Mavis said the roof is approximately 50 percent complete; this coming week, work will begin on the floor repairs.
“When that starts, there will be some inconveniences for those who park in the plaza building,” Mavis said.
In other news,
•A new digital traffic light will be placed at the intersection of Gay Street and Ohio Avenue. There will be stop signs placed on both those streets beginning Monday for at least two or three days while the work is being completed.
•Mavis said the pothole patching is nearly 80 percent completed in the city.
•Geoff Oliver and the city parks department will work on the new trail at Foundation Park this week. A summer crew will put a gravel coating on the trail this summer, then it will be open to the public.
•The water line on Gay Street is completed and bacteria tests were conducted Friday. Mavis said the street improvement project is still pretty much on schedule for a finish in early August.
•The pool will be offering swimming lessons again this year. The office will be open May 26 through 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. for residents to sign up for the lessons. Also, workers have begun filling the pool and next week the equipment will be started to make sure there are no problems before the opening on June 8. Once that is completed, a lifeguard class will be offered.
•Mavis said the city is placing flowers on the square today and that the flags will be in place prior to Memorial Day.
•A traffic pattern study was recently completed on Teryl Drive between Hillcrest and Marita drives. The study determined there were more than 3,400 vehicles traveling that road in a 24-hour period. Many were going faster than the posted speed limit of 25 mph. Mavis said he would share that information with the police chief and try to get some police surveillance there.
•Mavis, city engineer Cameron Keaton and safety-service director Dave Glass visited the area near Riverside Park recently. The trio was checking on the crosswalk that goes from the park across High Street to the Corner Shack, to see what can be done to make it more visible for drivers.
“We’re going to paint more visible stripes and put extra signage up. We will consider a flashing light. It’s a busy place, especially in the summer when kids use it,” Mavis said.
•Mavis reported city code enforcement officer Larry Fogle is beginning to send out letters to those in violation of high grass and trash ordinances in the city.
“We’re notifying them if they do not act, we will mow and then put it on their taxes,” Mavis said.