Reynoldsburg News

City may build parking lot, replace crosswalks

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Reynoldsburg City Council heard the first reading June 23 of legislation authorizing the city to pay EMH&T $32,278 to begin preliminary designs and bidding to replace three brick crosswalks and develop an East Main Street parking lot in Olde Reynoldsburg.

Service Director Nathan Burd said the estimated cost for engineering work, constructing the parking lot and replacing crosswalks at the East Main intersections with Lancaster Avenue north and south and at Jackson Avenue is about $418,000.

Auditor Richard Harris said money for the project would not come out of the city's general fund, but would be financed from the state road and capital improvement accounts.

Former councilwoman Monica DeBrock said before that work begins, however, council members should reconsider a plan that would replace the brick crosswalks with plain asphalt.

"I agree that Olde Reynoldsburg needs more parking and the crosswalks need to be fixed and I agree that lumping community projects together for competitive bidding is a good idea," she said. "But I'm asking that you reconsider keeping the crosswalks brick and not replacing them with asphalt."

The brick crosswalks were constructed as part of the East Main Street Revitalization program -- also known as Streetscape -- which began in 2003. The overall project cost approximately $10 million and included burying utility lines and installing decorative lighting, landscaping and other features along East Main Street through the city's downtown.

The project won a Scenic Ohio Award from the state in 2007.

Burd proposed replacing the brick sidewalks and crosswalks to Reynoldsburg City Council June 11, stating the crosswalks "have turned into a substantial problem over the years."

"It is not uncommon to see loose bricks on the road and we've had to pour asphalt over certain sections simply to hold the crosswalks together," he said.

"The crosswalks are hard on cars, unsafe and serve no aesthetic benefit, given their current condition."

DeBrock said the original Streetscape plan was to put in brick sidewalks, crosswalks and decorative streetlights from the East Main and Lancaster Avenue bridge to Graham Road.

"I worry when we have made numerous plans for revitalization and have only completed Phase 1," she said. "Many residents and businesses in Reynoldsburg have not given up the hope we can further revitalize the city."

She said officials first began talking about revitalizing Olde Reynoldsburg in 1995.

The legislation now before council includes plans to build a 24-space parking lot on parcels at 7336 and 7342 E. Main St.

Council members approved the purchase of the lot at 7342 E. Main St. last month for $10,000. The other property is already owned by the city.

Mayor Brad McCloud said both properties have been vacant since a former appliance repair shop and a Dance One Studio were damaged in a two-alarm fire May 19, 2008. Both buildings were deemed unsafe and were demolished in September 2008.

According to a letter from EMH&T, the parking lot would be "designed with asphalt pavement, sheet-flow drainage and parking blocks in lieu of curbing."

Council members Barth Cotner, Chris Long, Dan Skinner, Leslie Kelly, Cornelius McGrady III and Council President Doug Joseph did not discuss the legislation or DeBrock's concerns June 23. The ordinance was sent back to the finance committee for further discussion.

Councilmen Scott Barrett and Mel Clemens were absent from Monday's meeting.

Council committee meetings are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. July 7 at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building, 7232 E. Main St.

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