WILMINGTON — The city now has received a second grant to put toward next year’s Rombach Avenue corridor improvement project — the two grants adding up to $3.11 million.
This latest grant awarded to the city is a federally funded safety grant, and involves a little over $1.5 million, announced Wilmington Safety & Service Director Brian Shidaker.
The earlier grant was an ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) resurfacing grant, which likewise was for a little over $1.5 million.
The $3.1 million total in state and federal money “is going to be huge for us,” Shidaker told city council Thursday.
City officials will meet with bond experts on Tuesday to “really tighten down the scope of the project,” added Shidaker.
The roadway project is now in the design stage, he said.
“Obviously, it’s always about money. We’re not going to present a project we cannot afford,” said Shidaker.
All pavement within the boundary of the project will be resurfaced.
Pavement rehabilitation was the primary need for the project, Shidaker said Friday.
“As we investigated what would be the appropriate effort to rehabilitate Rombach Avenue, concerns over poor traffic operations and safety quickly bubbled to the top as our secondary need,” he said. “Historical crashes were investigated by engineering experts to determine if any safety improvements could be included in the project to address the poor traffic operations and safety.
“The crash patterns indicated that the poor performance of the traffic signals were causing crashes that could be reduced with the reconstruction of the traffic signals and improving the signal timing along the corridor,” added Shidaker.
Armed with this information, the City pursued the federally funded Highway Safety Improvement Program grant to build the improvements — traffic signals — that were identified to improve safety.
The project is expected to be sold in March 2020, with construction expected to begin in June 2020. Construction should finish in October 2020.
On another matter, At-Large City Councilperson Bill Liermann noted a DP&L representative was present for the council meeting and then Liermann brought up a recent power outage in the Southridge Subdivision in Wilmington. The outage lasted from 5:45 p.m. until 4 a.m., he said.
Liermann asked what sort of “redundancy plan” DP&L has to guard against prolonged outages so that customers do not have outages that last several hours.
The DP&L representative said he did not have a direct answer immediately for the councilman, but would follow up with him.
During the business session, council members approved a grant request from the Main Street Wilmington organization for $4,685 in lodging tax revenue. These funds will comprise the matching dollars needed to purchase 14 trash receptacles for the downtown which will mean more of downtown will have close access to a receptacle.
During public comment, city resident Mike Mandelstein said there apparently is some human habitation occurring in storage units around town as a place to spend the night.
Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth responded to the question, noting he owns storage units. The habitation is considered to be trespassing, he said, and as soon as he finds someone sleeping in a unit he calls the police, and eviction from the unit takes place immediately.
The mayor presided over a swearing-in Thursday evening for a new Wilmington police officer, Jordan Ianson.
Council received an income tax receipt report from the city tax commissioner. The revenue reported as of late June (basically the calendar year’s half-way point) shows a 3.5 percent increase compared to last year at the same time. Revenue compared to last year has increased $154,376.
The year-to-date city income tax revenue as of June 28 is $4,550,367.
The first recipient of the city’s new MVP Award is city employee Jerry Rayson.
“Jerry builds, maintains and tracks all of the city’s dumpsters. He also performs much of the maintenance in the facilities such as heating and cooling problems as well as leachate pump and maintenance repair,” according to a city statement.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.