PERRYSVILLE — Owners of local businesses dependent on summer tourism charged that the Ohio Department of Transportation bypassed them when planning 2019 construction projects.

At Monday’s council meeting, they asked ODOT officials to reconsider plans to close both lanes of the Ohio 95 bridge over Black Fork of the Mohican River for 60 days in the middle of summer. The bridge deck replacement project, scheduled for sometime between June and the end of August, would cut the village off from Pleasant Hill Lake Park and other customers west of the village.

It didn’t set well with the business owners when an ODOT administrator told them the Ohio 95 bridge project had been scheduled for midsummer while a project in Butler was scheduled for completion before Memorial Day and a repaving project on Ohio 97 between Butler and Loudonville was slated for after Labor Day.

Robert L. Weaver, capital programs administrator for ODOT District 3, said the Butler project would involve a bridge deck replacement on Ohio 97 east of the village over Slater Run. Ohio 95 will serve as a detour. The Ohio 97 repaving project will include the entire road between Butler and Ohio 3 south of Loudonville.

"For part of it, we’ll need to close 97 through the park (Mohican Memorial State Forest) because we’re going to do a lot of repairs to the road," Weaver said. "The park said we don’t want to do that through June, July and August. We understand. The road closure will be 21 days and will occur after Labor Day sometime, so that leaves us with 95 (the Perrysville bridge project) right in the middle."

Weaver said ODOT also had conferred with officials in Butler about the Ohio 97 bridge project and determined that it should be done in the spring. Apparently, Perrysville officials were not consulted during the planning stages. They petitioned ODOT to reconsider after being asked earlier this year to sign off on the project.

Ed Snook, owner of Perrysville C Store at Ohio 95 and Ohio 39, wanted to know why the village was overlooked.

"It seems that we’re last on your list," Snook said. "It seems that Perrysville’s the last in everyone’s consideration."

Snook and Gary and Stacey Brennstuhl, owners of Phase Two Pizza, indicated that a lot of their business came from Pleasant Hill Lake Park guests. The park is west of the village on Ohio 95.

Weaver said a local detour can be set up, routing traffic from the park into the village via County Road 1075, to Bridge Street and across Black Fork. However, ODOT will not provide signage for it. The official detour will follow state routes (Ohio 603 and Ohio 39).

Gary Brennstuhl indicated that business owners would be hard pressed to get the word out to guests at the park and many would not be willing to take the local detour. It was also pointed out that it would be difficult for those with RVs and trailers to wend their way through the detour.

Weaver suggested working with park officials at Pleasant Hill to get the word out and offering 10 percent discounts to entice customers.

"So we lose money to lose money," Brennstuhl responded.

Weaver was asked about reconsidering. He said it would have cost another $60,000 to change the plans and set the project back another year.

Weaver indicated that ODOT was open to input, but didn’t offer business owners much in the way of hope.

"We’ll meet with the contractor in the spring and nail down the dates," he said. "The village will be invited to that meeting."

In other business, Monday, council passed the first reading of a 10 percent sewer rate increase. If passed on the next two readings, it would increase the minimum monthly bill by $1.76. The increase would help offset the cost of lab testing and chemicals as well as upgrading the sewer plant, which is more than 40 years old.

Council also accepted the village planning commission’s recommendation to define and clarify fence height and placement regulations. Fences built prior to council’s approval of the recommendations would be grandfathered.