BUCKEYE LAKE – It’s not free money, warned Buckeye Lake Village Council member Kaye Hartman Monday night.
“This is a real big step, and it’s going to be costly,” she said. Previously, M•E Companies Vice President Kevin Wood told council members that his engineering firm, which designed the village’s public water distribution system, has helped secure substantial grant funding and a no interest loan for the first phase of a storm water drainage project. Wood hopes construction on the first phase may begin later this year; the first phase will cost roughly $503,000.
Wood said the village would receive about $358,000 from an Ohio Public Works Commission grant, a roughly $119,000 no interest loan, and the village would contribute around $25,000 toward the project, which will replace 3,688 feet of storm water tile and 22 existing storm water structures with 26 new catch basins.
The replacement project extends south along Hebron Road from the village limit to Highland Avenue and then from Hebron Road east along 6th Avenue and then south on North Street. The system will continue to discharge into Waste Weir Run near the Buckeye Lake Fire Station.
Hartman said Monday that while the OPWC grant covers much of the project, the village is still obligated to pay roughly $144,000, and that’s a lot of money. “It’s important that we study it and get the right company to do it,” she said. Hartman wants to be sure the village doesn’t do a “rush job” as it reviews potential contractors. She said she understands that the project needs to be completed in a timely manner, but “be mindful of taxpayer dollars.”
“We’re getting a large amount of money for the amount we’re spending,” said Council President Charlene Hayden. She said the village has to stay within OPWC guidelines in order to qualify for the grant.
Sue Spiker, of the Licking County Planning Commission staff, is the OPWC grants coordinator fro District 17, said there was some confusion as to when the storm sewer project must be completed. The November 15 completion date set in the application is applicable, but the village may qualify for an extension, if necessary.
“I don’t deal with the grant agreements once the projects are funded since the agreement is between the entity and OPWC,” said Spiker. “With some of the other grants we work with, we have a drop-dead completion date on the grant agreement. These completion dates can be extended with permission by OPWC and that does seem to occur frequently, as unforeseen circumstances arise,” said Spiker. Often the primary concern is getting projects started and the OPWC generally wants projects to begin within a year of the grant agreement, which is usually July 1.
Buckeye Lake Service Director Tim Matheny said first the village will choose an engineer to design the project, the project will go to bid, and then it will be constructed.
In other council news:
• Council member Jeryne Peterson asked when Chemcote, the company that repaved Buckeye Lake’s streets following the installation of a public water distribution system, would return to repair the new pavement that is breaking up, per the contract. Matheny said M•E Companies contacted Chemcote about repairing the streets and expects Chemcote to return soon. He said this spring’s rainy weather and the fact that asphalt plants don’t resume operations until later in the spring caused some delay, but the asphalt plants are in operation now. Matheny said Chemcote has always agreed to make the repairs. “They’ve always said, ‘no problem,’” he said.
• Village officials believe they may be getting closer to demolishing a 373 Myers Ave. house that literally has a tree growing through it. Mayor Rick Baker said Village Solicitor Butch Bindley conducted a title search on the property trying to determine what liens are in place. “He indicated to me that Beneficial (mortgage company) had an interest and their attorney said that they would sign off,” said Baker. “As I understand it from him, we just need to now get (the owner’s) okay.”
Baker said Director of Development Valerie Hans told him that she would talk with Licking County Community Development Manager Warren Weber to see if funding could be available next month for demolition.
• Hartman said T’s Cones and Coneys contributed 200 hot dogs to this weekend’s Memorial Day Parade. Buckeye Lake Museum Director J-me Braig said Tuesday that resident and veteran Ed Neff is this year’s Grand Marshal. “He is retired from our village as street supervisor,” said Braig. “Ed has given many volunteer service hours to our Village.”
Braig said the parade has 20 units as of Tuesday and she’s sure there will be last minute entries. The Lakewood High School Marching Band will participate. “Millersport couldn’t make it this year,” she said, adding that Phantom Fireworks will have a float promising to be “really cool.”
Braig said the parade ends at the North Shore Boat Ramp where awards will be announced. The parade judges will be sitting at the Buckeye Lake Museum. Marianne Perrine, Donna Braig, Rae LeCompte, Charlotte Basnett, Cindy Hiemerl, and Hayden are this year’s judges. Buckeye Lake VFW Local #1388 will lead a ceremony honoring our veterans immediately following the parade at the flagpole area at the state park.
Food and refreshments will be available along with games and raffles. Braig said all proceeds from the annual event go toward the Community Christmas Celebration, which provides coats and toys for the area children and families. The Little Miss Buckeye Lake Contest will be 1 to 3 p.m. at the state park under the shelter house.
• Resident George Braden donated an American flag to be flown from the Ryan- Braden Park flagpole. Braden donated the flagpole as well, but decided to let someone from the village attach the flag. “I’m too old to do anything else,” he said, as he handed the flag to Baker.