MOUNT VERNON — Despite hopes that it could be worked around, the large old tree at the corner of South McKenzie and East Vine streets will have to come down, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis said Friday. The curb and gutter improvement project taking place on McKenzie and McArthur streets will be remaking corner curbs to allow for handicap accessibility, but on this corner, the property owner had expressed a wish to keep the shade tree if possible.
Mavis said that not only federal ADA compliance but also a local accessibility ordinance make it impossible to keep the tree. In its place, the Shade Tree and Beautification Commission will plant some young shade trees on the property, but out of the way of the sidewalk. The sidewalk and crosswalk work will begin Monday.
Mavis said he and other city officials took part in a conference call with the Environmental Protection Agency this week regarding the $100,000 in stimulus funding made available to the city. The city hopes to use the money for a new methane boiler at the wastewater treatment plant. The awards should be announced by Dec. 10.
West High Street will be closed from 1 p.m. Monday through Wednesday from Adams Street to Norton Street for work on the railroad spur crossing. Detours will be necessary throughout the construction period, Mavis said, although access to local businesses will still be possible on either side of the track.
Joining the opening of city material bids this week were bids for city vehicles being sold.
“It must be because of the times, but there were a whole lot more bidders this year,” Mavis said.
Seven vehicles, a grass fire pump truck and a mowing tractor were sold. The grass fire pump truck was a 1978 Ford with water pumping capabilities. Twelve bidders submitted bids, with the winner pledging $3,019. A 2005 Chevrolet Impala former police cruiser received seven bids, ultimately going for $2,239, while a 1995 jeep got seven bids, ranging from as low as $50 up to the winning bid of $629. The highest price went to a 2007 Chevy Impala, whose eight bids topped out at $4,126.
Mavis said that next week, city department heads would meet with him, City Auditor Terry Scott and Safety-Service Director Dave Glass to begin budget hearings for 2010. Mavis said that although tax revenues are down somewhat, and although everyone recognizes that 2010 will be a tight budget year for the city, Mavis said he didn’t want to suggest panic by any means.
“This year we were able to get most of our projects completed without making drastic cuts,” Mavis said.
He said the local economy has withstood the recession well and that conserving and spending carefully will continue to be the city’s focus.
Leaf pickup for this year doesn’t officially begin until next week, although Mavis said crews have already been out picking up the recent sudden fall of a vast amount of leaves. Three units will be running, with schedules posted in the News and on the city of Mount Vernon Web site (pdf). Mavis asked for people to try not to park in those areas where leaves need to be picked up.
Thursday will be the public hearing date for the Clean Ohio application the city is making for funds to help clean up the old American National Can industrial site. After this public hearing, the application will be complete and will be submitted. The city should hear by early 2010 whether it received the $289,000 grant.
On Nov. 10, there will be a public meeting in the Family Life Center of the First Church of the Nazarene on Coshocton Avenue from 4 to 6 p.m. regarding the safety project widening Coshocton Avenue, Mavis said.
Mavis said that after meetings with the Greater Downtown Management Council, the city-owned parking lot at the northeast corner of West Vine and South Mulberry streets will need to be cleaned up and monitored so it isn’t used for all-day parking.
The curb on the north-bound lane by the firehouse has been widened to make it “a little more driver friendly,” Mavis said, although he said it may still be less than ideal for larger trucks.
Mavis said the city is holding back on a project to install a fountain and a slide at the “kiddy pool” section of the public pool. The project was originally slated for 2009, but was delayed until 2010 for budgetary reasons. Mavis expects it will be back on track in the new year.