Mount Vernon received $650,000 in federal Community Development Block Grants for infrastructure improvements in the city.
The $500,000 grant will go to renovate the Catherine and Oak Street intersection project, replacing everything from water and sewer lines to stormwater systems, Mayor Matt Starr told the Mount Vernon News.
The $150,000 grant will fund sidewalk construction on Sandusky Street, helping fulfill the city’s alternative transportation goals of enabling pedestrians and bicyclists to travel without cars.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony occurred at the Energy Fieldhouse
at Mount Vernon High School on Friday. The grants will make the community more competitive, Starr said. He also expressed excitement about getting started on developing Mount Vernon’s first strategic plan, which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. A steering committee will be announced; with focus groups, online surveys and other ways for people to participate.
The storm in Mount Vernon this week knocked out power to one of the city’s pumping stations, followed by a generator failure and leading to the “boil water” advisory; Mathias Orndorf, public utility director, told The News.
The affected 35 homes were in the Wedgewood, Culbertson and Greenbrier Drive area.
The week marked the first month for the city to shut off water service to customers. This was the first set of shutoffs Mount Vernon has done since COVID-19 hit, Orndorf said.
A new traffic signal became functional at Ohio and South Main Street, adding a left turn lane. A sensor in the turn lane gives priority to vehicles making the turn; Brian Ball, city engineer, said. The change also improves pedestrian safety by separating pedestrian crossing times and left turns.
With school back in session, Police Chief Robert Morgan asked Mount Vernon residents to slow down and watch out for kids going to and from school on their bikes and walking. Areas with complaints are being targeted. He also asked people at events at the city square to be respectful.
Streets and parks
Intersection improvements at Main and Vine now require shutting down East Vine Street between Main and Gay streets for a couple of hours on Monday to remove a traffic signal pole.
The city got help from local hunters clearing out nuisance geese in Ariel-Foundation Park, with 65 geese culled. The geese get aggressive when nesting in the spring and are a source of E. coli.