Street grant won

WAYNESFIELD — An engineering consultant provided updates Monday on two major projects in the the village for Waynesfield Village Council members.

Craig Mescher of Fanning/Howey & Associates discussed the Westminster Street improvement project and bringing natural gas to the village.

Mescher also announced a letter received from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) informed the village they received $679,000 in grants to pay for the street improvement project that will extend from the south edge of town on South Westminster Street to just north of Waynesfield-Goshen Schools on the north edge of the village.

“The village was one of only two that received money from these applications for these type of projects,” Mescher said. “The rest were bike path projects.”

Mescher said the village secured approximately 40 percent of the money for the project at this point. One percent of the money to pay for the project will come from local money, 20 percent will come from a zero percent loan and the rest will come from grant money.

Work to be done includes a new drainage system, complete street reconstruction, sidewalks, curb and gutters, and lighting along the street. Large trees are to be removed and replaced with smaller trees.

“You should get 35-40 years of life out of it,” Mescher said.

Mescher said the project would likely be accepting bids between May and June next year. He said engineering should be started this winter so underground work could be started by July or August.

Concerning the possibility of a natural gas utility, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the village will need to assess properties for an assessment bond to secure the money for the project.

“They want the village to do this because there is not enough equity in village-owned property to borrow $4 million for the project,” Mescher said. “They will require assessments through properties to make sure everyone is paying for the enhancements to their property with natural gas coming to town.”

The one positive is that landowners will be able to apply assessments as tax deductible. He said this would not have been possible with a revenue bond. A public meeting will be held to discuss details of the project and answer questions from residents, likely before the next council meeting.

“It’s best if you get as much information out there as possible,” Mescher said. “People are most concerned with how it will affect their financial situation.”

Mescher said it was optimal that councilors plan the two projects together and coordinate them since they will be major projects with big impacts in local travel.

Waynesfield Police Chief Nathan Motter said  members of the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a fire at a residence at 100 N. Earl Street that occurred Aug. 9.

Motter said the fire is being investigated as suspicious in nature. No one was inside the residence at the time of the fire. He noted no other information is currently available for release as the incident is under investigation.

Motter also said the case has been forwarded to Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Edwin Pierce for review.

Motter said that two intoxicated individuals recently had decided to climb the village water tower located at W. Perry St.

Motter said the prosecuting attorney is reviewing the case as to what charges can be sought as no “no trespassing” signs were located at the tower.

Motter said charges have been filed against one of the two suspects and additional charges may be filed against one or both. Motter said one of the individuals was a somewhat prominent person in the community, but he did not release a name pending review of the case by the prosecuting attorney’s office.

 Motter said “no trespassing” signs have been placed at the location since the incident.