MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon City Council addressed two separate infrastructure issues Monday night concerning the Coshocton Avenue project and the crossover route from Ohio 229 to U.S. 36.
Council did approve a resolution to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the purchase of property and easements required for the Coshocton Avenue widening project. According to city Safety-Service Director David Glass, the city is responsible for the purchase of property and permission for easements that will include land for the installation of water drainage as well as property to widen the road as well as intersections. The preliminary estimates come in at $725,000, although City Auditor Terry Scott feels this is a high estimate.
ODOT will contact the property owners by letter about the procedure, according to Glass. Two appraisals are then completed with representatives from ODOT to meet with property owners to negotiate land purchases.
The money for easements will come from Tax Increment Financing District funds and not the city’s general fund, Glass said.
Fourth ward councilman John Fair expressed his concerns with the project before placing the only vote against the measure.
“I’m not sure the widening of this section (from Center Run east to the First Church of the Nazarene is going to help people get in and out of their property,” Fair said.
The redirection of traffic off of Coshocton Avenue during construction is another stumbling block for Fair as he fears traffic will move over to East High Street where he has expressed concerns for quite some time about the number of speeders.
“We have done both ends,” said Mike Hillier, councilman at large, “We will have a gooseneck in the middle. We can’t vote this down because of traffic on High Street.”
“It bottlenecks at Park Street,” said Fair. “There is no through truck route now. I’d support this now if there was a truck route with (U.S.) 36.”
The vote to pass the resolution was 6-1 with Fair casting the vote in opposition. The measure was passed as an emergency waiving the three required readings.