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Village to begin sidewalk repair

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Village Council took a first step toward implementing its village-wide sidewalk repair project at its March 5 meeting, with the approval of a resolution that allows Interim Village Manager Laura Curliss to solicit bids for repair and replacement of sidewalks on the east side of Xenia Avenue between Marshall Street and downtown.

“I applaud Council in taking a whole street approach,” said Curliss, who was in her first meeting as interim manager following the departure of former Manager Mark Cundiff. “This will be a great pedestrian improvement.”

Various Village Councils have discussed the need to repair village sidewalks over the years, but until now, no action was taken. Part of the holdup was linked to Council’s former policy that held property owners responsible for financing sidewalk repair, and the difficulties involved in carrying out that policy. However, last year Council decided that sidewalks, like roads, should be considered part of Village infrastructure and that the Village would foot the bill for repairs. Consequently, $50,000 was set aside in the 2012 Village Budget to begin making the repairs. The first goal is improving the east side of Xenia Avenue between the Friends Care Community and downtown, repairing broken sidewalks to make travel easier for those from the care center who may travel downtown in wheelchairs or scooters.

“The main goal is giving better accessibility to the Friends Care Community,” Village Assistant Planner Ed Amrhein said at the meeting.

The repairs will involve removing and replacing subpar sections of sidewalk between Marshall Street and the bike path, which involves about 4,642 square feet of sidewalk on Xenia Avenue and a few broken sections on the south side of East Limestone Street just off Xenia Avenue, according to a memo to Council from Curliss. New curb ramps will be installed at the northeast corner of Glen Street and Xenia Avenue, in front of Town Drug; the northeast corner of Corry Street and Xenia Avenue, in front of Subway; the northeast and southeast corners of east Limestone Street and Xenia Avenue; the northeast and southeast corners of Davis Street and Xenia Avenue; the southeast corner of Whiteman and Xenia Avenue; the northeast and southeast corners of North College Street and Xenia Avenue; and the northeast corner of Center College Street and Xenia Avenue. The curb ramp on the northwest corner of Limestone Street at Xenia Avenue will also be repaired.

In other Council meeting business:

• Council unanimously approved a resolution that authorizes payment of $26,136 to LJB Engineering for services rendered on the wastewater treatment plant upgrade after the contract period ended. The vote brought an end to a discussion that Council has had over several meetings, including discussion with LJB engineer John Eastman. In presenting the issue, Curliss referred to a previous memo by Cundiff, who made the recommendation to approve the payment at Council’s last meeting.

LJB had requested that the Village pay $46,930 for extra work on the wastewater plant that mainly took place after the Village’s original contract with the firm had ended in May. The extra expense, which was above the $198,000 the Village had originally contracted to pay LJB, was for several unanticipated “punch list” items by the project’s two main contractors for the project, and was presented to Council in November 2011. In a previous meeting, LJB had acknowledged that the firm should have notified the Village sooner of the additional expense. However, the firm also contended that the extra work will save the Village money, and that cost overruns on the project were unusually low.

Cundiff had recommended paying the $26,136 for work done after the original contract ended because he believed the Village had benefitted from the work.

• Council postponed a vote on a resolution for water and sewer line projects in the Fair Acres and Railroad Street neighborhoods, at the request of Curliss, who said she is seeking revenue sources for the projects.

• Council approved a resolution authorizing Curliss to award a contract for the purchase of new streetlights to Bain Enterprises. The project is the continuation of the replacement of Village street lights with more energy efficient models, and is anticipated to save the Village about $20,000 a year, according to Rick Walkey of the Energy Board, which had recommended the project to Council as a step toward Village energy conservation. The project is paid for with funds set aside in the Energy Efficiency Fund, Walkey said.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Curliss to solicit bids for the clearing of utility lines in sections of the village where the work has not yet begun, and completing the work in another section.

• Council approved an emergency ordinance for transferring funds from the General Fund to other funds.

Council’s next meeting will take place Monday, March 19.

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