SALEM - The Parks Committee approved an easement on Tuesday for Columbia Gas to access its property to install new gas lines and fix a leak.
The lines are located in the median strip that splits the north and south Park Drives between East State and East Pershing streets, just north of the Centennial Park entrance.
Committee Chairman Earl A. Schory II said a line has been leaking and Mayor Jerry Wolford said he's heard from Columbia Gas and the company wanted to "get going on it."
He said it was quite high on their agenda and Parks Director Steve Faber said there was a leak on the west side of the of the median strip.
"They seem to be quite concerned," Wolford said, "they told me on a scale of one to 10 it was an eight."
After the meeting he said the scale of reference was a "danger scale."
Faber said the gas lines have been there for years and that park commissioners have already agreed to the easement.
He said it was forwarded to the law director stressing that the parks department will not incur any expenses.
Schory asked if there was any problem with digging up flowers near the bell and Faber said there were no concerns.
After the committee approved the easement and Schory said, barring some reason city council could vote against it, and he was unsure of what that might be, Columbia Gas could move ahead.
"If some houses are at risk, something needs to be done," he said, adding they didn't want to see "fire coming out of the ground."
Wolford asked if council could pass the easement as an emergency measure with all three readings at once and Schory agreed.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org