WILMINGTON — With funding ready to go for Phase 1 of a much-needed Davids Drive reconstruction project, the financial backing situation is altogether different for Phase 2, reported the city service director.
Wilmington City Council passed legislation Thursday to proceed with the reconstruction — not simply repaving — of a third of the length of Davids Drive, at a cost of $3,282,760.
The city was awarded a $2 million Small Cities grant and also received a $1,282,760 Ohio Public Works Commission no-interest loan which, combined, covers the Phase 1 expense.
The Phase 1 revamping is anticipated to start next April, said Wilmington Service / Safety Director Brian Shidaker. This Phase 1 overhaul deals with the stretch of Davids Drive that goes from its access at State Route 134 South and reaches north approximately one mile.
That leaves about a 2.1-miles section of Davids Drive untouched. The estimated cost for this Phase 2 reconstruction work is $6.6 million.
“The Davids Drive project design is finished. But we need $6.6 million, at least, to finish it [the reconstruction itself],” Shidaker said.
To that end, he said he wants two companies on Davids Drive — Sewell Motor Express and Alkermes — to seek annexation into the city corporation limits, which would subject their employees to the city’s 1 percent income tax and as a result generate revenue for the city coffers and projects.
The people who benefit the most from the road “are not paying a single dime in income tax to finish this,” the city service director elaborated.
He feels Sewell Motor Express is especially obligated because, he said, trucks cause “way more damage” to the condition of a road than do standard motor vehicles.
“I will say this to you because I’ve said it to them: They are not paying their fair share to fix Davids Drive. I am going public with that. They’re not paying their fair share,” Shidaker said at city council’s Thursday evening session.
On Friday, Sewell Motor Express President and CEO Jay Sewell said he is willing to have a conversation with city officials about possible annexation.
“Have a conversation with me and understand my business, understand the fees and taxes that we do pay. I’m not saying I’m against annexation or for it. I don’t know. Talk to me. [Tell me] What are the advantages?” said Sewell.
At the council meeting Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth said the base of Davids Drive was not designed for truck traffic and that Sewell trucking wasn’t at the Davids Drive location when the road was built.
Road construction crews will have to literally start over and rebuild the street, and that’s why it’s more expensive than simple repaving, added the mayor.
“We can’t just go in and mill and pave it,” Stanforth said.
Shidaker said the roadway is not holding up and is falling apart rapidly.
“We don’t have a choice. We have to figure this out,” continued Shidaker.
Alkermes did not immediately respond to a News Journal offer to comment about its position regarding annexation into the city.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.