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Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

St. Marys asks $10M for canal cleanup

Health risks cited in report

By Ed Gebert
ST. MARYS - The city is seeking $10 million in state capital funds to help clean up the Miami-Erie Canal through town.
Mayor Patrick McGowan said at Monday's city council meeting that the request dovetails with the release of a water quality study by KCI Inc., an engineering, consulting and construction firm.
"I presented this study today to Representative Craig Riedel. Mr. Riedel has agreed to carry it forward to the state," McGowan said.
The purpose of the study is to determine primary modifications to the canal system to eliminate the odors and health-quality risks due to poor water quality.
"There have been many, many hours put in by city employees on this," McGowan said. "The water quality remains very poor in the canal. As you know, it's only eight inches deep in many portions of it. We'd like to get this cleaned up, especially for the healthy well-being of our citizens."
City officials will not learn if they will receive the funding for another two years, when the next state budget is finalized.
"Whoever is governor at that time will have to sign off on it," McGowan noted.
The state funds would be used for projects including dredging and lining the canal with rocks from the aqueduct up to U.S. 33. McGowan said having the plan was necessary to request the state funds.
Officials also requested state funds totaling $250,000 for a splash pad, which also will not be considered before the next state budget.
In other action, council members approved an ordinance authorizing safety service director Greg Foxhoven to join a coalition of officials from municipalities planning to legally challenge the constitutionality of a new state law allowing the state to assume control over collection of municipal income taxes. Law director Kraig Noble said joining the fight would cost the city about $2,000.
Members gave second reading to two ordinances. The first would vacate an east-west alley in the North Addition. The 12-foot stretch lies west of Perry Street, south of North Street and north of High Street. It runs from the north-south alley west of Perry Street east to Perry Street between North and High streets.
The other ordinance would zone a recently annexed two-acre property northwest of the city as R-3 single-family residential.
The vacant property is northwest of the State Route 66 and Shipman Road intersection. No members of the public or council objected to either ordinance. Both will return for third and final reading at council's next regular meeting.
Members also forwarded a request for the vacation of an alley in the Hillsdale First Addition to the planning commission for consideration and approved the transfer of ownership of a liquor permit from St. Marys Marathon on West South Street to Phil's One Stop.
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