MOUNT VERNON — The traffic light at the intersection of Parrott Street and South Main Street is now operating, but turn arrows, specific lane signals and pedestrian lights are not yet part of the sequence.
“Those signals will not be part of the sequence until the railroad crossing upgrade are completed,” said City Engineer Brian Ball. He said the temporary connection incorporating the railroad crossing will accept warnings about approaching trains, but the crossing is not wide enough for the turn lanes and pedestrian crossing lights.
The railroad work should be finished by June.
Local officials were wondering how to respond to the threat of heavy accumulation of snow or ice today.
City Council’s planned work session on the budget at 8:30 a.m. today was postponed until the same time next Saturday.
Street Superintendent Tom Hinkle is planning to have two crews work two 12-hour shifts, but they won’t be called in until the snow actually arrives.
Because the Street Department only has seven drivers available, three volunteers from the Utilities Department have volunteered to work as snow plow driver so that all five heavy trucks can be out in both shifts.
If, at the end of the second 12-hour shift, there is more work to do, the first shift will be called back in.
The trucks will plow on the main streets (including state highways), bridges and hills first, then will work on the side streets.
“If you see a plow, give it room and don’t try to pass it,” Hinkle said.
Residents also need to move parked cars off of designated snow emergency streets if we get more than three inches of snow.
Hinkle said the salt supply is in good shape, with 1,000 to 1,200 tons in the salt barn. There are 300 tons on order, but that won’t arrive until next week. About 400 tons were used in three snow incidents this week, in which about 100.5 hours of overtime was accumulated.
The department also removed Christmas baskets and banners from downtown and erected Yellow Jacket banners.
Projects wrapped up
Except for landscaping repairs to be done in the spring, Ball said the city has wrapped up the sanitary projects in Spice and Green alleys and on Wooster Road. Final total cost was $438,408.82, although the county will reimburse the city for work done in the courthouse parking lot.
City Hall improvements
City Parks and Buildings Superintendent Dave Carpenter said they will begin a remodeling project at City Hall that will involve painting and re-carpeting Council Chambers, the Civil Service office and the hallway. The pews will be removed from the Council Chambers and replaced with stackable chairs, giving more flexibility to the use of that room. Curtains will also be replaced and unneeded electronic equipment will be removed.
However, the pews cannot be replaced until the front steps of city hall are reopened.
That took a step forward this week as a plastic enclosure was erected that will allow the area to be heated while the forms are constructed and steps poured, Ball said.
Probation volunteers will do the painting.
Carpenter said a small storage building on Cougar Drive needs to have its roof replaced. Carpenter said the city will buy the materials needed and the building trades class at the Knox County Career Center will do the work.
Carpenter said a Norway Spruce and an old Buckeye tree on the northwest side of the Public Square have been replaced. The Buckeye will be replaced with another Buckeye in the spring and a maple tree had been planted in the area before the spruce was removed.
The city’s Board of Maintenance Appeals will probably meet before the end of the month to take up the status of the old Mazza building on West High Street.
Common Please Judge Richard Wetzel remanded the case to the board after a tentative settlement was reached before a court hearing was held Thursday on the city’s year-old order to demolish the building.
Ball said he, the fire department, the police and Code Enforcement inspected the building Tuesday and found that walls had been shored up, a roof installed and some other repairs made.
Utilities Director Mathias Orndorf said the leaking fire hydrant at the northeast corner of Gay and Vine streets was removed without incident Tuesday morning. The hydrant was removed and the water was back on in less than two hours.