The end is finally near for an eyesore Canal Winchester has tried to clean up for more than a decade.
Canal Winchester Village Council authorized emergency legislation for a $6,000 contract with Franklin County to demolish the former Parker Marathon station as the first step in cleaning up and redeveloping the 18 W. Waterloo St. site.
The Franklin County Commissioners are amenable to reimbursing the village for the cost of demolition, contingent on Canal Winchester extending redevelopment initiatives in an amount equal to the value of demolition costs.
The block structure will be torn down and the site leveled off. Franklin County Treasurer Ed Leonard, who attended the Oct. 20 council meeting, expected the demolition project to be done by the end of October. He said the state has a revolving loan fund from the Environmental Protection Agency, which will be tapped to pay for the removal of underground storage tanks next year.
"We’ve been working on this project for a while," Leonard said. "We were hoping to do it this summer, but money was restricted to residential properties. The CIC will continue to work on the application to the state department of development for cleanup to clear the site and get it ready for development. It’s been a pleasure to work with the village. We hoped to have it done sooner."
Councilman Bruce Jarvis said the project looked hopeless for many years. Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon added she has been on council since 1990 and the station was on the council’s agenda back then.
A pair of Canal Winchester High School students asked council to consider establishing a skateboard/bike facility within Hanners Park on Groveport Road.
Fred Demokowicz, a sophomore, along with senior Andrew Tapalansky, said skateboarding and bicycling have become very popular, but the only places to practice are private properties and public areas.
Unlike other communities, such as Reynoldsburg, Lancaster, Pickerington, and Grove City, the village does not have a dedicated skatepark.
"Having a place locally, where we could skate up to it on the bike path, would be great," said Tapalansky.
"It would help us a lot to have somewhere to go," added Demokowicz. "There are so many of us."
According to the council, Public Works Director Matt Peoples is in the process of developing a concept plan for Hanners Park incorporating a portable skatepark on an asphalt pad between the parking lot and the canal bed. Mershon asked the two students to serve as advisors if the village decides to purchase the portable structure.
"It’s going to take folks like you to get involved and enlighten us and give us feedback," said Councilman Victor Paini.
Parks advisory committee
Council is moving ahead with creating a larger Parks and Recreation advisory committee for long-term planning. Mayor Mike Ebert said the village is taking a good look at what Canal Winchester is doing with parks and recreation.
"We talked about next steps and the committee," commented Paini. "Everyone agreed the larger the better. We want to have community input. We talked about the majority of council, some from staff, six to 10 residents within the joint recreation district, a majority of the rec board, school members and school staff. It will be a large committee and we’ll elect a chairman at the first meeting. We’re thinking one meeting a month for six months starting in January."
Residents interested in serving on the committee are invited to call the village municipal office at 837-7493 for further information or to sign-up.
Council approved contracts to construct .88 miles of two-lane bikeway along Groveport Road from the municipal pool to Gender Road and $90,000 in additional appropriations for the road department for salt for the upcoming winter weather season.