Leetonia council OKs seeking grants for coke oven site

LEETONIA- Village Council Wednesday night authorized the applications for two grants for projects at the Cherry Valley Coke Ovens site.

Council granted permission for Coke Ovens Intern Justin Hite to file applications with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) to fund projects for parking and walking at the park site.

According to Hite, the ODOT grant is for $188,000 and would be used to install a parking lot at the site, as well as a connector from the site to the Greenway bike trail. The OPWC-Clean Ohio grant would be for pedestrian access routes to the park, but there is no estimated cost yet.

In other business, council modified the assistant fire chief position from unpaid volunteer to part-time salary and set the salary at $1,200 per year paid quarterly, retroactive to Jan. 1. Council approved the action last month due to an increase in responsibility and hours required of the position, currently filled by Dave Leffel.

Council also approved a one-year contract retroactive to Jan. 1 for Village Solicitor Walter Newton at no change in salary; the first reading of an ordinance changing High Street between Oak and Elm streets to one-way eastbound flow due to deterioration of the narrow roadway; and the continuation of the Enterprise Zone Agreement five-year extension approved in 2010 with Pennex in the industrial park.

Also at the meeting Zoning Inspector John Rydarowicz told council that the initial rental registration fee approved in February will not be enough to cover costs in the department and suggested increasing the initial fee from $10 to $25 before the next renewal. He noted that no other fees in the area are as low at Leetonia’s, with some as high as $100.

Additionally, Village Administrator Gary Phillips reported that ODOT will be replacing the Columbia Street bridge near the Dairy Queen in 2016 and workers are currently drilling to find a rock foundation for the base.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 17 at Village Hall, preceded by a Fire and EMS Committee meeting at 6 p.m.

Kevin Howell can be reached at khowell@salemnews.net