MOUNT VERNON — On Monday, City Council gave the administration approval to enter into negotiations to buy land to further develop Foundation Park. The four parcels total 3.116 acres.
The land lies adjacent to the park, on the eastern edge of what is called East Lake. It involves the abandoned railroad bed that runs from Centerburg to south of The Station Break.
“As part of the development of Foundation Park, we felt we needed the land to join the Kokosing Gap Trail with the Heart of Ohio Trail,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis.
Mavis said the land has been appraised, and the money is available for the purchase.
Council authorized Safety-Service Director Dave Glass to submit an application for money from the Community Housing Improvement Program. CHIP money is used in areas of low- to moderate-income neighborhoods where housing units are in need of repair.
Glass said the area targeted is on the west side of the city, west of Mansfield Avenue and south of Tilden Avenue. He said some of the money will be used for infrastructure projects such as repairing water and sewer lines. Councilman Mike Hillier requested consideration of curb replacement on West High Street.
According to Mavis, the money will be available late this year, but repairs will not begin until 2011.
Councilman Chuck Dice asked that when the time comes, if extra effort could be made to notify residents who could potentially benefit from the grant money. He said oftentimes he has heard residents say they did not know of the program until after it was completed.
Applications will be processed through Knox County Metropolitan Housing. People can begin applying in early 2011.
Glass was also authorized to bid a contract for the environmental assessment of the former American National Can site. The assessment will be paid for through a $299,000 grant received from Clean Ohio funds. The assessment does not obligate the city to clean up the site, nor does the city assume any type of interim ownership while the assessment is being completed. Glass said results of the analysis will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency for approval.
Two ordinances were passed which set salaries for various administrative positions, retroactive to Jan. 1. Salaries include safety-service director, $71,530; police chief, $65,550; police captain, $61,200; fire chief, $66,375; assistant fire chief, $62,030; assistant law director, $55,334; street superintendent, $51,009; income tax administrator, $50,772; development service manager, $45,873; city engineer, $73,202; parks, public buildings and land supervisor, $51,009; treatment and distribution administration, $60,730; and office and customer service administrator, $46,480.
Councilwoman Nancy Vail said the salaries were recommended following completion of employee reviews.
In other business, council adopted an ordinance which amends portions of the city’s traffic code, and voted unanimously against vacating Kokosing Avenue, located off South McKenzie Street in what is known as Elmwood Place. Council declined to vacate the alley because city utility lines run under the alley.
In other remarks, Mavis encouraged residents to complete and return their census forms, as grant money is distributed based on a formula which includes population; noted it was Severe Weather Week and sirens would be tested Wednesday at 9:50 a.m.; said hours for the water park would remain the same as in years past; and reported the Braddock Street bridge repair and the sidewalk/drain project on Sychar Road were ready to bid.
Hillier said now that spring was here, residents should look to cleaning up their yards. Some yards still have leaves left from last fall. He said The Station Break’s chore program was available for seniors age 60 and over who may need assistance with trash cleanup.
At Hillier’s request, City Engineer Cameron Keaton spoke about Ohio Department of Transportation’s interest in the proposed South Sandusky Street bridge project. He said ODOT encouraged the city to apply for a $200,000 to $250,000 engineering grant to assess traffic patterns on the South Sandusky corridor.
Councilman Bruce Hawkins said Eastside residents were still having problems with water spurts in their pipes. Glass said it may be due to air in the lines, and that city crews are trying to bleed the lines. He also noted council members will be at Sip’s Coffee House on April 3 at 8:30 a.m. for their monthly meeting with constituents.
Councilman John Fair said city crews were working on patching potholes, and asked residents’ patience. Glass said hot mix usually begins to be used the second week in April.
Councilman Jay Maners urged caution now that spring is here and children are out and about on the streets.
Vail requested surveillance on Coshocton Avenue, west of the shopping plaza, and on Teryl and Vernedale drives as motorists are exceeding the speed limits. She also encouraged anyone who would like to donate money to sponsor a pool membership for a deserving child should contact the city auditor’s office.