• Joshua Morrison/News City Engineer Brian Ball listens during Mount Vernon City Council’s Monday meeting. Council rejected the city’s plan to create a loop water line in the area of Ariel-Foundation Park, opting instead for a line that only goes to the Schnormeier Event Center.
  • Joshua Morrison/News Before the official start of the legislative portion of the Mount Vernon City Council, Clerk Tanya Newell was presented a plaque, in front of family and officials, on behalf of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) for becoming a Certified Municipal Clerk. Mary Johnston, Clerk of Westerville and President-Elect of IIMC made the presentation. Newell has served as Clerk of City Council for seven years.

MOUNT VERNON — A water line project previously proposed to look at bringing city water to Clinton Township was scaled back to a short line to the Schnormeier Event Center.

Mount Vernon City Council Monday approved a resolution for engineering services for a water line to Ariel-Foundation Park that will bring enough pressure to service a fire suppression system at the Schnormeier center. The resolution was amended at the last minute to strike a reference to the “area” of Ariel-Foundation Park to read “for improvements to” the Schnormeier.

The city saw the water line project as a way to open up new water customers out of Pittsburgh Avenue to Harcourt Road. However, council balked at the idea, mostly because it would run water past residences who may not want it, but would still have to tap in or pay an availability fee.

City Engineer Brian Ball was prepared to scale the project down to the areas of Norton Road and back to Columbus Road. Councilmember Mike Hillier objected to that project as well. Ball said that anyone whose property the line passed, and did not already have city water, “could be” subject to the availability fee.

Hillier said the amended resolution brought the project back to its starting point, which was to provide water for the fire sprinkler system at the Schnormeier.

The project will also look at installing drainage on the north side of the center, which has experienced ponding and flooding.

In other business, Ball disagreed with a proposal by Councilmember Tanner Salyers that the Utilities Commission of the City of Mount Vernon have two community residents sit on the commission board. Currently, the commission is composed of the safety service director, city engineer and utilities superintendent. There is also a council representative who is a non-voting member.

Ball said that while the commission previously had community representation, it sometimes resulted in “gridlock” when it came time to make what he said were necessary decisions. Ball said that anyone on the commission should have a deep understanding of how the city’s water/sewer utilities run, as well as the EPA. Ball said that he and Utilities Superintendent Mathias Orndorf have certifications in these matters and implied that a community representative who doesn’t have the certifications doesn’t understand what needs to be done on such issues as rate increases.

Salyers said that the city would still have a majority of three to two if his proposal was adopted. Ball said he was not opposed to one community representative, with a provision that would allow another party, such as the mayor, to vote in the case of a tie.

Council accepted the gift of the property at 404 S. Gay St. from the Mount Vernon Development Co. (MVD). The MVD has developed the property with parking, a river viewing area and a small park. The property formerly housed a car wash, which has since been demolished.

Kim Rose, representing the MVD, said the property was part of the development of several other lots in the southeast part of the downtown. The parking at 404 S. Gay will be all be public.

In accepting the property, the city will turn it over to the Ariel-Foundation Park Conservancy.

Rose said the area will serve as a gateway to the park, picking up at the bike trail.

The agreement was amended into a lease agreement between the city and the conservancy approved by council at Monday’s meeting.

Council held a first reading of an ordinance to remove two parking spaces on South Mulberry Street south of West High Street. Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis said the lot next to the parking spaces has an interested buyer, and the spaces are sitting at the place where a drive into the lot will be located.

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