Groveport reviews capital projects

An anticipated lengthy debate about the village of Groveport’s proposed future capital improvement projects did not materialize as the heavy shadow of the nation’s economy tempered what Groveport Village Council could do.

"We need to work within the funds we have," said Groveport Finance Director Ken Salak at council’s Dec. 8 committee of the whole meeting. "We can only spend what we have. We’ve had some good years, but we don’t know what 2009 will bring."

Salak pointed out that, according to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, "…in the next two years, Ohio will confront the most serious erosion of revenues it has experienced in the last 40 or 50 years" due to the state of the overall economy.

Salak said if council wanted to add a project to the 2009 capital schedule, something else would have to be removed from the plans.

At a previous council meeting, Councilman Ed Rarey stated he felt the current plan did not meet the residents’ needs. He specifically cited street projects such as Front Street, West Street, Center Street, and others which he felt have been on hold for too long.

"We’ve had a number of streets that have been overlooked for a number of years," Rarey said on Dec. 8.

Salak noted that the five year capital plan is "a moving target" that can be revised and updated annually.

Big ticket items for 2009 under the plan include:

•$1.8 million in total debt service payments (which must be paid each year until paid off) for the recreation center, aquatic center, golf course, log house, Heritage Park stage, soccer fields, and Ohio Public Works Commission street projects for Main Street, Hamilton Road, Bixby Road, and Rohr Road;

•$795,000 for the reconstruction of Kessler Street;

•$110,000 for engineering for the Lesleh Avenue reconstruction project slated for 2010;

•$60,000 for curb/gutter replacement;

•and $15,000 for sidewalks.

Also funded is $200,000 for the Greenpointe Drive extension and $1 million for the Rohr Road widening. Old Hamilton Road widening is slated for 2011 and 2012 in two phases estimated at $1.4 million and $826,00, as well as a turn lane on Groveport Road at Groveport Park in 2010 and 2011 for around $263,000.

Unfunded street projects include the reconstruction of Front Street, north Center Street, north West Street, Toy Road, Elm Street, Crescent Street, Seymour Street, and Delane Street.

Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert suggested that the Old Hamilton Road widening project could be switched with another street project because development plans for Old Hamilton Road have slowed and the new bike path has addressed safety issues in that area.

Council will review the capital improvement plan further at a future date.

Other Groveport news

•Mayor Lance Westcamp was critical of the recreation center’s policy of charging admission for fans to watch the men’s basketball league games. He noted that at the youth league games fans do not have to pay admission. The mayor also said he observed that the front desk workers were swamped during busy times at the rec center and some people walk right past into the center without checking in.

Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Lund said admission was being charged to control abuses of the center by people who say they come to see the game, but instead leave the gym and use the facility for free.

Westcamp said he feels the recreation center staff should be able to police the situation without charging admission for the basketball fans. He believes the policy will drive people away from using the recreation center.

Lund said he would look into alternative plans.

•Salak said the village has received one quote for employee health insurance for 2009, but that quote was a whopping 33 percent higher than what the village is now paying. He said officials will work to obtain other quotes and present more information to council at its Dec. 15 meeting.

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