Council debates landscape changes

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — A new welcoming look will be coming to the four quadrants’ landscaping of the Interstate 75 and state Route 47 interchange.

On Monday evening, a discussion ensued at the Sidney City Council meeting about landscape modifications to the current gateway project at the Interstate 75 and state Route 47 interchange which led to a new direction for the layout of the area.

Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier recommended changes to attempt to make the areas look better at the interchange. He explained that drainage and salt run off have continued to cause problems for soil conditions, so suggested moving surviving shrubs to better growth areas, planting turf in areas where growth is inhibited, mulching around tress in new turf areas and to mulch the remainder of the northern shrub beds.

However, in light of past failed plans to beautify the areas, council was concerned about wasting more money on the current design.

Gaier acknowledged plants have continued to die and mulch has eroded in these area due (in part) to the soil and slope conditions. He said funding was an issue with the previous plan. Clay, excavated from other construction projects, was used instead of topsoil. Gaier admitted it is not ideal soil for growing plants.

Part of Gaier’s request was permission to plant new grass that they would do “in-house,” costing around $500.

Mayor Mike Barhorst was reluctant to agree to spend any additional (especially donated) money on the area until a professional could come in, assess the areas and make a new plan. He expressed “embarrassment of the current design, and for the companies that helped to finance the current design” of how it turned out. He said the design did not turn out to look like what the city expected.

“I would be willing to invest some money into a design that is going to make it look welcoming to Sidney. I don’t think that design, in my opinion, has ever looked welcoming. It wasn’t ever what I thought it was going to be,” said Barhorst.

After continued discussion, council’s consensus for the future of the gateway project layout was “to say yes to grass, no to mulch and yes to a new plan.”

There was also a discussion on a liquor permit ownership change request for Walgreens, due to stockholder changes for the business.

The police department performed a background check on the new owners and nothing unusual was found. Therefore council exhibited silence on the issue which consented pursuit of the permit.

Born asked if there were any updates on when the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will begin work on removing hazardous waste products from the former Wagner Ware building site that was originally slatted for the end of July. Dulworth said work is planned to begin on Monday, Aug. 29.

Councilman Joe Ratermann, on behalf of the Sidney Bike Club, asked for a thank you to be passed along to Police Officer Chris Burmeister for “his excellent assistance in providing safety and legal instruction to assure safe movement of the Sidney Bike Club’s first ever bike ride on Wednesday, Aug. 17.”

City Manager MarkCundiff said the next council meeting will not be until Tuesday, Sept. 6 since there is not a meeting on months with five Mondays. Also, city offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5 because of Labor Day, and trash pick-up will be delayed a day all week.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.