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Trustees still seeking details on Thornwood Drive project

UNION TOWNSHIP – Trustees are still unsure of how much the township is responsible for a Thornwood Drive repaving project. “We’re willing to pay our share, but how do we know what’s our share?” said Trustee Rick Black.

The Thornwood Drive Paving Project, to be completed summer 2013, is 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 current 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.

OPWC grant applications require all participating entities to sign a cooperative agreement. Should the construction bid exceed the amount of federal and OPWC funding, or change orders drive the cost above the funded amount, the participating entities will have to make up the difference. Groff’s memo sets the responsibility percentages at: Heath – 58 percent, Union Township – 36 percent, Newark – five percent, and Licking County – one percent.

Black said he believes the township is responsible for the section of Thornville Drive near the railroad track, but Heath and Newark annexations have raised questions as to how much of the road remains in an unincorporated area. Some of the road, Black believes, is half in an unincorporated area and half in Heath or Newark.

Black isn’t alone in confusion.

“At this time, we’re still trying to figure that out,” said Heath Assistant Building and Zoning Chief Eddie Hunt. “We’re meeting next week to discuss it.” He said representatives from Union Township, Heath, Newark, and Licking County will likely meet Wednesday, at a time and place to be determined, to decide who’s responsible for which sections of Thornwood Drive. Hunt said it’s definitely in everyone’s best interest to take the time necessary to determine the road’s jurisdictions. “We’d rather measure twice and cut once,” he said.

In other township news:

• Black said trustees are trying to determine how much salt, if any, the township must purchase to retain its contract with Cargill, the township’s road salt supplier. “We’ve got darn near a year’s worth on hand,” he said. Black said the township has roughly 700 tons available. “Most years, 800 tons will do the job,” he said.

Previously, Black said the unseasonably warm winter has left the township with 400 tons of extra salt. He said that every year the township contracts for 800 tons of salt based on average usage. He said the township is sending out bids to construct a salt storage structure near the Union Township Complex. Previously, Trustee President John Slater estimated the a structure would cost between $15,000 and $25,000.

He said Tuesday that there are some companies ODOT won’t work with, which narrows the choice of contractors. Slater said he hopes to have the bids back in by the end of June.

• Black said Union Township may eligible for grant funding to tear down empty, uninhabitable homes. Ohio was awarded $75 million, through a Moving Ohio Forward Grant program, of which Licking County received $1,029,355, to be used toward demolishing uninhabitable abandoned residences. The City of Newark is administrating the grant. He said Township Administrator Paula Greene will see if there are any empty Union Township homes that would qualify for the program.

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