(Posted May 12, 2016)
By Amanda Amsel, Staff Writer
The city of London recently recouped $20,000 it invested in the construction of the skatepark that sits at the corner of Park and Columbia avenues, near the municipal swimming pool.
Completed in July 2014, the skatepark cost $37,000 to build. The city covered the entire cost up front. Per a Nature Works grant agreement, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) was to reimburse the city $20,000 once the project was finished. Until recently, that reimbursement had not been made.
“Since 2014, I have asked where the money was and why we hadn’t been reimbursed,” said Mayor Patrick Closser at the May 9 city council meeting. “In 2015, I was told that we would not be receiving the grant money because the paperwork was never filed.”
Closser said he made several phone calls and worked with ODNR to correct the situation, get the paperwork filed, and ultimately secure the grant reimbursement. He said the $20,000 will go back into the city’s general fund per the original agreement.
The city covered the other $17,000 at the time of installation with money from the parks and playground fund, which comes from impact fees paid to the city by developers.
In other recreation news, parks and recreation director Tammy Braskett said the city faces hurdles in getting the pool open by Memorial Day weekend.
“We would like to open the pool on May 28, but we have some challenges regarding this,” she said, citing concrete work, painting, fencing and electrical issues that need to be addressed before the pool can open. The department also needs to secure staffing.
In other action, council approved a resolution to place a renewal levy for general operating expenses on the November ballot.
“Basically, our millage that helps us operate the city expires this year and we need to renew it,” said council member Rex Castle. “It is a benefit to the citizens to renew this because of the tax rollback attached to it. It is in the best interest of the citizens to adopt this.”
Council approved an agreement allowing the Madison County Engineer’s Office to issue permits for hauling overweight and oversize loads on city streets.
“This is for efficiency purposes and is at no cost to the city,” said Jennifer Hitt, council president.
Closser made note of the trees newly planted at Bicentennial Park at the corner of High and Walnut streets. He said an archway is in the plans for improvements at the park.
“With the new trees, the picnic tables and this new archway, the park is going to look really nice,” he said.
He also noted that the city’s new website is under construction.
“I have seen a little bit of it, and it is very nice and easy to navigate. I hope that we can go live by the end of month,” he said.