After a contentious 2017 in German Village, Columbia Gas of Ohio has returned to the historic district for additional gas-line replacement and meter relocation in residential areas.

The utility company is working in an area bounded by High, Moler and Fourth streets and Thurman Avenue.

Sidewalks are temporarily closed on Thurman between City Park Avenue and Pearl Street and there are vehicle lane restrictions.

The work affects 16 residential lines in the historic district and hundreds of properties in Merion Village, the neighborhood adjacent to the south.

It is expected to be wrapped up by the end of March, said Ron Radabaugh, construction contractor for the public utility.

The public utility created a rift last year with the German Village Society about relocation of gas meters from the interior to the exterior of properties.

After the two sides reached a detente last fall, Columbia Gas agreed to move the meters to a location that was supported by the property owner and the Society.

Property owners can consult with two officials of the society - Nancy Kotting, historic preservation advocate, and Shiloh Todorov, executive director - on an appropriate exterior site.

Columbia Gas has agreed to provide landscaping material to shield meters from view.

"We were given all the addresses on the schedule for 2018 some time ago and we have published that list and sent correspondence to all (property owners) reiterating our settlement and the procedures outlined therein," Kotting said.

"We have a great relationship with Columbia Gas," she said.

"They have a super team of professionals who appear to love what they do," Kotting said.

"It is a pleasure to have them as preservation partners in the district."

The Society originally had maintained moving meters outside was dangerous because it subjected them to the elements and errant motorists. It also said historic-district officials had no say in the matter.

Part of the compromise was that Columbia Gas would assist the Society in its sidewalk-replacement program, but to what extent has not been made public.

Columbia Gas is responsible for repairing sidewalks damaged by line work, Radabaugh said.

Another project in the area of Sixth and Jackson streets will start when the current one is complete.

Residents have been helpful with meter relocation, for the most part, Radabaughsaid.

"You might have one in 20 who does not receive it well," he said, "but they understand."

Kelli Nowinski, spokeswoman for Columbia Gas of Ohio, said the negotiations with the Society last year led to some positive results, such as having conversations with residents and having a knowledgeable point person on the scene in Radabaugh.

"I don't hear from customers as much as I used to," Nowinski said. "Now it's just business is usual."