MOUNT VERNON — There really was a new set of steps taking shape under the plastic tent at City Hall this winter.
The steps are now exposed as Building Solutions near the end of the project, but there is still work to be done before the steps can be reopened. City Engineer Brian Ball said the transition at the bottom of the steps still has to be poured, and a sealant has to be applied.
The sealant will be done in two stages: The first on the steps that have been in place long enough to cure and the second 10 days after the last pour, which should take place next week.
The old railings will be reused and have been refinished, but the holes will have to be drilled.
The bottom line, Ball said, is that it will probably be a couple more weeks before the steps are opened.
City Auditor Terry Scott said the private offering for the bonds to finance the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge project took place Tuesday. Seven banking institutions were invited to make offers.
Two did not bid. The lowest bid was disqualified because it did not comply with specifications as it did not allow the city to call the bonds in early. The winning bid was for 2.78 percent on the $2.6 million bond issue from Zion’s Bank in the Cleveland area.
The annual payments will be $206,000 for 15 years and the city can pay off early.
Street Superintendent Tom Hinkle said the city was unable to finish its street sweeping schedule last week, completing only East High, Chestnut and Gambier. Hinkle said they think a bearing burned out, but they took the sweeper to the manufacturer’s repair shop near Cleveland to be looked at. He expects the sweeper to be out of service for a couple of weeks.
The Gay Street repair was completed this week. The road base was dug out and replaced with eight tons of crushed concrete and 12 tons of limestone. Hinkle said the old water line was also removed, although he said it didn’t appear to have contributed to the problem.
Hinkle said they continued to attack potholes with the DuraPatcher this week. He has heard they may be able to get hot mix from a source closer to Mount Vernon next week, instead of having to get it from Columbus.
A traffic light controller junction box at West Gambier Street and Plum Alley was replaced.
Ball said a pre-construction meeting was held this week with Palmer and Sons Excavating for the Kirk and McKenzie streets water line project. Construction should start in mid-May.
Bids will be opened April 11 for the Yellow Jacket Drive water line.
Smith Paving will replace the curb and gutter in front of the C.A.&C. Depot along Columbus Avenue.
First Knox National Bank has agreed to pay half the cost of replacing the asphalt in Plum Alley next to the bank between Vine Street and Public Square with concrete. Work is expected to start next week.
Superintendent Dave Carpenter said the department has received its new 1-ton pickup with a utility bed and power lift tailgate. It replaces a 2001 truck with the same features.
Carpenter said he received a quote of $22,000 to expand the concrete parking lot near the inclusive playground at Memorial Park. The Department of Disabilities is looking for donors to fund the project.
The new playground is already getting lots of visitors, Carpenter said.
The city parks officially open Monday, but the restrooms will not open until later in the month, Meanwhile, port-a-lets will be placed in the parks until the threat of freezes is past.
Several city departments are still looking for seasonal help. Applications can be obtained at the Safety-Service Office in City Hall and at the Parks Office at Mound View Cemetery.
In general, crew leaders are paid $10 per hour, returning workers $9.60 and new workers $9.20.
Mayor Richard Mavis said Arbor Day will be celebrated in the city at 9:30 a.m. April 26 at the Knox County Career Center.
Mavis also reported that the AEP contractor Asplundh contacted him this week to report they will be starting a tree-trimming project in the city next week in the area west of the Public Square and north of Gambier Street. Property owners will be contacted about trees to be trimmed or removed.
The mayor has also issued three proclamations. One proclaims May 18 “Kids to Parks Day” in which kids and families are encouraged to get outdoors and visit local, state and national parks.
Another proclaims April as Donate Life Month encouraging residents to consider sharing the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donations and the third proclaims September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.