Reynoldsburg News

'Green' repairs will proceed on senior center lot

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Reynoldsburg City Council agreed during a special meeting June 2 to reverse a decision made last month and go ahead with a plan to repair the senior center parking lot with "green" sustainable materials.

Councilman Scott Barrett said he changed his mind about the project after voting against it May 27.

Reynoldsburg resident Kurt Keljo, a watershed implementation coordinator for Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, noted at that time the city had already spent $21,000 on design fees for the project.

Barrett said Monday he hadn't realized the city had already spent that money.

"I will vote for this tonight for the sole reason we have equity in this already," he said. "So I think it is in the best interest of the city to see it through."

Council voted to reject the proposal three weeks ago, even though most of the city's share of the project -- $65,148.52 -- was already in the Parks and Recreation Department budget. An $80,138 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency was secured last year to repair the lot.

Councilman Mel Clemens said he has been against the project from the start. He said the crumbling parking lot should have been repaired with regular blacktop.

"The big potholes in it were fixed because I called the street department and asked them to please go over and fix them," he said. "It wasn't taken care of when it should have been."

The project includes resurfacing 17,025 square feet of the existing parking lot at the senior center, 1520 Davidson Drive, plus rerouting storm drains and creating areas of permeable pavement to allow rainwater to pass through.

Department Director Joe Brown worked with Keljo to secure the EPA grant.

"This is a great opportunity to improve a specific area of our park system," he said. "The entire project is still cheaper than paving a regular parking lot."

He said the lot "is in dire need of repair" and that senior citizens have fallen in the lot because of its poor condition.

Councilman Barth Cotner said the lot is dangerous.

"If you looked at the lot, you could see how disastrous it is," he said. "It is irresponsible of us not to take advantage of this opportunity for the grant."

Councilman Cornelius McGrady III said he changed his mind about the project because of the safety issues.

He and Barrett pointed out other safety issues at area parks, including flooding and overgrown areas on the JFK Park bridge under East Main Street and numerous dead trees or "widow-makers" at Pine Quarry Park.

"We need to shift our focus and rectify and come up with plans to fix the hazards as a whole in the city," McGrady said.

Resident Marshall Spalding urged the city to keep going after grants to fix unsafe areas.

"I work closely with people at the senior center," he said. "The key thing is taking advantage of the EPA grant. You should use that money. The craters in that parking lot are getting worse. Some were cold-patched, but it is serious and needs to be fixed. Let's get more grants for areas like this one."

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