During its first meeting of 2016 on Tuesday, Urbana City Council addressed the recently completed Hangar Door Project at Grimes Field and approved the hiring of a Columbus firm to study the city’s roundabout.
Director of Administration Kerry Brugger gave a final summary to council on the project that involved replacing the 72-year-old sliding doors on the north and south ends of Grimes Hangar at Grimes Field with two new hydraulic doors.
Brugger said in order to complete the project, which began in August, Howell Buildings Company had to perform additional work in the amount of $18,884.45, bringing the total project cost to $89,993.45. The project, he noted, was funded through the Airport Fund, which has a balance over $300,000.
“To make a long story short, the project ended up well,” Brugger said. “It looks very nice and is going to last hopefully another 70 years.”
The additional work, which council signed off on, involved replacing the header beams on both the north and south hangar doors, work done on the aprons at both doors, and the rebuilding of a catch basin at the northeast corner of the hangar.
“The scope (of the project) was to replace the doors and improve the drainage on the aprons,” Brugger said. “When we got into the catch basin (northwest corner of Grimes Hangar), it really wasn’t a catch basin. It was a hole that somebody had dug years ago that was filled with gravel. We ended up having to excavate that whole northwest corner and take out the catch basin that didn’t exist and put in a catch basin.”
As for the the north and south end door headers, Brugger said, once both were removed, “extensive” rot was discovered.
“We didn’t anticipate there would be that much deterioration, so we had to completely re-frame both the north and south openings,” he said. “You think you know what you are going to get into until you open it up.”
Downtown intersection to be reviewed
It’s been six-plus years since the traffic signals in Monument Square were removed in favor of a roundabout, and council agreed it’s time for the intersection to be studied to see if any improvements are warranted.
“I think most would agree, maybe not everyone, that the intersection has worked pretty well as a roundabout, but we have seen some issues with it,” Community Development Manager Doug Crabill said. “ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) typically comes around every 10 to 15 years to do resurfacing. To get out ahead of it, we thought we could start working on what we need to do to tweak this intersection before it gets resurfaced again in five to 10 years.”
Crabill said the study, which will be carried out by Burgess & Niple at a cost of $29,000, will help determine whether improvements should be made to lane configuration, parking and/or pedestrian crossings.
“It will give us information we need to go to ODOT and present in order to look at modifications and funding for the intersection,” he said. “I don’t think we have plans to go away from the roundabout, but we want to look at how we can improve the existing configuration.”
During discussion on the safety of the roundabout, council members stated concerns over speeding and drivers not yielding to oncoming traffic.
Mayor Bill Bean said, in his opinion, pedestrian safety in Monument Square is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed.
“What scares me about the whole intersection is the pedestrians,” he said, noting if pedestrians don’t make eye contact with drivers when entering the crosswalks, there is a chance they could be struck by a vehicle. “We just need to do something to make (the roundabout) more pedestrian-friendly.”
Crabill added Burgess & Niple, along with city staff, will host a stakeholder meeting to discuss the conceptual layout of the roundabout after it has been developed. The meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 1 in the municipal building’s fire training room, is open to the public. The hope, Crabill said, is that individuals who own a downtown business or work in the downtown area will attend the meeting to help provide feedback on the roundabout.
In other business:
•Council passed an ordinance approving a three-year contract between the city and the Urbana Service Divisions, which consists of employees from the street, water and sewer departments.
The contract, ratified by Public Employees of Ohio Teamsters Local 284 on behalf of the Urbana Service Divisions on Nov. 17, 2015, contains what Brugger called a “handful of changes” from the previous three-year deal, which expired Nov. 26, 2015.
Brugger said the “most significant change” involves a modified pay scale in which a one-time adjustment is being made across the bargaining unit in year one, while the final two years include pay increases of 1.25 percent and 1 percent, respectively. The modified pay scale, he said, will help the city simplify processing while better aligning entry level positions with the market in hopes of attracting qualified employees and increasing the retention rate within the Urbana Service Divisions.
•A resolution authorizing Brugger to submit an application to the Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) Foundation to be considered for one of two $50,000 environmental-related grants being offered by DP&L to Tree City USA communities passed following the suspension of the three-readings rule.
Crabill said the grants will be awarded on Arbor Day, and if the city is selected, the funds will be used to remove trees in Monument Square and replace them with more viable ones. Also, the bricks around the trees would be replaced if needed. Any remaining funds, Crabill said, would be used to replace trees in the 100 blocks of Main Street (north and south).
•Council agreed to move the start time of its meetings in 2016 up an hour. Beginning Jan. 19, council will meet at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of every month in municipal court chambers.
•Instead of forming committees to meet with the various department heads throughout the city, Council President Marty Hess decided to change things up a bit in 2016 by doing away with the committees in favor of each city department having a council liaison to meet with when needed.
The council liaisons are as follows (all members assigned to administration and law departments): Dwight Paul (cemetery, finance), Cledis Scott (street), Ray Piper (water), Gene Fields (sewer, parks & recreation), Doug Hoffman (fire), Tony Pena (police) and Pat Thackery (engineering and zoning, finance).
“We will try this and see how it works,” Hess said. “If we need to change it, we can change it.”
•Paul was appointed president pro tempore for 2016, and Amy Deere was reappointed to the position of council clerk.
•Council approved a purchase order in the amount of $40,000 to Smartbill for monthly utility bill printing, mailing and postage for 2016. Brugger noted the annual contract went up $2,000 from a year ago.
•To cover the annual software licensing fees for the Urbana Police Division, council approved a purchase order in the amount of $13,467 to CMI, an increase of $635 from 2015.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.