A grant the Village of Greenfield recently applied for could allow the village to build a pedestrian bridge on the west end of town that would keep those on foot more safe.
While City Manager Todd Wilkin was not able to be present for Tuesday’s council meeting, he left a report for council. In that report he said Greenfield recently applied for $462,000 for a pedestrian bridge and sidewalks on the west side of town where there are no sidewalks and no way to cross a small creek without walking across a vehicle bridge.
“This grant will provide the necessary access and create a safe barrier between vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic,” Wilkin wrote.
The village has also applied for an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant funds for $250,000 to help make necessary improvements to the railroad. Wilkin reported that the village is seeking an additional $125,000 from the Highland County Board of Commissioners to help with railroad repairs.
The railroad project completed a couple years ago was not able to accomplish what was intended when the project was initially funded four years before construction was able to start. After the passage of that time and materials price increases, it became a matter of fixing what was most in need of fixing, Wilkin said previously, including tie replacements, crossing improvements, and fixing the bridge east of the village where two previous derailments occurred.
In his report for Tuesday’s meeting, Wilkin said that several bridge deficiencies have been brought to light following a review of recent bridge inspections by the railroad’s operator of record, the Indiana & Ohio Railway. He said those issues “need addressed immediately.”
Wilkin also reported that there will be changes at the wastewater treatment plant following notification from Jim McCoy that he will be retiring as the treatment plant operator of record on May 31.
The city manager said the EPA has agreed to allow the village to operate the treatment plant on a temporary basis for a two-year period with a Class II operator. That will give Tate Wagner, who will be named the new operator of record, the opportunity to obtain his class III license, which he will be eligible to test for next year.
“We want to personally thank Jim for his years of service and dedication to the Greenfield community. He will be missed, but we wish him the best in his retirement,” Wilkin wrote.
Also reported was that a signup sheet has been posted for the next police sergeant promotional exam. This is to prepare to fill the void after Sgt. Gary Schraw’s retirement in July, Wilkin said. The exam will be performed by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police in June, and then the association will provide a recommendation for the next sergeant.
Wilkin said that the police department will still be at the same staffing level as it is currently.
“The size of government is important to us,” Wilkin wrote, “and we do not want to burden the general fund more than we should.”
The city manager reported that the village payroll has been reduced over the last year, even with a 2-percent raise for village employees. He said the payroll a year ago was $52,262 every two weeks, and now it is $50,730 every two weeks. Over a year’s time, that is $39,832 less payout.
Wilkin also included in his report that rains on May 17 caused a “significant flooding event” at Sycamore Glen, a housing development off North 11th Street. Solutions are being discussed with Gary Silcott, who is with engineering consultant Stantec, but “we have identified a significant infrastructure deficiency that needs to be resolved,” Wilkin said.
He said all the rain created sanitary sewer overflows and has put “severe stress” on the lift station, which is now leaking antifreeze. Infiltration and inflow into the sanitary sewer system continues to be observed.
Wilkin said there is a plan to address the issues, but it will require “a tremendous amount of money.”
A house in the 200 block of Edgewood Avenue has recently come to the attention of village officials. According to Public Service Director Gary Lewis, the house is a cause of complaints from the neighborhood due to things like the home’s state of disrepair and also “suspicious activity” that neighbors have reported.
The home’s owner lives out of state, and there have been no utility services at the home for a number of years, Lewis reported. There are also back taxes owed on the property, Lewis said.
The village will explore “all possible means to alleviate the neighborhood of the problem,” Lewis said. He said the first step will be to get a building inspector to evaluate the condition of the home and potentially condemn it.
April Barber, co-leader of local Girl Scout Troop 1645, spoke to council about projects that the troop members might be able to coordinate with the city, sustainable projects that help the girls earn their Bronze and Silver awards, and that upcoming troops can continue.
Council voiced support for the effort and directed Barber to speak to Wilkin and Lewis to discuss potential projects.
Bruce Snavely, president of the Concerned Veterans of Greenfield, talked to council about Monday’s annual Memorial Day Parade, which is organized by the group.
He said World War II veteran and Greenfield native Ed Robinette will be this year’s grand marshal in the parade, and the program at the cemetery will consist of speaker Shaun Stevenson and singing and musical performances by Greenfield students.
Snavely also called for military veterans who are interested in joining the group to call him or Dave Ellenberger, or to come to a meeting. The quarterly meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of a quarter. Snavely can be reached at 937-981-3188, and Ellenberger at 740-572-3402.
Council member Eric Borsisni reminded local residents that the village has a website (greenfieldohio.net) as well as a Facebook page (Village of Greenfield, Ohio) and that news and information is posted to both.
Borsini also spoke about the village working on multiple things to the betterment of the community, like sidewalks and potholes, and reminded people that the small village is doing its best to spread its limited funds where they are most needed.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Village of Greenfield.