City will pay over $1.8M of Rombach work; hope is for access to American Rescue Plan Act funds


By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com



WILMINGTON — Despite much frustration, Wilmington City Council agreed the city will pay over $1.8 million of the huge upcoming Rombach Avenue project.

At a special council meeting on Tuesday night, Safety/Service Director Brian Shidaker informed council he received an estimate and bids for the massive Rombach Avenue project.

The final estimate from the Ohio Department of Transportation was that the project would cost “shy of $7.2 million.”

However, the lowest bid the city received from contractors was over $9 million, much higher than what the city had budgeted for.

Shidaker told council that a reason for the massive estimate was the pandemic.

The city’s response to whether or not the city would pay the $1.8 million had to be made by noon on Wednesday.

City administration and council expressed their frustration. While the city can pay for the project, this may delay or affect other street projects.

City Administrator Marian Miller and Auditor Mary Kay Vance expressed hope that the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 would be of help, since a part of it involves infrastructure.

The News Journal reported last month that, at a March 18 city council meeting, officials agreed to pay a small portion of the construction funds for the project. Council passed a resolution agreeing to pay $38,886 (from the general fund) out of the estimated cost for the Rombach project.

However, at that March meeting, Shidaker reminded council that there was still the possibility of needing additional funding in the future.

The project — with funding from a combination of federal and state money along with the local funds — is to result in the repaving of nearly three miles of Rombach Avenue and East Side Drive, construction of nearly 100 feet of new sidewalk, new traffic signals installed, and improving crosswalks throughout the corridor.

The project also includes repairs to the pavement and replacing the traffic signals. It was originally supposed to begin in 2020, but was delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The construction is set to begin on June 15.

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By John Hamilton

jhamilton@wnewsj.com