No joke: Park Avenue reconstruction project takes shape

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(Posted April 8, 2019)

By Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer

An April 1 posting about the Park Avenue reconstruction project created quite a stir on London Mayor Patrick Closser’s Facebook page.

Intended as an April Fool’s Day joke, the post showed an engineer’s rendering of the project featuring three roundabouts. It didn’t take long for residents to voice their opposition to the supposed plan. Most reacted with good humor, though, once Closser let them in on the joke. No roundabouts are planned.

The actual plans for the project are moving forward and are intended to begin this summer–and that is no joke, Closser said at city council’s April 4 meeting.

The city recently met with EMH&T, an engineering firm out of New Albany, to finalize details, he said. The proejct will entail resurfacing  the entire stretch of Park Avenue, building new sidewalks, curbs, and gutters, and replacing the old bridge. Additionally, a multi-purpose path will be installed alongside Cowling Park.

Construction will begin at the bridge, then extend to Main Street. Once that section is completed, work on the Elm Street side will begin. Closser said he hopes to see the project finished this year, but it could spill into next year.

The city received a $1.2 million Ohio Public Works Commission grant to cover costs. This marks the first time in 12 years the city had applied for the grant.

The municipal swimming pool is scheduled to open for the season on May 25. The city has ordered sod for installation around the newly installed sand volleyball court at the pool. Once the sod is in, the outdoor shower will go up.

A dedication ceremony will take place prior to the opening of the pool to honor the donor who made the volleyball court possible. The as-yet-unnamed donor has given $130,000 to the pool over the past two years, Closser said.

In other news, council passed a resolution authorizing the Board of Public Utilities to advertise for bids and enter into a contract for a screen bypass channel for the sewer plant. The channel would prevent raw sewage from contaminating the area around the plant.

Council approved creation of a fire insurance trust fund, so the city won’t have to foot the cleanup bill when buildings are destroyed by fire.

In the event a structure is damaged from a fire equal to or greater than 60 percent of its insured liability, the city will transfer from the fire insurance trust fund $2,000 for every $15,000 paid out by the policy. The city will then hold those funds until the rubble from the burned structure is removed from the property. In the event that the property owner leaves the mess, the city will use those funds to remove it. Any leftover money will be returned to owner of the structure.

In other action, council authorized the safety service director to advertise for bids and enter into contract for repairs to the roof of the street department building. The plan is to get work started as soon as possible.

“We already shower every time it rains,” said Bill Long, street superintendent.

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