Council hammers out utility lines

Charges were running high at the Feb. 4 Grove City Council meeting regarding underground utility lines.

Council passed an ordinance to set aside $18,121 to relocate overhead utility lines on Old Stringtown Road. The relocation (or burial) of the lines will permit the scheduled reconstruction on the roadway. Councilman Larry Corbin questioned the necessity.

"Why spend the $18,000 when there are already poles up and down the street," he said. "I just don’t see the benefit."

American Electric Power will be burying the lines.

"We are spending $18,000 when overhead lines would cost nothing," Corbin remarked.

In late 2007, council passed legislation that would require council members and city administration to consider underground utility lines when there is a new development or road reconstruction. Corbin voted against the measure. Prior to the legislation, Mayor Ike Stage said the city had an informal policy to consider underground lines when there was to be road reconstruction.

Some council members believe overhead lines create safety issues and jeopardizes the health and lives of motorists and residents. Utility lines can be damaged as a result of accidents, ice storms, lightning strikes, wind storms or other events. This could cause residents to be without communication or electricity for an extended period of time.

As for the project at hand, Stage said it would be a major safety issue if the lines crossing Old Stringtown were to go down. The construction is scheduled to begin in April.

Corbin maintained that the price to go underground is too high.

"We have a responsibility to the taxpayers," he said. "I just don’t see the cost benefit to Grove City residents."

In other news

•Council unanimously approved an ordinance to appropriate $1.4 million from the general fund for the 2008 street program. This program aims to maintain public streets, bike paths, sidewalks and curb ramps throughout the city.

•Council passed an ordinance to pay no more than $150,500 to remove some soil.

City Administrator Sharon Reichard explained that the city would like to develop a parcel of land on Demorest Road for a park. They dug a retention pond, which left excess soil on the site. The city has $45,000 cubic yards of dirt to move. Franklin County Metro Parks plans to take some soil for its Whittier Peninsula Project.

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