London: Comprehensive plan and storm water sewer project

(Posted May 22, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The city of London is another step closer to hiring a strategic planning company to put together a vision for the city’s future.

At the May 16 city council meeting, council member Greg Eades introduced legislation that, if passed, would authorize Rex Castle, the safety-service director, to enter into contract with a strategic planning firm and set aside funds to cover the costs of those services.

“I’m proud to sponsor this because I think this is a necessary thing for the city as we move forward, to look at how we’re going to grow, how we’re going to do this in the proper manner,” Eades said.

City administrators have secured three quotes for the work, ranging from $82,500 to $130,000. They are recommending OHM, a firm with offices in Westerville, Ohio, which submitted the quote for $82,500.

“We were pretty satisfied with OHM that they have the experts that we would want to use and help facilitate this,” Eades said.

The city also is considering employing the assistance of the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) to supplement the planning firm’s work. As a member of MORPC, the city is entitled to a certain number of hours of assistance at no cost, as well as additional assistance at a reduced cost for tasks such as organization of stakeholder and community meetings and data collection.

With MORPC’s assistance added to the project, council is looking at setting aside up to $99,000 to complete the new comprehensive plan.

The plan would cover the following areas: land use planning, transportation, economic development, housing, environmental sustainability, community engagement, parks and recreation, agriculture, and an implementation framework. Community surveys and input meetings would be part of the process.

London’s comprehensive plan was last updated in 2008.

Council will hold a second reading on the proposed legislation for hiring a firm and funding the project at their June 6 meeting.

Storm water sewer project

The city is moving ahead with a new storm water sewer line installation on the city’s south side. The project should go a long way toward alleviating the area’s flooding problems.

The original line is caving in at some places, restricting water flow. The city looked into having the line shored up, but because it runs under house foundations, no crews wanted to take on the liability, Castle said. So, the plan is to add a channel off the main collection point at the railroad tracks and route it along streets instead of under homes.

“This is a big piece to that puzzle to help get that water dispersed and get it out of town and into the creeks,” said Mayor Patrick Closser.

This past week, the city administration finally got approval for easements under the railroad tracks. Now, the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) is requiring the city to have a contract for the work in place by the end of June. Castle plans to put the project out to bid immediately.

OPWC is supplying a $700,000 grant and a $1.8 million no-interest loan for the project. Engineers estimate the project will cost no more than $3 million. Money from the city’s storm water sewer fund will cover any costs over the $2.5 million covered by OPWC.

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