BUCKEYE LAKE – Last weekend’s Buckeye Lake Festival should return next year, although it may be in a new location, said Buckeye Lake Mayor Rick Baker.
“It was a good start,” he said. Baker said there were some glitches with the event, namely that more and bigger rides were expected and he thought its location at Ryan-Braden Park was too secluded. He’d like to see the event in a more visible place. “We really plan to make it an annual event,” said Baker. He said the village basically broke even financially, which, again, was fine for its first year.
“It was an absolutely wonderful event,” said Council President Charlene Hayden during Monday night’s Buckeye Lake Village Council meeting. She said there were at least six food venders representing a variety of choices. “They had a couple rides plus a couple plastic structures for kids to play in. There were several games and the entertainment groups were very good,” said Hayden, who complimented Phantom Fireworks for donating the Saturday evening fireworks show.
“I strongly recommend that it be considered again for next year,” festival coordinator John Sproat said to council. “The success of the event really cries out to try to do it again.”
“I have to really compliment this guy,” said Baker about Sproat. Baker said he really appreciated Sproat’s dedication to the festival. Baker said the village employees, Buckeye Lake Police Department, and the Buckeye Lake Fire Department all contributed to the event’s success. He said he believes Phantom Fireworks would be willing to donate another fireworks show next year.
In other council news:
• Hayden asked the Buckeye Lake Village Council Public Service Committee to review a Letter to the Editor (‘It’s time for a divorce’) and an editorial (A ray of light) printed in The Beacon, May 21 and May 28 respectively – though she referred to them as news media articles – for accuracy as the village prepared to review requests for qualifications, or RFQs, from engineering firms vying to construct a $503,000 storm water drainage project. The project will be funded with an Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) grant of $358,827, an OPWC no-interest loan of $119,609 and $25,181 in village funds. tThe deadline for submitting RFQs was June 15.
Director of Development Valerie Hans said the village received RFQs from current engineer M•E Companies, ADR & Associates, GGC Engineering, Korda/Nemeth Engineering, Inc., Jobes Henderson
& Associates, Inc., and Diversified Engineering.
Hayden said local media and letter to the editor criticism of village projects casts a negative shadow over Buckeye Lake Village. Specifically, there are opinions that M•E Companies Engineering, which designed the village’s public water distribution system, is taking financial advantage of the village. “As of late, (M•E Companies) seems to be the main topic of conversation,” she said. “In my opinion, since we are reviewing requests for qualifications, this type of media coverage puts this company at a disadvantage. I think council agreed that we wanted this process to be open and fair.”
Hayden said in order to make the process fair the public service committee should verify the facts stated in the aforementioned letter to the editor and editorial ahead of the RFQ process. “It is most important for council to have accurate facts because we are the ones making the decision for an engineering firm to do our project,” she said.
Hayden said the May 21 edition letter to the editor states, “Council should put out an RFQ to develop a new list of engineers to interview.” She said this was done during the May 16 public service committee meeting and she and Baker explained the process to those present.
Hayden said the next paragraph states, “Apparently Hayden wants to rush the job to meet grant deadlines.” Then, Hayden said the May 28 edition editorial states, “(M•E Companies) has some powerful supporters – Mayor Rick Baker and Council President Charlene Hayden – who may drag their feet on the RFQ and then try to stampede council into staying with (M•E Companies) to meet project deadlines.”
“Okay, council, which is it,” said Hayden. “Am I trying to rush the process or am I trying to slow down the process?” In reference to the letter to the editor and the editorial, she said the follow- ing questions need verification: When and how did council authorize M•E Companies to apply for more funding (for the storm water project)? Why was the water pre-assessment necessary? Locate the invoice stating that the groundbreaking ceremony for the public water distribution system cost $6,000. Determine why repairs to the village streets have not been completed as Chemcote (the company that repaved the streets after the water system was installed) promised? Determine the billing rates for other engineering firms. “I would suggest calling a professional organization for engineers or call the OSU school of engineering,” said Hayden.
Baker said Wednesday that he is not aligned with M•E Companies exclusively and all RFQs will be considered equally.
• Council member Kaye Hartman said the Buckeye Lake Library is moving to a new location. The village owns its current location on West 1st Street. Hartman wondered if anyone from the village has considered what should be done with the property after the library moves.
The library is moving this autumn to a new location on Ohio 79 next to artist Ray King’s museum and studio (and home to full-size Holstein cows among other art). “Only through the generosity of the building’s owner can we do this,” said Pam Reed, president of the Friends of the Buckeye Lake Library, said of building owner Chet Houck. She said the move would more than double the size of the library from some 1,200 square feet to roughly 3,000 square feet.
Reed said the new building will significantly increase the Friends’ share of the library’s expenses and further strain its tight budget, but the library has outgrown the W. 1st Street building and it’s time to move. The village leased the current building to the Friends for $1 per year.
Reed said the new location would feature a meeting room “for groups to use,” a computer lab, and comfortable seating to encourage people to read at the library, not just check out books to read at home. She said the new location’s better visibility from Ohio 79 would increase business and improve the library’s fundraising abilities. “It’s a major commitment,” said Reed.
The Buckeye Lake Library will be six years old in September, and Reed hopes to celebrate the anniversary in the new building. Funding the additional expenses will not be easy. She said a significant portion of the library’s fundraising depends on the annual Buckeye Lake Library 5K walk, which is June 25, and its pit sandwich booth at the Millersport Sweet Corn Festival in August and September. Reed said Montonya Chiropractic and the Buckeye Lake Eagles are particularly generous contributors. She said the library will rely even more on donors and volunteers once it moves. “We’re really nervous,” said Reed, “but this is really exciting for Buckeye Lake.”
• Council member Arletta “Cricket” Ruton asked people to support the Buckeye Lake Youth Association’s blood drive June 16, 1 to 7 p.m. The youth association is on 3rd Street. “We are in great need of (blood type) O negative,” she said. “A person you love may need that blood.”
• Hayden said the village-wide garage sale weekend, whereby the village waives the usual garage sale permit fee, is June 24, 25, and 26.
• Council members approved having four council members (instead of the current three) on each village committee. So, each council member will chair one committee and sit on three others. Committee chairs complained that they often can’t meet because too many members don’t come to committee meetings and a quorum cannot be gathered. They hope that adding more members will make it easier to have a quorum. “I hope this turns out to be what we think it’s going to be,” said Hayden.
• Hayden said 791 customers have connected to the village’s public water system, which is 73 percent of the 1,079 customer accounts the village possess. She said Buckeye Lake water customers used 30 million gallons during the system’s first year of service and the village has 1,345 potential water customers. “Which is good. I think the original estimate was 900,” said Hayden.