SIDNEY — The roundabout and reduction of four lanes down to two on state Route 47, as part of the city’s improvement project, was canceled after an unanimous vote, Monday, during the Sidney City Council meeting.
Nearly 20 members of the public in attendance applauded council’s vote to cancel the original improvement project plan. Mayor Mike Barhorst called on those in attendance for opposition to cancel the original proposed project. No one spoke.
Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, said after considering opposition and comments received on the project, the city went back to Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for consideration of a revised project plan for the grant money. The revised plan does not include a roundabout or reduction of lanes.
The revised plan requests consideration for approval to replace the existing guardrail with a decorative barrier wall in the median on state Route 47, increase the sidewalk width on the north side of the road to 10-feet, install a new traffic signal at Walnut Avenue and for decorative lighting.
Clough said a plan for the intersection at Wilkinson Avenue is open for discussion. He said if council directs him to proceed with the proposed revised project, a discussion on the intersection would be held in the future when he is prepared to provide a recommendation on the pros and cons.
The estimated cost of the revised proposal is $2,441,033. The grant would cover $2,318,981 of costs. The city’s portion would be $122,052 for construction, plus approximately $150,000 for additional engineering.
The original plan was estimated to cost $3,712,500. The grant would have covered $3,006,180. The city’s cost was estimated at $706,320.
Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan asked if there was discussion regarding safe pedestrian crossing at the Wilkinson Avenue intersection. Clough said currently there is not a safe crossing plan due to the same sight-distance problems that traffic faces.
Council member Joe Ratermann asked if there were any proposals to scrap the roundabout and install a median to prevent people from making a left hand turn from state Route 47, and if there were any new drawings as a result. He posed the question to the city’s consultant firm representative from The Mannik Smith Group, but Clough responded to the question.
Clough said there were several options presented during the March public meeting on the project. He re-listed the options and said they will likely reconsider those same alternatives in the future.
Ratermann then asked Clough what the most popular alternative suggestion was for the city among the comment cards, opposed to doing nothing. Clough said comment cards were not that detailed.
Council member Janet Born thanked Clough for “working so hard on the project and listening to the will of the people.” Council member Steve Wagner commented that he seconded Born’s sentiment.
Council member Darryl Thurber asked if all of the revised options would be covered by the grant. Clough said yes; they took the most expensive option and included it in the revised grant fund request.
In other business, Barhorst presented Sidney Police Chief Will Balling, with Police Officer Matthew Dembski, with proclamations for Peace Officers’ Memorial day and Police Week.
Barhorst proclaimed May 15, 2017 as Peace Officer’s Memorial Day and Police Week as May 14-20, 2017.
Balling thanked council and the Mayor for the recognition, saying it means so much. He commented on the sounds of sirens that were coming from outside of the municipal building. He said often police and fire skip their dinners responding to alarms. He thanked them for all they do. He also directly thanked Dembski, who was representing the police patrol, for what they do.
Balling was expected to honor Sidney Police Detective Tim Kennedy with the Sidney Police Department 2017 Officer of the Year award, however, at the time of the council meeting, Kennedy was at the scene of a crime. Barhorst said they will reschedule the presentation of the award for a future meeting.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.