CIRCLEVILLE — North Court Street will be closed for 90 days during the summer of 2022 so the Ohio Department of Transportation can replace the bridge over Hargus Creek.
Steve Fallenger, an engineer and project manager with the Ohio Department of Transportation explained the project and took questions from Circleville City Council on the project. The project will start after Mother’s Day in 2022 and be finished ahead of the Pumpkin Show that year.
“This project is replacing the bridge over Hargus Creek, the bridge over Court Street,” Fallenger said. “The bridge was built in 1924 so it’s coming up on being 100 years old. We’re replacing it with a similar structure, a single span arch bridge and doing some other work including utilities in the road that we’re replacing, the water line and the sanitary line.”
According to Fallenger, the project would cost $1.65 million and pave about .14 miles of road, from Water Street to Ted Lewis Drive. He explained the reason for closing the road, although there will be local traffic access to both sides of the bridge.
“Traffic will be detoured and there will be a local detour for local traffic and we’re trying to avoid any local events, The Pumpkin Show, and things like that so we’re not impacting those,” he commented.
The project is still in the planning phase, which is the reason the project is two years out from happening.
“We’re working with the service director on a number of things including the rail on the side,” Fallenger added.
Conduits will be added to the bridge to allow for the City, should it so choose, to add lighting to the bridge but that project would be entirely on the City’s dime and time.
“We’re adding the conduit so wire could be pulled through relatively easily so future lighting could be added,” he explained. “We’re not adding any structures or anything like that to the bridge ourselves.”
Fallenger, taking a question from council member Todd Brady, said there were no plans to include a bike trail in the design nor would there be room underneath the bridge to have one under the current design.
After Fallenger’s presentation, Tom Spring, Circleville Board of Zoning Appeals chair and Dick Liston, vice chair, shared updates to City Council on the recently created board following their initial meeting in January.
Spring said the board spent the first hour of the meeting sharing their individual views on making good zoning decisions and what that means.
“I have to say I was very impressed with the quality of discussion and the passion by the members of the board and the alternates,” Spring remarked. “We are charged to do a good job and do it correctly.”
Spring also told Council that Circleville is charging less for fees than other similar communities and asked that they take a look at potentially changing them.
“We don’t have near enough planning and zoning resources so that may be one way to improve the services we provide,” Spring said.
Liston asked Council to consider hiring someone part-time to follow up on the variances granted by the board to ensure the code is followed.
“If I look at last year there were less than 30 cases heard by the Zoning Commission for appeals and that’s less than three a month,” Liston commented. “It certainly shouldn’t take an individual more than half a day a month to do the work that has to be done. That’s my appeal — is that you consider it because we need someone. Without someone in the field our zoning code has no teeth and people can do whatever they want.”
During the meeting, City Council also voted unanimously to approve joining the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). Barry Keller, Council member, shared what happened at the judicial committee meeting that the ordinance was discussed.
“It’s been many years ago since the City was a member of MORPC and they had a representative here to discuss the benefits to the City including some grant opportunities and funding sources they make available to their members,” Keller said. “The committee recommends the passing of the ordinance.”
Prior to the meeting, Circleville Mayor Don McIlroy announced a town hall meeting for downtown stakeholders on the subject of Uptown Circleville and moving the City into a full Main Street program.