MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon city officials said Friday utilities work on South Main Street causing traffic issues that were “unexpected and unannounced.”

A northbound lane of South Main Street near Baker’s IGA has been shut down as CenturyLink does some work on their lines. City Safety Services Director Rick Dzik said CenturyLink did not inform the city of the work ahead of time.

“CenturyLink is doing some unanounced work on poles, and it is causing some traffic issues at peak (traffic) hours,” Dzik said.

City Engineer Brian Ball said it appears as though the Ohio Department of Transportation, while doing other work, hit the main CenturyLink communications line.

Attempts to contact CenturyLink public relations representatives Friday were unsuccessful. It is not known how long the disruption to traffic will last.

Mount Vernon Police Chief Robert Morgan said his department is trying to work with CenturyLink “to see what we can do to help with the (traffic) flow.” He said a duty sargeant was to go to talk to the work crews Friday.

Dzik noted that any utility that has to do work in the street has to file a permit with the city. However, they do not have to file if they are working above the street on utility lines, even if their work necessitates shutting down a lane of traffic, Dzik said. Still, Dzik said a head’s up would have been appreciated just the same.

Utilities

The first stormwater utility payments will appear on bills this month.

Dzik said there are roughly 100 customers, mostly businesses, for whom the rates have not yet been determined.

This will be the first time water customers see how much they will be charged. Residential customers will be charged $4, with their property counted as one parcel. There is an appeals process through the utility department written into the stormwater utility ordinance, if a property owner believes the bill is incorrect.

The fee will fund improvements and maintenance to the city’s stormwater infrastructure.

Streets

Dzik approved a temporary change for McArthur Street between East Chestnut and East High streets designating it as a one-way street. Effective Aug. 3 to Nov. 20, traffic will enter at Chestnut and exit on East High.

The change comes about through discussions with St. Vincent De Paul school to make McArthur safer for schoolchildren, Mayor Matt Starr said. The street will have a fire lane that parents will be permitted to use when dropping off or picking up their kids.

Dzik only has the authority as a safety service director to change the street direction for 90 days; he is preparing legislation for the city council to approve making the change permanent.

Asphalt work at the Parrott Street railroad intersection did not begin as planned this week, but is expected to start next week. The work will also include a drain and new sidewalks.

The city used 16 tons of asphalt patching potholes and filling road excavations this week, Streets Superintendant Tom Hinkle said. The work on potholes is expected to go all summer.

Police

Morgan said MVPD will not be enforcing Gov. DeWine’s order requiring the wearing of masks. Morgan said he met with the Knox County Sheriff and other village police departments this week and all are of one accord.

Morgan said the chiefs and sheriff “have come to the conclusion” that enforcing mask use “could be overwhelming.” Morgan said reports will be turned over to Knox Public Health.

Mayor

Joshua Morrison/News Bluegrass band Six Miles to Nellie packed the yard, while socially distancing, at the Schnormeier Event Center at Ariel-Foundation Park Friday night. The concert was sponsored by the Mount Vernon Music and Arts Festival as part of the Summer in the City series of events. For a listing of more events check out mountvernonohio.org.

Joshua Morrison/News
Bluegrass band Six Miles to Nellie packed the yard, while socially distancing, at the Schnormeier Event Center at Ariel-Foundation Park Friday night. The concert was sponsored by the Mount Vernon Music and Arts Festival as part of the Summer in the City series of events. For a listing of more events check out mountvernonohio.org.

Starr reported that the popularity of the summer concert series at Ariel-Foundation Park, as well as poor parking, necessitated the move of Friday’s concert from the Park National Pavilion to the Schnormeier Event Center.

Spectators were to sit on the terraces between the event center and the Rastin Tower.

To follow social distancing, the event center doors on the opposite side will be closed, with only the doors open on the tower side for the band.

 

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