Park, sewer projects to get go-ahead

Published 12:18 pm Monday, November 13, 2017

Equipment ordered, should arrive in December

SOUTH POINT — Two long-planned projects in the village of South Point are about to see work begin, according to Mayor Jeff Gaskin at Thursday’s meeting of council.

Work to replace aging clarifiers on the village sewer system will start shortly after the new year, Gaskin told the council.

“The contracts were signed yesterday,” he said of the $685,000 project, for which the village has borrowed from the Ohio Water Development Authority.

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The village has six clarifiers.

They are settling tanks for removal of solids and sedimentation. Four are slated for replacement, with the outer shell remaining and the inner parts being swapped out.

The village was approved for the loan in October.

Work is also set to begin on new equipment for the village’s playground at the park.

Molly Summerton, a representative from Playworld, the Pennsylvania-based company through which the village is purchasing the equipment, attended the meeting and brought an artist’s representation of the new playground, which will include new swings, climbing pieces and handicapped-accessible equipment.

Gaskin said a purchase order would be written Friday and the equipment would arrive in early December.

Pieces would be installed by the end of the year, if weather hold up, he said.

The village repurposed a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which was originally intended for a spray park, but plans were scrapped when costs ran too high.

The grant money had to be used and work done by year’s end or it would have expired.

Gaskin also noted that $15,000 in ticket funds collected from an announced crackdown on speeding and running stop signs had been set aside and was going into the park effort.

Summerton said that four of the new pieces were on sale, saving the village at least $4,000.

The new playground will be situated on the upper end of the park, near the restrooms, Gaskin said and would replace much of the existing pieces such as the old swing sets.

Council members asked Summerton if there had been any complaints about any of the planned pieces, as far as safety issues.

She said there were none and that the only thing she had received a call on was a rotating piece called a Spinami, which a principal told her had been more popular than expected.

“He said he had about 40 kids on it and couldn’t keep them off,” she said.

In other business, the council:

• Heard from Thomas Schneider of the county’s land bank, who gave them an update on property at 409 N. Kenova Road. The Otter property, an apartment complex, remains tied up in bankruptcy court, but Schneider said a letter was being sent to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, which administers funds for the lank bank, informing them of progress made.

“We’re hoping they will consider it as on its way to the land bank,” he said, hoping that it would still qualify for demolition funding. “We’ll make as good of an argument as possible.”

He said the land bank will have torn down 74 houses countywide by the end of the year, with more planned in South Point in coming weeks.

• Discussed a plan to purchase land next to White Cottage Cemetery on Solida Road, which is maintained by the village. Gaskin proposed buying the land for $20,000 for expanding the cemetery, making room for 60 lots, which could be sold.

He said he has heard from about 10 people who are interested in buying.

“I, for one, would like to buried in the village and not out on the hill,” he said of a cemetery outside the limits.
Council members agreed to the idea and Gaskin said a resolution would be prepared for the December meeting to make the purchase.

“We’re going to do this,” he said.

• Heard from village solicitor Randy Lambert, who said letters had been sent to those with highly delinquent sewer bills, some ranging in the thousands of dollars.

He said he had heard back from only one person, who agreed to set up a payment plan.

“Legally, we have done what we are supposed to do,” he said.

Gaskin said that the village’s next move would be to start turning off sewer service to the homes on the list.

• Heard from police chief Chris Mahjer, who said there had recently been an issue with counterfeit cash in the area.

He said while the issue is always around in some form, someone, who was not apprehended, had recently purchased a vehicle with “$7,200 in ‘phony money.’”

Mahjer said the serial numbers on the bills matched those used in other instances reported in other areas. He said the purchase was made entirely in counterfeit $50 bills and warned people to be more discerning, noting that “you can buy phony money off eBay that looks like the real thing.”

Mahjer also informed the council that, while heroin continues to decline in the village, officers have has found an increase in the problem of methamphetamines over the past year.

“Meth is back, and it’s back with a vengeance,” he said.