PIQUA — Mayor Kazy Hinds kicked off the Piqua City Commission meeting Tuesday evening with a proclamation naming May as Bike Month and the week of May 2-6 as Bike to Work and Bike to School Week in Piqua.
“For more than a century, the bicycle has been an important part of the lives of most Americans,” Hinds said. “Today, millions of Americans engage in bicycling as an environmentally sound form of transportation, an excellent form of fitness, and as a quality family recreation activity.”
Hinds highlighted some of the bicycle-centered events that Piqua hosts, including the annual Bike Blessing, Bicycle Rodeo, Bike to Work/Bike to School Week, Piqua Bike Challenge, Moonlight Stride and Rides, and the Groovy Gourd Bike Tour.
“These bicycling activities and attractions have a positive impact on Piqua’s economy and tourism industry and to stimulate economic development by making the city attractive to businesses and citizens who enjoy the out of doors and healthy lifestyles,” Hinds said.
Hinds added that creating a bicycle-friendly city contributes to residents’ health and overall well-being as well as reduces pollution and traffic congestion. Hinds also commended groups like the League of American Bicyclists and the local advocacy organization Bike Piqua — members of which were present during the meeting — for promoting public awareness about cycling and their safety education.
The commission also took the time to honor retired city employee Chris A. Werst, who was formerly a water plant maintenance working supervisor with the Water Department. City Manager Gary Huff said that Werst was a dedicated employee for the city for 30 years.
“We will certainly miss his experience,” Huff said.
Also on the agenda, the commission approved their fuel contract with Speedway, LLC as the city’s provider of fuel, gasoline, and diesel. The city has been purchasing their fuel from Speedway for 12 years and the contract will be renewed for July 2016 to June 2019. Approximately $448,259 is budgeted for fuel for 2016.
Next on the agenda, the commission awarded the 2016 Street Resurfacing Program contract to Walls Bros. Asphalt Co. The contract is not to exceed $335,000.
“They’re a very good company, and they’ll do us a fine job,” City Engineer Amy Havenar said.
In addition to the streets that Walls Bros. will be working on, Commissioner Joe Wilson noted, “Our city crews will be paving other streets as well.”
Huff stated that the street department is currently working on repaving and repairing different alleys.
The commission also approved the purchase of property on Wood Street along with temporary and permanent easements from Transformed Life Church. The purchase is part of the Garnsey Street/Commercial Street Corridor Neighborhood Connector Project and will be for the installation of a proposed multi-use path for this project.
Havenar explained how the acquisition of the easements and the creation of the proposed multi-use path “would sever the property owned by Transformed Life Church” and create unusable portions of property for the church. It was deemed necessary for the city to pay additional compensation to the church.
The city will be purchasing those remaining pieces of property where this project will affect its value along with a temporary easement for the construction of the multi-use path and a permanent easement for the location of the path. The total cost for the easements and property will be approximately $34,164.
The commission went into executive session to further consider and discuss the purchase.
Also covered during the commission’s meeting:
• The second reading of an ordinance making minor changes to a portion of the Piqua Municipal Code in regard to sewers
• The second reading of an ordinance that will submit a proposed amendment to the Piqua Charter for the November General Election ballot, which will update when the commission can go into executive session
• The commission approved granting utility easements to Vectren to maintain their gas main system. The easements are located in the public parking lot behind the Fort Piqua Plaza, in the public parking lot behind Hallmark, and the public parking lot between Wayne Street and Main Street next to the bike path
• The commission approved granting temporary and permanent easements adjacent to the bike path on Sunset Drive to Vectren as part of their transmission modernization projects in 2016, and Vectren will be paying the city $7,530 for the easements
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall