The village of Johnstown is asking 12 commercial property owners to sign over part of their land to make room for construction in Post Office Alley.

The village of Johnstown is asking 12 commercial property owners to sign over part of their land to make room for construction in Post Office Alley.

The village is installing new water, sewer and stormwater lines and asphalt along the roadway.

Village manager Jim Lenner sent a letter to property owners on May 10 stating the village isn't responsible for maintaining Post Office Alley for snow removal or patching potholes because it is not a public street.

The letter went on to say if property owners donate their land to the village, it would maintain the alley and "this will permanently place the responsibility in the hands of the village."

As of May 26, only five owners had complied with the request.

"Technically we don't maintain it, so when this whole project came about, it was talked about if we're going to put all this money to get the water line and put in new pavement that the village would want to maintain it so it's maintained adequately," Lenner said.

The property owners would have to be willing to donate property ranging in sizes from around 87 square feet to 1,500 square feet.

"We have easements back there, which allow us to put the lines and everything back there, but it's still not our property," Lenner said.

He said landowners could "deed their property that sits within the alley to the village for future maintenance, then it would actually become a public roadway."

Lenner said construction could be delayed up to six months or longer if owners don't donate their property because the village doesn't have an appraiser.

The appraiser would find out how much the village would need to buy the land from the property owners.

"We don't have any money allocated for that, so I don't know if we'd be able to get it done this year in time to get out of the way for Ohio Department of Transportation because they are going to be tearing up South Main Street and Coshocton Street here pretty soon so we're on a tight schedule to get this done even before ODOT (starts)."

Lenner said it's imperative to fix the water line as soon as possible.

"It's one of the oldest water lines in the village, so as soon as we can get that repaired the better so we don't have any breaks," Lenner said.

He said the rest of the project is needed, too.

Lenner said the sewer line would help with drainage issues to help prolong the pavement life and said the water line is needed because then "there'll be hookups to the buildings from the rear. Right now they are out front.

"We're excited just to upgrade the infrastructure and make sure all the businesses have adequate water pressure because that line is old and does get filled in with sediment," Lenner said.

Lenner said he's optimistic about property owners donating their land.

"A lot of people are complaining about the state of that alley and what the village can do," he said, "so we're actually doing something and it's pretty exciting to upgrade the infrastructure."

Lenner said a tentative construction start date is scheduled at the end of June or early July.

He said the contractor believes the $318,117 estimated project would also be done in 60 days instead of the allotted 90 days.

ODOT has plans to start its construction along South Main Street on June 15.

Lenner said he doesn't believe the two projects would cause any problems while being constructed simultaneously.