Joshua Morrison/News Knox County Service Center employees leaving for the day Friday use the crosswalk on Chestnut Street in Mount Vernon. Several safety improvements are planned for the crosswalk. Currently, a parking space on the north side of the street has been designated no parking to improve visibility of pedestrians.

Joshua Morrison/Mount Vernon News

Knox County Service Center employees leaving for the day Friday use the crosswalk on Chestnut Street in Mount Vernon. Several safety improvements are planned for the crosswalk. Currently, a parking space on the north side of the street has been designated no parking to improve visibility of pedestrians.

 

MOUNT VERNON — The city is looking at safety improvements for a crosswalk between the county parking lot and service center after some near-misses for pedestrians crossing Chestnut Street.

Mount Vernon Safety Service Director Rick Dzik said Friday that a parking space that is obstructing motorist’s views will be removed immediately, with further steps to come later.

The parking space is located on the east side of the pedestrian entrance onto Chestnut Street from the county parking lot. It has been determined that vehicles parked in that spot making it difficult to see pedestrians as they enter the crosswalk, Dzik said, and there have been several “near misses” reported by both pedestrians and motorists.

Dzik said the other safety measures planned for the intersection include flashing lights on either side of Chestnut Street at the crosswalk and removal of the crosswalk farther to the west in front of the old Central School.

The crossing lights will be activated by a button, pushed by pedestrians before they cross. Parking spaces will be put in where the Central School crosswalk entrances currently are. Ramps in the curb will have to be removed and a new curb installed, Dzik said.

Dzik further reported that the exam for patrol officer positions for Mount Vernon Police has been posted for Feb. 19, with an application deadline of Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. The city hopes to hire two new patrol officers as two current patrol officers move into two openings for corporal.

The test results will go to Chief of Police Robert Morgan, who will make hiring decisions, Dzik said.

The patrol officers start at $22.96 per hour, with an increase to $23.79 per hour after six months.

Dzik further reported that he has met with Joel Mazza on the Mulberry Street school building. Mazza has reported some delays in getting started tearing down the school, but said demolition should begin within 45 days.

Streets

A ditch off Coshocton Avenue in the 1100 block that is part of a water drainage system was cleaned up this week, Street Superintendent Tom Hinkle said. The ditch, which is located near the sidewalk, had become overgrown with cattails and small trees and filled with trash. The trash included a large number of pallets and wood boards that looked as though “someone backed up there with a truck and dumped them off,” Hinkle said.

The ditch is part of a water management system that includes ponds. The ponds drain into the ditch.

Hinkle said the ditch has been flooding onto the sidewalk during rain events. He noted that vegetation such as cattails are necessary for drainage ditches to prevent erosion, but this particular ditch had become overgrown.

Wrong-way signs may be in works for Gay and Mulberry streets, Hinkle said. Posted “One Way” signs do not appear to be doing enough to keep people from going the wrong way on the one-way streets. The one-way signs are also currently being assessed to see which older signs require replacements.

Otherwise, Hinkle said his crews were busy this week trimming back trees in alleys in the area of Gay Street from Wooster Road down to Pleasant Street.

Utilities

A leak in a water line off Progress Drive was isolated at both ends with valves, Utilities Superintendent Mathias Orndorf said. The line is out in a field, and the ground is still too soft to bring equipment onto to fix it. No water customers are using the isolated section of the line, Orndorf said.

The problem was discovered recently, and it is not known how long the line has leaked.

Orndorf noted that water bills are being sent out containing information for customers to sign up on the WENS alert system. The system will be used to keep customers informed of boil advisories and other issues. The WENS system is set up to send notifications to cellphones or a voice message to landlines.

Orndorf further reminded customers that cash payments for water are not to be dropped off at the dropbox location. Anyone wishing to pay cash can do so at the window during regular business hours.

Mayor

Following a visit to The Main Place by Mayor Matt Starr, the staff at the mayor’s office will have numbers on hand for persons who find themselves homeless.

Starr said that the office gets calls from people who have nowhere to go. Although the mayor’s office does not offer resources, staff can give people who call in numbers to local agencies that can help them.

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