By Rick Palsgrove
The heavily traveled and quirky angular intersection of Main Street and Wirt Road continues to be a safety concern to Groveport city officials.
“I think we should institute a ‘no left turn’ from Wirt Road on to Main Street,” said Groveport City Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert. “It’s hard to maneuver a left turn there.”
“Yes,” added Councilman Shawn Cleary, “it goes against the grain.”
Last year Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst noted that eliminating left turns from Wirt to Main and Main to Wirt should be studied carefully because its consequences could cause traffic problems elsewhere at other intersections in the area as drivers try to find a way around such a restriction.
The Wirt and Main intersection is also a concern for pedestrians.
Councilman Ed Dildine noted that vehicles pull into the crosswalk on Wirt Road so they can see to make right or left turns on to Main Street, but because of the angular nature of the intersection, there is no other place for the crosswalk on Wirt Road.
Earlier this year citizens expressed concerns about the safety of students passing through the intersection’s crosswalk on their way to and from Groveport Elementary and Middle School Central.
The busy intersection’s unique shape is believed to contribute to driver visibility problems as Wirt Road connects with Main Street at about a 40 degree angle.
Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams said, while he cannot recall any recent left turn accidents from Wirt to Main, he would not be opposed to council enacting a “no left turn” restriction from Wirt Road to Main Street.
“It’s a sharp angle to make a left turn,” said Adams. “Plus it is hard to see around the parked cars on Main Street and that causes drivers on Wirt Road to inch out into the crosswalk so they can see oncoming Main Street traffic.”
There is also a building on the southwest corner of the intersection that makes it difficult for drivers on Wirt Road to see oncoming traffic on Main Street.
Officials said if a “no left turn” from Wirt to Main is enacted, drivers could use the intersection at College Street and Main Street instead.
Wirt Road was created after the Ohio and Erie Canal ceased operations in the early 20th century. The canal came through Groveport at an angle from the northeast to the southwest. When the canal was abandoned, buildings were built on Main Street west of the canal route. Wirt Road sits where the canal towpath ran along side the canal and, because of this, the road maintains the same angle junction with Main Street as the canal route once did.
City officials once considered redesigning the angled intersection of Main and Wirt. The proposal was to close Wirt at Main and instead create a right angle intersection of Wirt Road and Front Street. However, the idea was dropped for various reasons.
Last year Groveport City Administrator B.J. King said there were no plans for a redesign of the intersection and that officials have held discussions about the short-term and long-term fixes for the unique intersection.
Groveport City Council postponed a vote until council’s June 12 meeting on proposed legislation that would allow the personal use of fireworks only on July 4. The postponement was made because only five members of council were present at the May 22 meeting and council members agreed to wait until June 12 when all six members could be present to vote on the issue.
Last November, council rejected legislation, by a 4-3 vote, that would have allowed the use of personal fireworks within the city limits. Because of that action, the city’s existing law banning the use of personal fireworks within the city remained in effect. Mayor Lance Westcamp and council members Jean Ann Hilbert, Shawn Cleary, and Jack Rupp opposed the measure while Scott Lockett, Ed Dildine, and Becky Huston voted in favor of it.
The legislation defeated in November would have made the city consistent with a state law that allows the use of personal fireworks on designated days. It would have allowed individuals to possess consumer grade fireworks and to discharge them on their own property or on another person’s property with permission the following days: New Year’s Day; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; Juneteenth; July 3, 4, and 5 and the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays preceding and following; Labor Day weekend, Diwali; and New Year’s Eve.
State law permits local governments to restrict the dates and times when individuals may discharge consumer grade fireworks or to impose a complete ban on the use of consumer grade fireworks.
Groveport Park ball fields
Cleary asked if back stops could be built on the two ball fields in Groveport Park that currently do not have back stops so the fields could be put to more use. He said T-ball teams use the fields now.
“Can we put something simple up?” Cleary asked. “It’s been so long. The park and fields have been there 20 years.”
Dildine said the problem is that the city must meet legal standards regarding the size and use of the fields or else the city could be liable if there are injuries.
King said city officials will look into the matter.
Cleary also suggested the athletic fields in Groveport Park be named in honor of past successful Groveport athletes.
“We’ve had some fantastic athletes in Groveport over the years,” said Cleary.
Lift station generators
Council authorized King to purchase two Kohler generators from Buckeye Power Sales to be permanent back up generators at the Bixford and Elmont subdivisions’ sanitary sewer lift stations. The $100,000 cost will be funded by federal COVID relief funds received by the city.
“These will back up the pumps in case they get plugged up,” said King.
These are the only two permanent back up generators the city has. A portable back up generator is used for the remaining sanitary sewer lift stations around town. The plan is to eventually have permanent back up generators for all lift stations.
King emphasized that citizens can help keep the lift stations clear and free from getting plugged up by not flushing wipes, diapers, or other items down the toilet.
“There is no such thing as a flushable wipe,” said King.