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City changing direction on back-in parking plan
By Beth Church
Rossford city officials are veering away from plans to establish back-in, angle parking downtown.
“I haven’t heard any good comments,” said Council President Larry Oberdorf at Monday’s Rossford City Council meeting.
Mayor Neil MacKinnon III agreed, “Neither have I.”
The unique parking was an attempt to bolster economic development, as it would nearly double the number of parking spaces downtown.
“We’ll never redevelop the main street if we don’t have enough parking,” Mayor MacKinnon said. “We’ve got to look at parking alternatives.”
The mayor noted that the city cannot change its demographics, but it could still be attractive to new businesses because of its location near the interstate and the casino–if parking spaces are increased.
Councilman Robert Ruse asked about the status of the back-in, angle parking study by the Mannik and Smith engineering firm.
“It should be more of a parking study in general,” he said.
City Administrator Ed Ciecka said the engineers have yet to start the study because they are waiting on traffic data from the Dixie Highway stop lights at Glenwood, Bacon and Eagle Point Road, which is part of another related safety upgrade.
He noted that the traditional angle parking could still be an option for downtown.
Council member Caroline Zuchowski Eckel said the public works committee would review the issue at its next meeting.
Last September, the parking lot behind the municipal building and library was re-striped to provide a practice area for back-in parking.
Back-in, angle parking is similar to parallel parking as the driver enters the parking space by stopping and reversing the vehicle, but it takes fewer maneuvers to park.
Parks & Recreation
Due to poor meeting attendance, the parks and recreation committee may change its membership structure.
“It’s hard to get a quorum at meetings,” said Council President Oberdorf, who chairs the committee.
Council member Eckel, who also serves on the recreation committee, noted that the members representing the Rossford Board of Education have not been attending.
“It’s really unfortunate they don’t make a point to show up,” she said. “Can’t they get an alternate there? A principal or the athletic director?”
“We’re looking at going forward, if cooperation isn’t something they’re interested in.”
Mr. Oberdorf said the new board make-up, which requires council’s approval, would have five members composed of three city council members, one school board representative (with one alternate) and one citizen-at-large representative.
A student representative would be a non-voting, non-official member who is welcome to attend and provide input.
“Both school board members are welcome to attend and be part of discussion, but the alternate only gets a vote if the assigned representative is not present,” he added.
The committee will consider looking into alternative school-related members on the committee.
Council President Oberdorf reviewed other issues covered by the committee:
•Recreation director Ivan Kovacevic has asked an intern to conduct door-to- door surveys on the “tot lot” playgrounds as part of their place in long-term master planning.
He also presented some ideas about Island View Park and was instructed by the committee to see how they fit in with the Rossford Beautification Committee’s goals and objectives.
Mr. Kovacevic additionally has been meeting with several companies for improvements at Veterans Memorial Park and is gathering cost estimates.
•The recreation director said some issues have come up regarding age restrictions in the weight room at the recreation center. After discussion, the committee determined the best course of action is to continue with current policy, with no exceptions to be made.
•Upcoming and future programs and special events that are possible are yoga and movies in the park, if sufficient local sponsorship can be found.
•Mr. Kovacevic listed some capital improvements he is considering and noted their costs.
These include a new treadmill with required electrical work for it; lockerroom improvements of privacy stalls, benches, hooks; upgrading the WiFi signal around the facility.
After some discussion about these possibilities, Mr. Oberdorf said the committee recommended pursuing the treadmill and the locker room upgrades, but scale back on WiFi to enhance the signal in the front of the facility, and not as much in the back where the gymnasium and weightrooms are located.
In other business, council:
•Approved an ordinance to prepare plans and engineer’s estimates for the 2015 street paving program.
The ordinance lists the following streets: Indian Valley Court, Windsor Drive from Hoffman Avenue north, Hannum Avenue from Eagle Point Road to Riverview Place, Riverview Place, Osborn, Bacon, Bergin, Walnut and Oak streets, and the intersection of State Route 65 and Eagle Point Road. The list is leftover from 2014.
The ordinance includes a $44,500 contract with Mannik Smith Group, consulting engineers, to prepare the construction drawings and review bids.
•Amended a contract with FET Construction Services for the South Compass Drive lighting project, adding change orders of $3,700.
Mr. Ciecka said the company had a conflict with the Buckeye Pipeline, which required encasement of the electrical conduits with colored concrete.
There also were fees charged by Toledo Edison for installation of the electrical feed that the company was not aware of earlier.
With the change orders, the new cost of the project is $108,950, which is being being paid with Crossroads TIF funds.
•Heard a second reading of an ordinance to contract with Waste Management for garbage and recycling collection at an annual cost of $266,965.
The service would include weekly garbage pick-up and every-other-week recycling collection, both using a 96-gallon toter/ wheeled cart.
Councilman Jerry Staczek said he is concerned about reducing recycling collection to alternating weeks.
He does not believe the cost savings of about $40,000 is worth the reduction in service.
“I don’t think that every-other-week recycling is in the best interests of our community,” he added.
If the additional expense of $40,000 is spread over the year among the 2,300 households, he estimated the increased cost would only be about 33 cents per week.
Mr. Staczek also believes that Waste Management should provide in its garbage collection service the pick-up of two mattresses in one week.
“With the number of rentals in the community, people moving out will leave them,” he said.
The discarded mattresses at the curb do not assist the city’s nuisance abatement efforts, he added.
Mr. Ciecka also confirmed for council that the new contract will continue collection from the alleys.
•Heard a request from Councilman Staczek to consider moving the World War I memorials out of the boulevard on Dixie Highway.
Several new locations could be Veterans Park or near the water fountain on the front lawn of the municipal building.
He asked the facilities committee of council to discuss the issue.
Mayor MacKinnon agreed, noting that it is not really safe for people to walk through the boulevard to read the memorials.
Clerk of council Bob Watrol said the monuments were placed in the boulevard because Dixie/Superior Street originally was known as Veterans Memorial Parkway.
“I tried to get it changed back,” he said, but was not successful.
Councilman Staczek said he would like to see the issue addressed before the 100th anniversary of WWI in 2017.
•Scheduled a committee-of-the-whole meeting for 6 p.m., Monday, March 9, at the municipal building, 133 Osborn Street, to discuss some major financial decisions for 2015.
Council’s regular meeting will follow immediately afterward. Both meetings are open to the public.
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Rossford lies at the heart of the Crossroads of America, an area experiencing tremendous economic growth, located at the crossroads of Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike. The city's population of approximately 6,000 is primarily a mix of descendants of Polish, Czechoslovakian, German and Ukrainian workers who came from Pennsylvania to work at the glass plant, now Pilkington.
Rossford was incorporated as a village in 1939 and as a city in 1971. The City is a municipal corporation which operates under its own charter and is governed by a mayor and seven-member City Council. Rossford is served by full-time police and part-time fire departments, dispatched from the neighboring Village of Walbridge.
The City maintains a Community Recreation Center and three parks, one of which,Veterans Memorial Park, features a seasonal marina along with picnic areas and diamonds and courts for baseball, tennis, basketball and volleyball.
Rossford has three elementary schools, Glenwood, Indian Hills and Eagle Point, a junior high and high school and All Saints parochial school for grades pre-kindergarten through eight.
The city boasts a public library and many service and community organizations such as the Rossford Business Association, Lions Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Its Rossford Community Service League sponsors annual activities such as a Valentine's Day Dance, Easter egg hunt, Halloween, Memorial Day parades and their Christmas tree lighting.
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