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Greenfield has go ahead to open railroad project for bids

By Angela Shepherd ashepherd@civitasmedia.com

April 17, 2014

It’s been a while coming, but the village of Greenfield on Wednesday got the go ahead to put the long-awaited improvement and repairs project for the village’s rail spur out for bids, the city manger told council members at its regular meeting this week.


After many months of dealing with title paperwork and the ownership-proving documentation of the 29 miles of railway, Greenfield Law Director Brian Zets reported to council that all of that had, finally, been completed and submitted to the Economic Development Administration. And, city manger Ron Coffey said that on Wednesday afternoon he received an email from the EDA saying that the project is approved to put out for bids.


The EDA awarded more than $2 million in grant monies for the upgrade and repair of Greenfield’s 29-mile rail spur. That money, coupled with other grants and contributions, put the funding package for the project at nearly $3.8 million. But since news came of the award in September 2012, Greenfield administrators have been working to get all of the EDA’s requirements met and facing the challenges as they have come.


Since the monies were awarded, village administrators have dealt with title paperwork issues, easements, wildlife surveys, flood plain impacts, and everything in between along the whole of the rail spur.


But as of Wednesday, Coffey said it has all been satisfied, but he added that Zets will likely have to draw up legislation before bids can be advertised.


Coffey said they have a few other “ends to tie up” with fast-approaching deadlines on state grants, but he said the state has been understanding of the situation.


“We are confident that the state agencies involved will work with us to see this project through as it represents a huge benefit for our region,” Coffey said. “Our council members, local and state elected officials and federal officials have all been very helpful throughout this process.”


On Thursday, Coffey said the project “is expected to create 72 jobs, save 812 jobs, and leverage $8.8 million in private investment. So it will have a ripple effect throughout the region. Our current shipping customers, Johnson Controls, Candle-lite and Huhtamaki, depend on the railroad for delivery of many of their supplies used to manufacture car seats, candles and plastic food ware.


“Our hope is that construction on the project can begin this summer or fall,” Coffey said. “We still have a lot to do, but getting this approval from the EDA has cleared a major hurdle for Greenfield and this part of southern Ohio.”


In other business, Coffey reported that a grant has been approved through the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation to the tune of more than $31,000. With the money, Coffey said, items to be purchased that will improve worker safety include a hydraulic jackhammer and a milling machine for a skid steer, hydraulic chainsaw for cutting pipe, manhole lifters, lift gates for pickup trucks, and a cylinder dolly for handling chemical cylinders.


The total cost of the items to be purchased is nearly $42,000, Coffey said, but with the grant monies the cost to the village will be just shy of $10,500.


Also reported Wednesday was that sealed bids for the village’s farmland will be opened on April 23 at 1 p.m. There are about 175 acres available, with 11 of those acres located in Ross County. Bid packets are available at the village offices located on the third floor of the city building.


The city manger reported that Thrifton Road is still closed due to crumbling concrete through the railroad overpass, but the train is still running. Coffey and Greenfield Public Service Director Brian Smith were to meet with Ross County engineer Charles Ortman on Thursday to discuss repair options to the overpass and the reopening of Thrifton Road.


On another matter, council member Bill Redenbaugh reported that the contract for Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire’s station two building in Paint Township has been finalized and received back from the county prosecutor.


Redenbaugh said the fire board anticipates ground breaking on the building next month with anticipated completion sometime in the summer.


He said the fire district has also received a grant from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, and the monies will be use to purchase power cots which, he said, will aid in the transport of patients over uneven ground and will make getting cots into and out of the squad easier.


The next meeting of the Paint Creek fire board is April 22 at 7 p.m. at station one on Washington Street in Greenfield. The meetings are open to the public.


Finally, upcoming events in Greenfield were also discussed and the events are as follows:


• April 25, Arbor Day - Ron Coffey, council chair Betty Jackman and Ron Dudley will visit local nursing homes as well as Greenfield first graders. Trees will be planted at the nursing homes, and pin oak and redbud tree seedlings will be passed out to the first graders.


• May 10, Cleanup Day - The cleanup will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Community Sanitation will provide a dumpster that will be placed near the railroad tracks on South Washington Street, across from the Waddell Company.


• May 17, Greenfield Middle School Student Council 5K Run - The third annual event will be held at Felson Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Entry for the event is $20 and registration prior to May 2 will ensure the entrant receiving a t-shirt at the event. Proceeds will help local community members with the spay/neuter of pets. Proceeds will also be donated to a local animal shelter.


• June 6-7 and Aug. 1-2, Community Wide Yard Sale - For more information on the Community Wide Yard Sale go to www.greenfieldyardsale.info or search Greenfield Community Wide Yard Sale on Facebook.


Angela Shepherd can be reached at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @ashepherdHTG.