MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon City Council voted to move forward on a loan agreement with the Westgate Mobile Home Community for the construction of a new water system.
Under the agreement, the city would secure funding for the water system, as well as have it installed. Westgate would be written into the loan agreement, requiring them to make the payments.
City Engineer Brian Ball said the city will apply for Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) funds to complete the project. The funding package the city will apply for will probably be 50 percent grant funds, and a loan making up the other 50 percent, Ball said.
Westgate has its own metered water system, but uses city water. The existing system was installed too shallow, and pipes freezing is a problem during the winter.
Westgate Owner Joseph Badalamenti said the project needs to happen.
“It has to be done, whether it happens this year or next year,” he said. “It’s a big burden on all of our shoulders” at the mobile home community.
Ball said the loan could be for a term of 30 years, but Auditor Terry Scott said he would prefer a 20-year loan. The project cost is expected to fall between “400,000-$500,000,” Ball said.
In other business, the council approved a resolution to move forward on the North Main/Chestnut streets intersection improvement project. Ball described the work as “rounding the intersection,” moving back sidewalks and traffic signal poles to allow commercial trucks more room to make northbound turns.
As the intersection currently stands, trucks turning north onto North Main from either direction on Chestnut have to roll over the sidewalks or cut into the oncoming turn lane.
The project is estimated at $523,608. The city received $338,476 in grant funds for the project, with the city putting up the rest of the funds.
Ball said the project will make traffic through the area move more efficiently as trucks can make the turns easier and more quickly. However, during the estimated five to six weeks of construction, detours will be posted and that area of town will temporarily see issues with traffic flow.
The project cuts away at sidewalks on the north side of Chestnut at the YMCA and North Main Cafe. The cafe has held off paving its parking lot until the project is completed.
The project will further involve the installation of sidewalks east to Gay Street, Ball said.
Council further gave the green light to hire the Kleingers Group for design plans for a stormwater drainage project for the former Shelmar industrial site. The stormwater system will be designed with multiple tenants in mind for the entire site. The site will be broken up into several parcels, rather than trying to find one large company to take over the entire site.
The Knox County Land Bank has agreed to go halves on the cost of the project. There is a business interested in purchasing a lot at the site, Ball said.
Towing companies will now be responsible for abandoned and junk vehicles which were formerly taken to the city’s impound lot. Council passed a resolution amending city ordinances, allowing for local towing companies to claim the abandoned vehicles and seek recovery of tow and storage costs on their own.
The amendments were brought by Mount Vernon Police Chief Robert Morgan. Morgan said that previously, the city would have abandoned and junk vehicles towed to the city impound lot. The city would recoup its costs by selling the vehicles for scrap.
However, scrap metal prices have plunged and the city is losing money on these vehicles, Morgan said. The impound lot will still be used for DUI and criminal cases, as well as storing vehicles seized as evidence.
Council further approved the removal of a traffic light at the intersection of Hamtramck and North Main streets. The light will be replaced with a stop sign for westbound traffic on Hamtramck.