MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon City Council approved a connector route for the Kokosing Gap Trail Monday that will run under South Main Street through an arch in the Viaduct.

The route will offer an alternative to trail traffic crossing South Main Street. Currently, eastbound trail traffic comes through Ariel-Foundation Park past the C A & C Depot, where it hits South Main. Trail traffic is stopped there at a signalized intersection.

The connector route starts just across the train tracks past Ariel-Foundation Park and goes north, looping around the depot to the edge of the river, then follows the river. It drops on a gradual slope down to the south arch of the viaduct and under the converted railroad bridge, travels under the arch, then come up on a gradual slope to the bike path that crosses Dry Creek.

Trail users headed for town will still have to cross South Main. The pedestrian signals will remain in place.

The connector route will be prone to flooding where it goes beneath the viaduct, City Engineer Brian Ball said. When the route is flooded, the trail can be closed off with locked gates on both sides before the viaduct. Ball said he estimated that 13 percent or fewer days of the year could see water levels high enough to necessitate closing the route, based on past flooding.

The passage under the viaduct arch will have a concrete floor and be sloped to allow for water runoff, Ball said. The trail will maintain its 10 foot width under the arch, and have between 10 – 12 feet of clearance, depending on the curve of the arch.

The grant-funded project is estimated at $659,000, with the city’s share to be five percent of the total. The city has set aside $50,000, about eight percent, for the project. City Auditor Terry Scott said the city estimated its share high to allow for contingencies.

In other business, council also approved donation of a 2008 ambulance to the Knox County Career Center for its EMT training program. Mount Vernon Fire EMS Training Officer Lt. Josh Lester said the donation is a useful training tool because students get familiar working in the confines of an EMS road unit.

Lester said the department reached out to third parties to see if anyone might be interested in purchasing the ambulance. MVFD got no takers, he said.

Lester said the FD had similar trouble selling old ambulances in the past, and ended up junking them for scrap.

Amendments to the city’s trash hauler ordinance were also approved. The amended ordinance was up for approval at the last meeting of council, but questions about the wording for weekly, or bi-weekly, trash collection put the vote off.

Councilmembers Mike Hillier and Nancy Vail said they would not support the ordinance if it did not read that haulers are required to pick up trash weekly.

The amended ordinance will affect trash haulers operating in the city in 2020. Haulers must apply for a permit to operate in the city.

Council was presented with an amended lease agreement between the city and Ariel Foundation for Ariel-Foundation Park. The amended lease seeks to formalize an agreement already in place between the foundation and the city, in which the foundation agrees to do most of the mowing and some general maintenance. The city will pay electricity costs and mow the Terraces every six weeks. The city will also provide the foundation with two lawn mowers.

Parks and Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Dave Carpenter said the city agreed to mowing the Terraces because it has the necessary equipment.

Council also approved re-zoning of the Mount Vernon Church of Christ church to office/institutional district. A church trustee, speaking at the meeting Monday, said the building has been sold to Knox Community Hospital.

Safety-Services Director Joel Daniels informed council that Mount Vernon Police Capt. Scott McKnight will serve as interim police chief following the retirement of Roger Monroe. McKnight is one of five MVPD officers taking the test for the position of chief.

McKnight will start as interim chief Dec. 1. The final test for chief is scheduled Dec. 7.

Council further approved the naming of greenspace at the former America National Can industrial site as Shellmar Park. The name reflects the original owner of the site, who invented food packaging for use by US servicemembers and astronauts.

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Nick Sabo: 740-397-5333 or nsabo@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @twitter.com/mountvernonnews