Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

Council gets $1M grant for bridge

Kraig Noble saluted for 40 years service

By Tom Millhouse
ST. MARYS - An additional $1 million grant has been secured to help cover the cost of the proposed pedestrian bridge across U.S. 33 to the middle/high school campus, city council members learned on Monday.
In a short but busy meeting, councilors also bid adieu to outgoing law director Kraig Noble, who wrapped up 40 years of service to the city, and approved this year's budget with appropriations totaling just over $52.28 million.
Mayor Patrick McGowan said city engineer Craig Moeller learned last week of the $1 million state safety grant. The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $3 million.
"We had been hoping for $500,000, and we received $1 million," McGowan said after the meeting.
The city had already received $2 million in grants toward the cost of the bridge, which will be built east of Murotech Ohio and run at an angle crossing over four lanes of U.S. 33 and an exit ramp.
McGowan praised Moeller for his work to help secure the grant.
"It (the latest grant) will cover almost the entire cost of the bridge," city safety service director Greg Foxhoven said after the meeting.
Plans call for the bridge to be completed in 2022.
Council passed a resolution of appreciation for the tenure of Noble as the longest-serving elected official in city history.
Noble estimated he had attended roughly 800 council meetings during his career.
"I want to thank all the great elected officials and city employees that I worked with," Noble said, adding it had been "a privilege" to serve the community.
Noble said he won't been leaving town and will be available to assist his successor, Zach Ferrall, when needed, adding in three years, St. Marys will celebrate its bicentennial and said "it's not too early to start planning."
The 2020 budget approved by council is well below last year's appropriations, which Foxhoven said totaled about $67 million. He said the reason last year's budget was so much greater was spending on major projects, including the new water treatment plant.
Deb Kable was reappointed as council clerk. Council also approved raising her annual salary from $5,500 to $5,750, which matches council members' pay.
A letter from Moeller advised council of plans to spend $775,000 this year on street work. Reconstruction projects are set for Cheshire Drive from Kingsbury Drive to Oakview Drive at an estimated cost of $227,000 and Kingsbury Drive from Royal Oak Drive to Cheshire Drive at an estimated cost of $145,000.
Resurfacing projects are set for sections of North Street, Yorkshire Court, Sturgeon Street, K.C. Geiger storage building driveway, West Street and Gas Street. The cost of the resurfacing has been estimated at $403,000. Resurfacing alternates are sections of Armstrong Street, Woodridge Drive, Webb Street and Chestnut Street.
McGowan presented his annual mayor's report, which covered 2019 accomplishments and goals for this year.
Last year's highlights cited by McGowan included refurbishing the canal boat and bridge in Memorial Park, securing a contract with Lakeview to handle that village's income taxes, continued work on the new water treatment plant, completing the new police firing range and starting of the Reservoir Mill Restoration Project.
Goals for this year include constructing a splash pad near the High Street shelter house, completing the new water treatment plant and continuing to develop a strategic plan to "help heal Grand Lake St. Marys."
In other action council members,
• approved a five-year contract with Noble Township for fire protection. The contract calls for the city to receive $31,735 the first year and an additional 1% each year the remainder of the agreement.
• scheduled a public hearing on Community Development Block Grant funds for 6:15 p.m. Jan. 27, prior to the regular council meeting.
• approved an annual ordinance authorizing the purchase of various materials, equipment and services for city departments.
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