Willow Grove Park could reopen in June

LISBON – Willow Grove Park could reopen sometime in June once a sinkhole at the park entrance is repaired.

Street Supervisor Jim Oliver reported at last week’s Village Council meeting the Ohio Department of Transportation has agreed to install a new culvert pipe and fill in the sinkhole if the village purchases the pipe, which costs $1,800.

“They’ll do the work. All we have to do is pay for the pipe,” Oliver told council.

The sizable sinkhole is in the middle of the gravel road just inside the park gate and expanded to the point where it posed a danger to motorists entering Willow Grove.

The village decided last month to lock the park gate and place a large metal plate over the sinkhole until it could be repaired. The sinkhole exposed the culvert installed under the roadway by ODOT, and that portion of the property is within the state right-of-way for U.S. Route 30.

Oliver expects ODOT to install a new culvert in the next two to three weeks.

In other action, council approved a recommendation by Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner that will result in the village saving $400 a month on its employee health insurance.

The village currently pays a combined $16,600 per month in insurance premiums for its 22 full-time employees. Wonner said their insurance carrier offered to reduce that by $400 if the village would sign an 18-month contract extension through Dec. 31, 2015, which council agreed to do.

The move will also benefit employees, who pay 12.5 percent of the cost of their monthly premiums.

Thomas Road resident Paul Preston complained to council that nothing had been done to clean up the abandoned property next door to him even though he first brought it to their attention last year.

“I think if it was in one of you guys’ area it would be taken care of,” he told them.

Wonner said the village has yet to begin mowing the lawns of abandoned properties, which it usually does every summer, with the cost tacked onto the home’s real estate taxes. Police Lt. Fred Carlisle said he will also check to determine if letters had been sent to the owners advising them to clean up the property.

The Percics, who live on West Lincoln Way, reported the heavy rainfall from recent storms has resulted in the upper end of their property being damaged from runoff, which they say is heavier now than before the 2012 West Chestnut Street storm sewer project was done.

The Percics have been at odds with the village since the storm sewer project, which required the affected properties be restored to its original condition. Mayor Dan Bing and Councilman Joe Morenz said they would inspect the property to determine if anything can be done.

Officials reported during the recent community cleanup event held May 3 more than 48 tons of junk were collected by Waste Management, which was paid $8,462 by council.