During Wednesday’s Washington Court House City Council meeting, City Manager Joe Denen gave an update on the Temple Street bridge project.
“We’re making excellent progress there,” said Denen. “I would like to thank Shelley and Sands, the contractor, they have been wonderful to work with. ODOT District 6 has been enormously attentive to the joint project, and the street department has been wonderful. It really is moving along quite well.”
The bridge project is part of joint projects between the city and ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation). According to the ODOT website, there are currently three projects encompassing different types of work happening within the county.
One of those three is resurfacing U.S. 35 between State Route 435 and State Route 753 near the city along with minor bridge work. It began in the spring and is expected to be completed this fall. The estimated cost is $6,280,000.
The second of the three is the resurfacing of State Route 41 and State Route 753, both near and in the city, including on State Route 41 between U.S. 62 and I-71 along with State Route 753 between U.S. 22 and U.S. 35. It began in fall of last year and is expected to be completed by the end of the summer. The estimated cost is $9,280,000.
The third project is the replacement of the U.S. 62 bridge deck over Rattlesnake Creek along with additional repair work between Greenfield Sabina Road and Miami Trace Road for an estimated cost of $1,620,000. This project began last winter and is expected to be completed this fall.
During the council meeting, COVID-19 was shortly discussed.
“You continue to have the opportunity to make a difference. Everybody has an opportunity every day and, if you think about vulnerable people in the population, that helps you with the discomforts of the masks and the fogging up of the glasses,” said Denen.
“I will kind of reiterate what Joe was saying about this COVID thing,” said council chairperson Jim Chrisman. “We all need to help a little bit — more than a little bit. And congratulate — or not congratulate but thank all of our city employees. They’ve all done a tremendous job during these times. And I know there’s a lot of stress, and you’ve got to wear masks, and afraid somebody’s going to cough on you, and what have you. And that includes administration, all the people up here, all the safety departments and the service department.”
During Denen’s address to council, he mentioned that water levels remain well and that leak detection in the city water system has been completed. Minor leaks were discovered but have since been repaired.
As for legislation during the meeting, six resolutions were placed on second reading and were then adopted, while one new resolution was heard and placed on first reading.
One ordinance was placed on third reading and was then adopted, while another ordinance was placed on second reading.
The first time legislation is seen and approved by council it is placed on a first reading and the second time on a second reading, etc. Adoption of resolutions can occur once they have been placed on the second reading. Adoptions of ordinances can occur once they have been placed on third reading.
The resolutions that were adopted included four that appointed various individuals to different entities. These include the reappointment of Kay Oughterson to the Fayette Metropolitan Housing Authority for a term ending on Dec. 31 of 2026, the appointment of Mandy Miller to both the Fayette County Planning Commission (term ending Dec. 31, 2024) and the Fayette County Regional Planning Commission (term ending Dec. 31, 2023), and the appointment of Mark Pitstick to represent the Joint Economic Development District Committee (JEDD) for an unspecified term length.
The fifth resolution allows the creation of a COVID-19 grant program.
“A piece of legislation we are very happy with tonight: the Coronavirus Business Relief grant that we’re able to offer,” said Denen.
City Economic Development Director Chelsie Baker, along with Denen, would be acting as administrators for the program. Eligibility requirements for the program would be determined by Baker and Denen.
At a previous council meeting, Denen explained that a portion of the city’s COVID-19 funds would be used for this grant. The program would have $10,000 available to local small businesses that meet the determined requirements, including a greater-than 25 percent decrease in sales during the lockdown period.
“We have applications — they are copied, they are ready to go. So, if you are a small business and you are located in Washington Court House, and you have less than 25 employees, you very much need to come in and see us,” said Denen. “We will be out visiting a number of businesses and pushing that out to the chamber of commerce and the downtown business association to encourage people to take advantage of that opportunity.”
To get that application, business owners should go to the City Administration Building, 105 N. Main St., and ask for either Denen or Baker.
The final resolution that was adopted recognizes the Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition (FCSPC).
As previously reported, FCSPC was formed last summer to combat rising levels of suicide numbers. The coalition is organized under the Paint Valley ADAMH Board in Chillicothe although its attention is on Fayette County.
The coalition has several goals including to reduce stigma around mental health, provide the community with education, to provide related training services, to assist individuals in understanding the kind of help they can turn to, etc.
The new resolution, if passed, would allow the appointment of Mark Richards to the Revolving Loan Fund Committee of the City of Washington Court House for a term ending Dec. 31 of 2024.
The ordinance that was adopted allows Mars Drive to be renamed to Companion Drive. As previously reported, this alteration was a request made by Red Collar Pet Food, which is located off Mars Drive (Companion Drive) in Washington Court House.
The ordinance placed on second reading, if passed, would allow an amendment to an ordinance passed last year, number 9-2019. This ordinance was in relation to appropriating expenses within the city during this year’s fiscal year, and the amendment would add supplemental appropriations for current expenses of the city. To view a document showing the original ordinance, please visit www.cityofwch.com/DocumentCenter/View/874/O9-2019.
Washington Court House City Council meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. They are located in the second floor council chambers of the City Administration Building, 105 N. Main Street. Currently, attendance is being limited due to the pandemic and meetings have been moved back to the original time of 7:30 p.m. Meetings will be streamed live on the YouTube channel “City of Washington Court House, Ohio” at www.youtube.com/channel/UCRwMxUBn8XIQTjnSvFaGDgA.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.