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Trustees might ban smoking in park

MILLERSPORT – After considerable discussion at their Tuesday night meeting, Walnut Township Trustees Doug Leith and Terry Horn agreed to table Horn’s motion to ban smoking at the township’s Fairfield Beach park. Trustee Bill Yates was absent as he is chaperoning the Millersport High School senior trip.

Horn’s proposal was prompted by a complaint about a smoker who responded rudely to a request to stop smoking in the bleachers behind the ballfield. Horn’s research found that trustees can declare specific township-owned property as a non-smoking area per Ohio Revised Code 3794.05.

Both trustees were ready to enact the ban but backed off after learning that each entrance to the park must have a sign declaring the area non-smoking. Road supervisor Tim Morris said each sign would cost about $20 and he counted 14 fenced entrances to the park. “That’s (sign requirement) is ridiculous,” Leith stated. Trustes are considering whether they can just declare the bleachers a non-smoking area which might only require one sign.

In other business Tuesday night, trustees approved a one year extension of the Road Use Maintenance Agreement with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The agreement, which includes the County Engineer and Fairfield County Commissioners for county-owned roads, requires ODNR to restore both township and county roads utilized by dam construction to their condition prior to the start of construction. Extensive repairs, if not complete replacement, will be required to restore Lieb’s Island Drive and Seller’s Point Drive. Project spokesperson Ian Nickey presented the agreement to trustees.

He gave trustees a brief update on the project. “We are in Phase 2,” he said. The focus now is on Phase 2 design and berm maintenance. Construction will resume next spring.

With the two-foot wide and 40-some feet deep cutoff wall in place, Nickey said the seepage concerns and some of the stability concerns have been addressed. Overtopping and the rest of the stability issue will be addressed in Phase 2.

The key component in Phase 2 is the construction, using soil mixing, of a buttress wall behind the seepage wall. Nickey said that wall will be about 14 feet wide which will require multiple passes by whatever soil mixing process is selected. The depth of that wall hasn’t been determined nor has what will be used to face the lake side of the seepage wall or the top of the new dam.

Nickey said trustees’ concerns about the three pump stations and numerous downspouts and sump pumps that previously discharged water into the lake through the dam have been heard but no decisions on whether that practice can continue has been made.

“We want it kinda the way it was,” Horn explained. “We don’t want more water in the streets.”

Trustees recently learned that the township has been awarded a $22,657 ODOT Township Sign grant. It does not require a match and will fund about 300 new signs that meet the Federal Highway Administration’s new retro-reflectivity requirements. The township has one year to install the signs once they are received. Morris said the county engineer’s office has volunteered to help with the installation if the township’s two-man road crew can’t get them all done.

Trustees’ next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5, at the township office. Trustees hope to open bids at that meeting to resurface Cattail Road from Ohio 204 to Canal Road.

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