MOUNT VERNON — A demolition permit was issued by the City Engineer’s office Thursday afternoon for the demolition of The Office at 22 E. Ohio St., Engineer Brian Ball reported at the mayor’s weekly press briefing. The permit was issued to United Aggregates, which was hired by the Mount Vernon Development Co.
The demolition is part of the development of loft apartments on Main and Gambier announced recently by Knox Community Hospital, Kenyon College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Ariel Foundation is providing a grant for renovation costs and exterior improvements.
Demolition is expected to begin Jan. 6 and be completed by the end of the month.
Also issued was a demolition permit for a concrete block garage at 102 E. Ohio.
Mayor Richard Mavis said the city met this week with representatives of the firm of Hazen and Sawyer of Columbus, the consultants the city has hired to look into setting up a stormwater utility in the city. Street Superintendent Tom Hinkle has been compiling figures on how much is being spent from street funds on storm water work, and Ball and City Auditor Terry Scott have been putting together the figures on how much money from other funds have been spent on storm water projects.
The city is looking at having at least some money available for storm water work that doesn’t come from other funds.
One of the things the consultants will be looking at is how to fund the utility. One possibility is a surcharge added to utility bills (as is done in Newark); another would be to bill it with property taxes.
“We have to make this affordable,” said Ball.
Mavis said that in January the city will start putting together a citizens’ advisory committee to get public involvement in the process. A tentative schedule of meetings is set for February through May and a final proposal will probably be sent to City Council in June.
Mavis also said a meeting was held this week with the consultants doing the new downtown traffic study and he expects to share the results and recommendations with the public at meetings in late February or early March.
Mavis said he has informed council that the city has been in discussions with the Chamber of Commerce about the possibility of the chamber leasing the C.A.&C. building for its offices. Those talks are still in an early stage.
Ball reported that the new signal heads are being installed at the intersection of Parrott Street and South Main Street but the controller box for the intersection will probably not be delivered until mid-January.
He also said the Railroad Commission is proceeding with plans for the Ohio Central portion of the Parrott Street project, which has a June 1 deadline as that is when the county wants to begin the Parrott Street bridge replacement project.
Ball also reported that the contractor on the City Hall steps has poured the second concrete box to form the brick pillars on each side of the steps and is seeking bricks to match those used in the City Hall building.
Mavis said the police and fire departments were granted access this week to the old middle school to conduct a safety inspection and allow the new firefighters to become familiar with the interior of the building.
Mavis said the inspection found no sign of vagrants having been in the building, but there were some signs of water leaking and the Utilities Department is making sure the water is shut off.
Superintendent Tom Hinkle said the department was using this time without any snow events to repair openings where water/wastewater had to dig up brick streets. Openings were repaired on East Vine, North Gay and East Burgess streets.
He said they are also using the time to “do a lot of trimming” in alleys. He said they are methodically working their way through alleys across town, cutting back bushes and limbs that are rubbing against cars or blocking sight lines.
“When we get the alleys done, we’ll start working on streets,” Hinkle said. “The Shade Tree Commission is helping us along the streets.”
He said they are also starting their annual stop sign inspection. They’ll be making sure the signs are all properly reflective and will be straightening posts.