Spring Street progress continues in Covington

COVINGTON — The Spring Street Reconstruction Project in Covington is ongoing, and Covington Council discussed the progress on it on Monday evening before approving a pay request of $381,321.65 for the project.

Grant money is funding $50,000 of the pay request, according to Brice Schmitmeyer of Access Engineering Solutions. Approximately $200,000 is drawn out the on Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) zero percent, 30-year loan. According to Schmitmeyer, there is approximately $500,000 available in total through that loan.

The local contribution for the pay request will be approximately $130,000. According to Schmitmeyer, prior to this pay request, around $1,077,000 has been contributed in total to the Spring Street Project.

“The bulk of that is grant money,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said.

During the various updates given on the Spring Street Project, Busse explained that the curb installation portion is around 75 percent done. The construction of sidewalks and approaches is expected to begin later on during this week.

Busse also remarked early on in the meeting about spots added to the Spring Street Project.

“There [are] a couple soft spots on Ludlow Street,” Busse said. According to Busse, those spots were not initially mentioned as spots that were going to be addressed, including a soft spot on Harrison Street. Due to truck traffic, they will now need to be looked into before the village is in the middle of the repaving process.

“They appear to be old trenches for water lines and sewer lines,” Busse said. Busse explained that, in the past, gravel backfill was not used in constructing those lines like they are today.

The work on the project is expected to wrap up in August.

Also on Monday evening’s agenda, the council approved a contract with Wagner Paving for $44,942.50 for the 2015 Street Resurfacing Project.

“There’s no outside funding in this,” Schmitmeyer said. “It’s all village funding.”

Wagner Paving was the only bidder on the project. The quote breakdown from them included $39,807.50 for Industrial Drive and the south end of Dick Minnich. The remaining $5,135.00 is for the park path.

“We definitely need to do Minnich Drive,” Mayor Ed McCord said. “It’s really bad. It’s not going to make it through the winter.”

The park path was added onto the project after an insurance carrier consultant identified “significant trip hazards” on the path that could harm people, Busse said. The discussion about including the park path in this resurfacing project led to questions about who should be allowed to use the path.

“Are we sure we want vehicles traveling in the park past the playground area?” Board Member Joyce Robertson asked. Robertson stated that, in the past, there was a walkway there that vehicles could not utilize.

“And when we had things to do at the park, we would park as close to the concession stand as possible,” Robertson said. From there, they would carry their things the rest of the way, Robertson said.

“We typically don’t take much down through there except the lawn mowers and the occasional pickup truck that cleans something up,” Busse said. When there are events held down there, there are other people who travel down there “pretty heavily,” Busse said.

“Well, I think one of the things we look at is Fort Rowdy,” McCord said. McCord said that allowing vehicles to use the park path saves grassy areas of the park from getting damaged or “torn up.”

The council decided to hold more discussion of allowing vehicles on the park path for a later meeting as the purpose of resurfacing the path was a safety issue for people walking or running on the path.

“It’s to eliminate those trip hazards,” Busse said. “[It] really has nothing to do with vehicles.”

The council also held a public hearing during their regular meeting on Monday evening to discuss current zoning regulations regarding fences. In the current regulations, it states, “In any side or rear yard, all fences, wall, landscaping or screening such as rocks, hedges, or bushes shall be at least three (3) feet inside the property line.”

“Kind of what the Planning and Zoning [Committee] discussed was whether or not the three-foot setback fence regulation is what we want to have or do we want to lesson that requirement to allow the fence to be closer to the property line,” Busse said.

This three-foot setback creates an issue for residents who want to build a fence that will “T into” or connect with their neighbor’s fence. For neighbors who decide to do that, it means that one neighbor will be absorbing property that is not his or her own into his or her yard. The issue other Busse mentioned would be if the council decided to get rid of that three-foot setback, then some fences may end up running inches apart.

“You might consider some sort of regulations that say you can only do it if this other condition doesn’t exist,” Busse said, should the council decide to get rid of the three-foot setback. “The only issue there is… that who gets there first issue.”

“I’m one that wants to put a new fence up,” Kathy Miller of Covington said. Miller said that she has already spoken with one neighbor who does not mind if she has a fence near the property as that neighbor may want to connect to it one day.

Miller also pointed out that with having fences set back three feet on each side of the property line, there’s the issue of lawn maintenance.

“Somebody’s got to mow in there,” Miller said. “It just makes it easier… if you can have that fence on the property line.”

“I know that since I pay property taxes on my yard, I don’t want to set a fence back three [feet],” Judith Smith of Covington said. “That three foot’s my property.”

“As long as it’s adjacent to your property line, that’s fine with me,” McCord said.

The council did not vote on this issue during that meeting.

Other items approved during the council’s meeting:

  • An ordinance to provide services for the school annexation property
  • A resolution approving the annexation for the new PK-8 school building
  • A resolution approving the 2016 tax budget
  • A resolution allowing the Village Administrator to prepare and apply for an OPWC grant application

For all the items approved on the agenda, the council voted to waive the three reading rule.