MOUNT VERNON — Two residents spoke to Mount Vernon City Council Monday night, voicing their concern about the fate of a 100-year-old elm tree cut down during the curb and gutter repair of McKenzie Street.
Gary Curts, who lives on the northwest corner of McKenzie and Vine streets, said the tree was one of the things that made Mount Vernon special. He said figuring out a way to install a handicap accessible ramp at the crosswalk while leaving the tree intact would have made a good project for his physics students.
Marianne Bunch, 201 E. Vine St., showed council a picture demonstrating precedent has been set that sidewalks can be rerouted to accommodate existing conditions. She pointed out that because the area is a historic district, certain procedures have to be followed.
“We have to make the Historical Review Commission aware of any changes we want to make to our properties, but they were not even aware of this situation,” she said.
She also spoke about a lack of public notice of the tree removal and the street repair, noting residents were not notified until Nov. 3 or 4.
“It would be nice and polite if you sought public input first,” in order to maintain respect between the city and its citizens, she told council members.
Curts also spoke of the truck traffic on McKenzie Street.
“Trucks go north almost like McKenzie Street is the driveway to Ellis Brothers,” he said, noting again that the area is a historic district and No Thru Truck signs are posted. “I don't know how much money you’re spending on repairs, but those trucks are going to tear it up.”
He said when he called Ellis Brothers, he was told they had permission from council to go southbound on McKenzie Street.
Council President John Booth said that as far as he knew, council has given no special permission for the trucks to use the street. City Law Director Bill Smith said that in accordance with city ordinance, trucks going to or from a place of business are permitted to be on streets posted as No Thru Trucks.
In other business, council:
•Approved the appointment of James Brown and Adam Gilson for two- and three-year terms to the Shade Tree and Beautification Commission.
•Approved the reappointment of James K. Gibson to the Records Commission.
•Approved the paperwork allowing Safety-Service Director Dave Glass to apply for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money for replacing the methane boiler in the wastewater treatment plant.
•Gave a second reading to an ordinance which allows the hiring of temporary patrolmen and firefighters in the event an individual is off for an extended period of time due to illness, vacation, injury, military leave or unpaid leave.
•Gave a first reading to a revised ordinance allowing the city to issue bonds to pay for improving the wastewater system. Specifically, work to be done is relining the Kokosing interceptor, which runs from South Main Street to the wastewater plant, and the Center Run interceptor, which runs from Center Run to the wastewater plant. Because of infiltration and inflow of surface water into the system, the pipes need to be relined to meet Ohio EPA requirements. The revised ordinance includes language for issuance of Build America Bonds.
In other comments, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis reminded council of a public hearing held Tuesday at First Church of the Nazarene. Members of the Ohio Department of Transportation were on hand to provide information about the widening of Coshocton Avenue, slated for 2012. The project includes safety improvements from Sychar Road to TSC, including a traffic signal at TSC, and the widening of the road from the Center Run bridge to Shalimar Drive.
Mavis said the Amateur Radio Club requested permission to use an old squad no longer in service by the city's fire department. The administration and fire department are supportive of the request. The ARC will pay the insurance and maintain the vehicle while using it; when it is no longer used by ARC, the city will take back the squad. If the city needs the squad in the meantime, the city can ask for it back.
Mavis reminded council of the Veterans Day ceremony scheduled for today at 11 a.m. on Public Square. Council members thanked those who have or are serving in the armed forces. Councilman John Fair said prayers and condolences go out to the servicemen and women at Fort Hood, Texas, in the wake of the recent shooting.
Fair also complimented the city crews on the fine job they’re doing with leaf pickup. Councilman Mike Hillier reminded homeowners it is their responsibility to rake their leaves and clean up their yard.
Councilman Chuck Dice noted the local VFW Post 4027 recently raised $5,559.30 through a raffle and sale of sandwiches, baked items and donated items. The money will go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer fund.