JACKSON CENTER – A presentation highlighting plans for the second phase of Tiger Trail Park in the Village of Jackson Center was the high point of discussion at the regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday, Oct. 28.
Craig Mescher with Access Engineering outlined plans for additional improvement options to be considered by council and the residents of Jackson Center. The project is part of a neighborhood revitalization project aimed at increasing opportunities available to the residents to participate in, increasing home values and improving the quality of life for those residing in and around the Village of Jackson Center.
After outlining some of the possible improvements, Mescher turned the floor over to Village Administrator Bruce Metz who explained how the process would work.
“We are excited about the opportunity at hand and the possibility of continuing what has already been a very successful journey for our village thus far,” Metz said.
“The upcoming process will be very much like the one we followed in 2016-17. In the future we will hold several public meetings at the Family Life Center before our regularly scheduled council meetings to get input from our residents on how they feel about the choices at hand so we can narrow down our list and get to the next step of the project.
“There will be an online survey coupled with a fill-in-the-blank format so everyone can submit their ideas for improvements to council. Our residents were very receptive and helpful in the past in our initial process, and I want to thank everyone who helped out; your input is crucial, and we look forward to working with you to determine what direction we will take in phase two of the project.
“In the past your participation helped us to get our new soccer field complex, a flood-water detention pond at the new Airstream facility, reconstruction of Davis, Linden and South streets, and the beautification project around our new school, all of which benefits everyone in our town. Craig will initiate the process by taking our request to the Shelby County commissioners and the Regional Planning Commission for approval. After we get their OK, we’ll move forward.
“As before a key element of the process will be the anonymous, random, salary survey that will help those allocating the grant monies to determine just what we’re eligible for; I also want to thank everyone in advance for filling out and returning these surveys. All information gathered is anonymous and confidential and is used for the grant process only; those figures will determine what we’re eligible for, and we must take this seriously because if we miss the boat there may not any second chances.
“After we compile that info, what we plan to do and how much it will cost, we can submit an application for grant assistance; we are looking at a possible $700,000 to work with. We are hoping to add leverage to our resources by also submitting an application to the Oho Public Works Commission. If all goes as planned, we may be looking at a total of $1.2 million; that’s a pretty big deal for Jackson Center; that’s a big deal for all of us!
“At present nothing is set in stone, but tentative plans for the park include new baseball fields, finishing up the walking track, additional parking lots, constructing more water detention ponds and even some new sidewalks and paving around town.
“Progress on the project will be posted online and discussed at future council meetings, and again … the public is encouraged to participate.”
In new business, council passed ordinance 2019-026, approving allocation of funds to cover expenses associated with the village turn-lane at the new Airstream facility. The village will pay out $112,000 to cover the final costs associated with the project, but Metz indicated the village will be reimbursed for the payment later when grant funding for the project eventually comes in.
Council then discussed future adjustments in electrical costs for village residents. It was noted that while some costs for electric and associated services will change, it will remain about the same overall.
“Our residential rates for electric power will decrease in 2020,” Metz said. “A resident using 750 Kh per month in 2019 paid $102.77 for that amount; it will be reduced to $99.49 for that same amount in 2020. However, our customer service maintenance cost will increase by $2 per month so it’s a wash. The customer service rate will be fixed for 2020, and those extra dollars are used for new installations and to help keep our services in tip-top shape for a more consistent and reliable source of energy.”
Next Metz announced an upcoming planned power outage.
“While we’re talking about electric service, I also want to announce we will be having a planned power outage on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.,” he said. “Power transmission will be interrupted momentarily while we shift to our emergency electric generators to provide power while we splice in the new transformer to our current system. We have asked local industry to cut back on electric usage and urge our residents to do likewise to ensure an uninterrupted source of power while the work on our system is being completed.
“The actual time without power will be just a few minutes while we switch over to the generators. Hopefully all will go well and our residents will not notice any change. We are asking everyone to cut back on using any appliances or devices that consume a lot of energy to help keep the demand within the capabilities of our back-up system; thanks in advance for your cooperation. This is just a necessary maintenance operation, and we do not foresee any problems. There is also a possibility that if all goes well we will execute the process in less time than planned for but all will be completed in the time allotted.”
In the Administrator’s Report, Metz said things are going well in all departments and the village staff is working hard to complete all the outdoor chores in preparation for the winter season.
“The electric department has trimmed a lot of trees to prevent potential problems associated with high winds and ice storms,” Metz said. “The street department is finishing up work on sidewalk approaches and working to stay caught up with leaf collection and clean up. Our water department is flushing water lines and doing flow tests on the fire hydrants; they should be finishing up this week. The parks division has been working on our soccer fields doing soil aeration, fertilization, seeding and watering so things will be in great shape for the upcoming season. They will also be winterizing the sprinkling lines before the weather gets too much colder.”
He also noted that plans for the pool grant are still under review and that he has still not heard back from the railroad people about fixing the bad crossings despite repeated attempts to contact them.
Lastly, Metz indicated the survey results were in on the proposed pickleball court option, and 80 percent of those responding wanted to convert two of the four existing tennis courts behind the swimming pool into four pickle ball courts. The new courts will be put in when the regularly scheduled maintenance commences in the spring, Metz said.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.