PIQUA — A vote on the submission of grant applications to the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) raised questions and dissatisfactions Tuesday evening at the Piqua City Commission meeting, prompting Commissioner Bill Vogt to call the bridge at Lock 9 Park “ugly” and express frustration at ADA compliance.
By a vote of 3-1, the commission authorized the city manager to apply for federal Fast Act funds through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission for three major projects. Commissioner Joe Wilson voted against the legislation. The following projects will be submitted to MVRPC as the city’s priority projects:
• Looney Road resurfacing project, local match of $270,000, which would consist of milling and overlaying the roadway from County Road 25-A to East Ash Street with a new asphalt surface
• Great Miami River trail bridge project, local match of $332,000, which would construct a new multi-use path bridge crossing the Great Miami River west of the parking lot at Goodrich Giles Park
• Ohio to Indiana trail bridge project, local match of $1,131,761, which would replace the existing wood decking and vertical rail support system with a new concrete deck and new railing
“The city will be looking at multiple other grant sources,” City Engineer Amy Havenar said. City Manager Gary Huff later added that it was not the city’s intent to pay the approximate $1.3 million local share for the last project mentioned, but they were required to submit the application for grant funding in that manner.
“(With) the Lock 9 bridge, we’ve had tremendous problems with fires,” Huff said.
This project would remove all of the wood and make it concrete it concrete and steel, he explained.
If the city received the funding from MVRPC, it was suggested that if the city decided against moving forward with those projects at a later date, it would negatively impact their chances of receiving grant from MVRPC in the future.
“I know in the past when we’ve applied for funds and considered not using them, it was a considered a negative impact on future grants,” Wilson said.
“It would be if we change our mind. We have that option,” Huff said. He added he hoped that by 2022 — the year that this project was estimated to take place — if the city secured other grants and there were hardly any local funds being used for the project, “it wouldn’t be an issue.”
Vogt then expressed frustration at the current appearance of the Lock 9 Bridge apart from the wood decking.
“If we redo this bridge — take all of the railroad ties and wood off of that — it would make it fireproof, right?” Vogt said. “We (would) have a nice fireproof bridge sitting on a bunch of railroad iron going from one side to the other. It’s black and rusty … are they going to redo that, too? Are they going to paint that, or are they just going to leave it ugly?”
Vogt also suggested the idea to “give up on the roundabout” and put all of that money into the Lock 9 Bridge, to which no one responded. Vogt also asked if they could only put the grant funding amount toward improvements toward the bridge and either provide a minimal or no local match.
“Obviously, there is cost in replacing the decking,” Economic Development Director Justin Sommer said. “The greater concern, particularly from the federal government, is the ADA compliance and the access.” Sommer added, “If we were to do that, it would have to be applied toward the ADA compliance.”
Vogt expressed more frustations, saying later in the meeting, “Every corner in town has to be ADA (compliant), and we spend a lot of money on ADA (compliance) … I’m tired of the ADA, and I’m tired of the compliance.”
Vogt was eventually on board with pursuing funding, saying, “We might as well apply for it.”
Also during their meeting, the commission authorized acquiring a portion of property and easements on a site located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Garbry and Looney roads for the roundabout that will be built there in 2018. Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company currently owns the property. The cost for the portion of that property and the easements is not to exceed $19,635.
Also, the commission approved supporting and participating in the improvement of the north side of the intersection of Troy-Sidney and Statler roads. The city of Piqua would pay for 20 percent of the local share of the project at approximately $14,700.
The commission also approved purchasing liability insurance for the city’s combustion turbines. The city will purchase coverage from Chubb, the lowest quote received. The amount is not to exceed $92,406.
The commission later approved a five-year contract with Evans, Mechart, Hambelton, & Tilton, Inc. for a full-scale utility geographical information system (GIS) implementation to map city utilities for the Underground Utilities Department. The total cost is not to exceed $765,450, which includes a 5 percent contingency.
The commission also voted on the purchase of Bayman’s Auto Sales, 201 Spring St., as it has been identified as a redevelopment opportunity. This legislation was voted on after press time. The commission discussed this and other property purchases in executive session.
Mayor Kazy Hinds was absent during the meeting.
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