Minster Council shoots down sidewalk project


MINSTER — For lack of a second, a resolution to build sidewalks along state Route 119 West was canceled at the November Minster Village Council meeting.

In October, Council member Nicole Clune had championed a project to build sidewalks along the road, which includes both incorporated and unincorporated properties.

However, at the Oct. 19 Council meeting, a number of residents who own unincorporated land from that section had voiced objections to the project. In reaction, Council had tabled the project proposal until they could seek cooperation with the Auglaize County Commissioners to install sidewalks in both unincorporated as well as incorporated sections.

It was reported that the vommissioners had said they would not be able to unanimously approve the project, leaving the village with the prospect of installing sidewalks only on incorporated land.

In discussion before the vote, council members had voiced reservations about moving forward with the project without support of the commissioners. Council member Craig Oldiges said he objected to a “patchwork of sidewalks” that would result should the Village only install on incorporated properties, leaving gaps in the entire stretch, with some residents complaining about travel across their lawns where there were no sidewalks.

Councilman Curt Albers suggested it would be best to wait for all sidewalk installation until all the properties are incorporated. He said further that since some property owners may never want to be incorporated at this point, it was not wise to move forward.

Clune maintained that there were good reasons to move forward on the project anyway, the least of which was the safety of children traveling along that highway. Her other reasons included the requirement that properties that were within the village were required to have sidewalks installed. She also maintained that the village should do what it can now to begin installing sidewalks. “There is the right thing to do and there is the easy thing to do,” she added.

When it became clear that no other council member would second her motion, Clune eventually said, “So we are going to bow down to pressure from some property owners.?” She also said council was not thinking of the people who live out there, who want a sidewalk built so their children can avoid using the highway to get around.

In other news, representatives of the proposed new YMCA Recreation Center project came to explain their progress and to secure council’s approval of a 15-year cooperative agreement for use of the facility in exchange for financial support. Leisa Arnett said they had secured a $750,000 capital improvement grant to build a new center at the Y between New Bremen and Minster and now had formed committees to reach out to local schools, villages and townships in both Mercer and Auglaize counties to seek their monetary support.

She also said that the merger with the Dayton YMCA was going well, with the Y’s in Mercer and Auglaize counties on their list of capital improvements.

In his report to council, Village Administrator Don Harrod said the EPA had offered two possible resolutions for the problems of high levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) in their wastewater outflow, saying it appeared that the answer might be adding additional water to the outflow.

One idea was to use well No. 4 to add water to the wastewater outflow. The second option was to install pipes to allow discharge to be sent to Lake Loramie.

He said well No. 4 was too close to the wastewater plant to be used as drinking water. However, he added, a study would need to be done to measure how the draw-down on the water table would affect other wells in the Village well field.

He said the other option, to direct the outflow to Lake Loramie would also need study.

In response, Council approved a $994,000 study with CDM Smith to research the viability of the two options. Funds to finance the study are to come from the American Rescue Plan, since that funding was targeted on dealing with water infrastructure along with broadband expansion.

He added that Moody’s Well Drilling will be in sometime this week to begin doing the required 72-hour pump testing of well No. 4 to see if it is a viable solution for the TDS issue.

Harrod also reported that he had gotten word from a scout leader that the Auglaize County Recycling Center was going to discontinue accepting recycling materials from them, so Minster might be re-instating the village recycling center. He said he would contact the director of the Auglaize center to gather more information.

He said leaf pickup continues to occur on a daily basis, weather permitting. Residents are asked to refrain from putting sticks and brush in with the leaves, because adding the woody material to the leaf piles fouled the collection chute, delaying the leaf pickup.

He said village electrical crews changed a service at Machine Concepts in preparation for setting a steel pole at Progress Tool. He said it is anticipated that crews from Parks Drilling and Vaughn Electric will be in within the next couple of weeks to begin setting the steel pole.

The village and CDM Smith met last week to review the progress on the design of the Water Tower Replacement Project. Plans for the design of the tower are at the 30% stage.

Crews from the Public Works Department and the Waste Water/Water treatment Plant continue to work on fire hydrant testing.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

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