Ferry maps summer projects

MARTINS FERRY – City council heard reports of planned summer upgrades during Wednesday’s meeting.

Mayor Paul Riethmiller reported that the city has received word from the Ohio Department of Transportation District 11 that its 90-day survey has been completed at Hanover and Ohio 7. They have agreed to make updates and changes to the turning arrows at both intersections by using red turning arrows to stop traffic instead of solid green lights allowing drivers to proceed when yielding.

Work is set for May 20-23. Drivers are to use extreme caution while work is being performed. Right hand turning lanes are to be added southbound at Hanover and Aetna Street intersections and are on ODOT’s scheduled for 2016.

Riethmiller also reviewed a cost-saving plan to install storm sewers between North Fifth and Zane Highway. He noted three businesses are facing issues of standing water.

In order to save money on the project, city employees will begin at the creek and work backwards. City employees will do all the work they are capable of, including laying 1,000 feet of pipe, digging up an alley and installing catch basins. Reithmiller added that when the project reaches Fifth Street, there will be considerable utilities present in the middle of the street. He noted that by having city employees do all the work to that point, the only cost will be materials. Then, the city will obtain estimates.

“Coming across Fifth Street is going to be a major issue,” he said, adding that he hoped to have that work completed for less than $50,000.

“We know it’s going to be a costly project,” he said, adding that the EPA and East Ohio Regional Water requires the city take action. “We know it’s going to be a permanent improvement for the city years down the road, and we have to fix our infrastructure.”

Work may begin during summer.

Also, the last pouring of concrete was completed at the Hanover North off street parking lot. City employees will build a drainage system the length of the parking lot with pipe and gravel next week. It will open in June. Council approved up to $2,000 from permanent improvement to complete the drainage ditch.

A petroleum company has been contacted about prices on tanks and pump systems for a city fueling station. Riethmiller will discuss the issue further with council when the quotes are in.

Development Director Kathy Wade Gagin reported four police grants are due later in the month.

Also, Water Superintendent Craig Harris reported that Well No. 2 was still out of service, with an estimated cost of repairs coming to $23,000. In addition, Well No. 4 ceased functioning. There may be an issue with the underground cable supplying it with power. It is being evaluated.

Media was replaced in the No. 1 filter bed, but the city soon began losing chlorine residual, possibly due to contamination in the sand. The filter was shut off and repeatedly dosed with little improvement. There may be an issue with the media. It will remain out of service until repairs can be made.

As of last week, the city is now a voting member of the Ohio Utilities Protection Service. Anytime there is digging in the city, they are notified and will locate the waterlines before the project. Cost to the city is reduced from 58 cents per call to 17 cents per call. 2012 saw about 800 calls.

Also, cleaning and painting of hydrants will continue as possible.

Regarding recreational matters, a pancake breakfast will be held this Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon to raise funds for the rec center. The pool is filled and ready to open June 2.

Council held the third reading of an ordinance permitting a recreational vehicle park in the Industrial Park area.

For the Street Committee, Councilman Russell Armstrong reported they are awaiting preliminary estimates for work on the city streets. The city will prepare a grant application after the results have been returned.

Councilman Robert Krajnyak reported ongoing plans for the construction of a storage shed at Walnut Grove Cemetery. The Cemetery Committee is also speaking with the state auditor regarding the possibility of endowment monies to respond to a major emergency at a cemetery. Other plans in the works include a schedule for repairing falling or leaning tombstones during the summer.

Flags will be placed on veterans’ graves at Walnut Grove and Riverview May 20, 5 p.m.

He also speculated on the possibility of renovating a small building in the park that had been utilized for Betty Zane Day.

Krajnyak added that a city wide crime watch program is set for June 12, 6 p.m. at the American Legion.

In other matters, Krajnyak noted complaints on a piece of property off Broadway Street. He said the city attorney had informed council it would be going to auditor’s auction, but noted the importance of expediting the process. He also noted the need to widen a turn on the road for the use of semi trucks.

Safety Director William Suto has been speaking with county officials and is looking into the eminent domain process.

Additionally, council approved the travel policy as required by the IRS.

The Service Committee will meet 5:30 p.m. May 30.

The park fountain will be filled and running by next week, with new electric and water lines and lights installed.

The city received a letter of thanks from a Virginia Street resident for CHIP grant work.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com