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Township gets pass on Thornwood Drive project

UNION TOWNSHIP – What’s good for Union Township is bad for Licking County – at least as far as a Thornwood Drive repaving project is concerned.

Monday night, Union Township Trustee Rick Black announced that Union Township has no responsibility to pay a portion of the cost for a massive Thornwood Drive repaving. “We’re out of that repaving project,” he said.

The Thornwood Drive Paving Project, to be completed summer 2013, was to be a joint venture between Heath, Union Township, Newark, and Licking County. According to a memo from Heath Division of Building and Zoning Chief John Groff to Union Township Administrator Paula Greene, the cost estimate for the project is approximately $487,000. Federal funding will provide $294,000 and Heath is seeking $193,000 from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

For months, the various governmental entities involved with the project have been trying to determine what percentage of the project each is responsible for paying. Annexations and municipal boundary changes over many years have made the determination difficult. Groff said that upon further review, the Licking County engineer’s office decided that Licking County is responsible for the project areas thought to be under Union Township’s jurisdiction. Union Township would have paid roughly $38,600 were it part of the project.

In other township news:

• Supporters of a Union Township greenspace levy told the trustees they discussed the proposed levy– which would allow the trustees to purchase land or development rights to land that they would like to remain undeveloped – with the Hebron and Buckeye Lake village councils and both showed interest. Doug Wagner said supporters would like to include Union Township’s incorporated areas in the levy to help generate more revenue.

“This greenspace is an advantage for everybody,” said Trustee President John Slater. “We’ve recently seen the passion in Union Township.” He said he wasn’t sure if the supporters want a levy for the November ballot. “For it to be this November, I don’t know how we can,” said Slater.

“We’re anxious for things to move forward,” said Wagner.

“We’re more than happy to move forward, but not to be on the November ballot,” said Slater.

“I don’t want to rush into it either,” said Black.

Granville Township began purchasing properties and development rights in 1997 to block annexations to the City of Newark and surrounding municipalities. Deeds Road resident and Granville School Board President Amy Deeds said a one-mill levy, which supporters suggest, would raise $254,000.

• The township will place a 1.5 mill replacement fire levy on the November ballot. Licking County Deputy Auditor Cindy Hass said the levy currently costs the owner of a $100,000 home $43.58 per year. If voters approve, that amount will increase to $45.94 per year.

• Trustees’ next meeting will be Wednesday, Aug. 1, 7 p.m. at the Union Township Complex. Black said it was moved from the usual Monday night because trustees and administrators are involved with the Hartford Fair and wouldn’t be able to attend an Aug. 6 trustee meeting.

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