MOUNT VERNON — The city of Mount Vernon is looking ahead.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis and other city officials met with officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation this week to discuss the Coshocton Avenue widening project and safety project, which is expected to begin in 2012.
The projects were combined to help alleviate approximately $200,000 in costs for the city, as ODOT will pay for the engineering work. The widening project will add a center turn lane to the street between Center Run bridge and Shalimar Drive. The city will be responsible for costs associated with the right of way needed, but the federal government’s Small Cities Program will pay 80 percent of the nearly $2 million in construction costs. The project will include a turn lane, sidewalks, curbs and drainage.
The second part of the project will be the safety project, one that ODOT is looking hard at because of the high number of traffic accidents on the street. The project will include changing curb access to several businesses on the street and possibly things like traffic signals and other safety issues between Sychar Road and TSC.
“That area of Coshocton Road has the highest rate of accidents. The state’s really pushing the safety issue because every time they look at the stats, the number of accidents really jump out at them,” Mavis said.
The safety portion of the project will be funded primarily by a federal grant. The city will be required to pay 10 percent of the total cost, which is estimated at just over $300,000. Mount Vernon will be responsible for $388,000 of the construction project.
Because much of the construction project will be in a residential area, ODOT and city officials will hold a meeting with residents sometime later this fall to discuss plans. Mavis hopes to have the final plans and bidding finished in the late fall of 2011, with construction beginning the following spring.
Another project on the east end of the city is also gearing up. Final design plans on the connector road between Coshocton Avenue and Yauger Road are expected to be finished by the end of the year, with bidding early next year, Mavis said.
Questions from officials at Knox Community Hospital have been discussed and Mavis feels they are ready to get the project under way. Part of the project will impact the northeast corner of the Lowe’s property, and officials from the company have told Mavis they won’t be able to determine if there are any problems until the final design plans are completed.
Both the connector road and the widening projects are in a TIF district, which will help the city with funding, Mavis said.
The city will be beefing up security and doing other things to combat problems that have arisen at the Hiawatha Water Park/Pool and Riverside Park. Mavis said there were two break-ins at the pool recently, and vandals continue to assault the fence around the playground at Riverside Park.
There will also be new signs placed near the entrances to Foundation Park, thanks to donations from Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, Mavis said. The clubs have agreed to purchase the signs, which will be similar to those in downtown, to denote the entrances on Columbus Road and Harcourt Road.
Mavis also noted the top and bottom floors of the plaza parking garage will be open for parking during the Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival next week. The alley that leads to the bottom level will allow two-way traffic during the festival since the square is closed.
Mavis said all three levels should be open around the end of August and that work on the parapet walls will be concluded sometime around the end of September.