Whitehall mayor proposes park improvements

Whitehall Mayor John Wolfe and Community Affairs Coordinator Zach Woodruff have devised a plan to make improvements to Lamby Lane Park, as well as a partial solution to problems on Etna Road at Maplewood Avenue.  

They explained the plan at the April 8  council meeting.  The work will begin in two phases.  Some improvements will be funded by Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio grant money, as well as grants the city is applying for through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  

Fencing around the tennis courts that are no longer used will be taken down, with a new use in mind.  The 375 feet of ten-foot high fencing will be placed in the right-of- way behind two homes on Etna at the dead end between Whitehall and apartments on the Columbus side.  

There will be an contract between the city and the homeowners since it will affect their properties. The fencing will also extend to an area of briars and foliage, hopefully diverting foot traffic.

The service department was scheduled to begin taking down the fence and removing the blacktop and gravel on April 9.  Grass and topsoil will be spread over the area. The playground will remain, but will be enhanced with new playground equipment, fencing and benches and mulch made of recyclable materials,  along with other enhancements next year.

In other business, City Attorney Mike Shannon proposed draft legislation authorizing the city to charge a video service provider fee of 5 percent of gross revenue of all video service providers holding a statewide video service authorizing from the Ohio Department of Commerce.  

State law is now allowing current municipal cable franchises to opt out of their current agreements prior to their termination date.  The city received notices from two current cable franchisees (AT&T and WOW)  that they are terminating their existing Franchise Agreements. The city has only ten days to file if they intend to charge the five percent.  

Shannon said they should be able to vote on it at the April 15 meeting, but if it needed to be done earlier, a special meeting would be called.  

Auditor Kim Maggard also presented a draft resolution to show non-support of a new law that is still in committee at the federal level.  The federal government is encroaching on state and local municipalities’ rights to collect taxes from people who work within the city for 12-60 days and not over 50 percent of their total time.  

It would affect Whitehall getting tax money from contractors who work at DSCC, or specialists who will come for a day or to when the new VA hospital is open.  It would also affect postal workers, entertainers, and the like.  

Whitehall would lose about $250,000 in tax revenues, but the federal government would benefit.  Maggard wants the ordinance to be sent to congressional representatives before they vote so they understand the financial impact it would have on the city.

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