L.J. DeWeese Co. Inc. awarded contract

PIQUA — L.J. DeWeese Co. Inc. was awarded the construction contract for the Safe Routes to School Improvements Project during the Piqua City Commission meeting Tuesday evening.

The contract is not to exceed $677,500.

“We are to the point where we’re moving to construction,” city engineer Amy Havenar said. “We’re very excited to move forward with this.”

The $677,500 contract includes a 10 percent contingency. The Safe Routes to School grant funded $499,915 for the design and construction of the project, according to the staff report. There is $453,000 left over after the cost for the design to go towards to the cost of construction. The remaining funds will come from the city’s 2015 budget.

“This, again, will be the construction of handicap ramps throughout the community, the replacement of some sidewalks and curbs that are damaged, and we also have a multi-use path going to the junior high,” Havenar said. “And then, again, this would involve the removal of some of the traffic signals as well.”

Havenar stated that they would like to begin immediately. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.

The commission also held a public hearing during their regular meeting regarding filing the 2016 County Tax Budget for the city of Piqua with the Miami County Budget Commission. The commission voted to approve it.

“The 2016 County Tax Budget is projected to be $144.4 million,” according to Finance Director Cynthia Holtzapple. According to Holtzapple, that is an increase of $7.2 million or 5.3 percent “more than the latest 2015 estimates due to several major projects in the Enterprise funds.”

Following those resolutions, the commission awarded a contract to Underground Utilities, Inc. for the Garbry Road Water Main Extension project. According to Resolution No. R-104-15, Underground Utilities Inc. will install a new 16” water main along Garbry Road from Keinle Drive to U. S. Route 36. This new water main is expected to finish “the water loop from the East Ash Street water tower,” according to the staff report.

The contract is not to exceed $358,500, which includes at 10 percent contingency. It will be funded through the Water Department funds.

For the next contract on the agenda, the commission also approved a contract to Grissom Construction LLC for the Garnsey Street Sidewalk Replacement project. Grissom Construction LLC will be replacing portions of sidewalk and drive approaches on the 300 and 400 blocks of Garnsey Street, according to the staff report.

“This is all just curb and sidewalk and some drive approaches,” Havenar said. Havenar added later on, “We’re going through and getting the worst portions of the sidewalk. … It’s going to look really nice.”

The contract is not to exceed $60,000. The FY 2014 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Community Development Allocation Program is funding the project.

For the last resolution on the agenda, the commission approved a contract to Roe Transportation Enterprises for the demolition of the property at 102 S. Main Street, which was donated to the city in 2013. The goal of the demolition is to remove the unsafe structure and contribute the space to the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Strategy. The contract is not to exceed $38,500 and is funded by 2015 budget allocations.

“The roof is partially collapsed,” city of Piqua Economic Development Director Justin Sommer said. Sommer stated that the building in general is “in poor condition and cannot be saved.”

On the order of old business, the commission held the second reading of an ordinance to establish consistent curfew hours throughout all of the city parks. According to City Attorney Stacy Wall, this will also rid the ordinance of guidelines that should be rules in the park but not a part of city law. In this new ordinance, no one will be allowed to enter or remain in the city parks between dusk and 7 a.m. the following day. There are exceptions for Linear Park and for parks with sports fields during tournament time.

During the last meeting, commissioners expressed concerns about smoking in the park. Wall amended the ordinance after the first reading to provide “tighter regulations to protect the children” in the legislation, according to Wall.

“Smoking will be permitted in the designated portions of the park,” Wall said.

There will be signs designating those areas.

During Tuesday evening’s discussion surrounding this ordinance, Mayor Lucy Fess and Commissioner Judy Terry mentioned concerns from a resident who had been upset over children speaking foul language within one of the parks. Wall stated that the city cannot make any legislation or post any signage about foul language due to it conflicting with freedom of speech.

“I would encourage everybody to go over and say, ‘Hey, we don’t do that here,’” Terry said. Wall also said that there is nothing stopping someone from approaching a group using foul language and asking them to be courteous and to stop.

During public comment after the commission’s discussion of this ordinance, James Cruse of the Piqua Park Board approached the commission and wanted to know why the Park Board had not been involved in the creation or discussion of this ordinance.

“This has happened several times,” Cruse said. “When it’s related to the parks, we like to be involved.”

“It’s not an oversight,” Wall said. “The Park Board is an advisory board.”

City Manager Gary Huff and the commission spoke further with Cruse about setting up a special meeting with the Park Board to discuss the ordinance before the third reading of it. Huff explained that there was a difference between the laws and legislation for the city code versus the rules and regulations of the parks that the Park Board goes over.

The commission also heard a special presentation from Nathan Burkholder on the Piqua Activity Day, which will be held on Saturday, July 18, from 9-11 a.m. It will be located at lower Fountain Park. The event is open to children between preschool and sixth grade, Burkholder said. Children five and younger are still allowed to participate with the preschoolers, and children above sixth grade will be placed with the older children.

“The goal this year is to pack the park with over 100 children,” Burkholder said.

Attendees can register at the event or beforehand online at piquaactivityday.weebly.com.