ELYRIA — Getting 11 different minds to agree on how to spend a large lump sum of unexpected money is not easy.
City Council members proved that with the multiple discussion needed to come up with a plan for the $3.4 million windfall the state’s Office of Unclaimed Funds returned to the city several months ago from a long forgotten life insurance plan. When the announcement was first made that Elyria would be the recipient of the largest amount of unclaimed funds in state history, the ideas of how to spend the money were in abundance.
Monday the actual plan was voted on by Council. Road projects will encompass a large majority of the money.
While Mayor Holly Brinda originally recommended the city use more than $2 million of the money for the 49th Street bridge reconstruction project, Council members OK’d just about $1.8 million for the project, which aims to eliminate the clover leaf maze of on ramps and exit ramps near Midway Mall.
Councilmen Vic Stewart, D-at large, and Garry Gibbs, R-3rd Ward, voted against the ordinance. Both have long said the project does not offer enough benefit to Elyria to justify using so much of the money.
The next chunk of the money — $800,000 — will go toward the Middle Avenue street construction project. It is a project Council unanimously voted to fund.
Councilman Marcus Madison, D-5th Ward, said the project is the most important one to affect his ward in years by transforming the street into a boulevard-type thoroughfare befitting a street that serves as the gateway to the city.
All 11 Council members voted in favor of putting $500,000 in the Street Resurfacing fund, spending $174,000 on technology and software upgrades and $75,000 for a new time clock system.
It also was decided that $60,000 would go toward new security measures at Elyria City Hall, but Madison and Councilman Mark Craig, I-4th Ward, voted against the idea.
“I know we took a long time to come up with a plan on how to spend all of this money,” said Councilman Jack Baird, R-at large. “The mayor and the administration worked hard to come up with this funding plan, and we took the time to discuss this and I think we have come to what I consider mostly good decisions.”
The remaining $50,000 will be spilt among the street resurfacing program and the Parks Department, which was decided on later in the meeting.
Correct list of streets to be resurfaced
A miscommunication between the Engineering Department and the Utilities Department led to the circulation of an incorrect list for the 2013 street resurfacing program.
Monday night, City Council unanimously passed an ordinance outlining what streets will receive work this year.
The following list makes up the current program:
- Cambridge Avenue from Prospect Street to Garford Avenue.
- Colgate Avenue from Park Avenue to University Avenue.
- Canterbury Court from Whitman Boulevard to the cul-de-sac.
- Canterbury Court from Windsor Drive to Whitman Boulevard.
- Crestview Drive (asphalt portion only).
- Fourth Street from Middle Avenue to West Avenue.
- Chadwick Drive.
- Lowell Street from Huron Street to just past Penfield Avenue.
- Beebe Avenue from Poplar Street to the cul-de-sac.
- Bennett Drive east of Georgetown Avenue.
- West River Road (Griswold Road to state Route 57) pavement joint sealing.
- Underwater bridge inspection services.
- If funds are available, intersection safety improvement (signals and crosswalks).
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.