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Road project likely won’t be done before Pumpkin Fest

T-L Photo/LENNY WITTENBROOK Crews recently began work on an extensive overhaul of the intersection of Main and Chestnut streets in Barnesville. The $454,000 project is part of a statewide intersection safety initiative spearheaded by Gov. Mike DeWine and will include improvements to the intersection of Main and South streets also.

By LENNY WITTENBROOK

For The Times Leader

BARNESVILLE — Village Council learned last week that a long anticipated, state-funded intersection improvement project is underway and is unlikely to be finished in time for the Pumpkin Festival in September.

Village Administrator Roger Deal made the announcement during a scheduled council meeting, saying that the kickoff of construction on the project on July 25 had come as a surprise.

“I have stressed to everybody involved about the Pumpkin Festival, but it won’t be finished by then,” said Deal, who went on to say that for now work will be focused on the intersection of Main and Chestnut streets to minimize interference with the annual festival, which is traditionally held on the last full weekend of September.

The $454,000 state-funded project is part of a statewide “Intersection Safety” initiative spearheaded by Gov. Mike DeWine that will see major improvements made to the intersection of Main and Chestnut as well as the intersection of Chestnut and South streets.

Deal said the project had already had “a few complications,” but that he was hopeful things will soon go smoother as work continues.

Deal also said that he had met with members of the group who last month announced their intention to restore and reopen the Barnesville State Theatre on West Main Street. They are working on a plan to put a new roof on the structure, which would involve rerouting some electric lines.

Warren Township Trustee Jim Greer, representing the group, addressed council to ask about using the North Broadway parking lot to stage the roofing materials for an as yet undetermined number of days, adding that the materials would be kept condensed, organized and safe.

Both Mayor Dale Bunting and Councilman Tony Johnson suggested they close the alley and use it to stage the materials rather than the parking lot, so as to not interfere with Barnesville Elementary’s use of the lot.

Councilman Tim McKelvey led a round of praise for the group.

“I commend you guys on what you’re doing,” he said. “That’s a big deal for the downtown.”

Meanwhile, Deal informed council that Stadium Drive had been paved and crews next plan to pave the alley “from Cheffy’s down, around, and out to South Gardner Street.”

Deal and Councilman Brian Yarnall discussed milling versus not milling when streets are paved and the need for curbs to effectively deflect rainwater.

Deal also arranged a Street and Alley Committee meeting for 6 p.m. Aug. 22 in Council Chambers in order to go over and score the letters of interest from engineering firms for the Rails to Trails Project.

In response to a question from Councilman Steve Hill, Deal said that Rich Sidwell, who had been instrumental in making the Rails to Trails project a reality, would be kept involved in the project but was unable to commit the time needed to be on the committee.

Hill also asked whether a plat had been made reflecting the recent settlement of ownership of a 20 by 50-foot portion of Louise Alley with Village Solicitor Adam Meyser, saying there was no plat, but that the final settlement of the matter had been recorded.

Hill, who works as a surveyor, said he disagreed with the lack of procedure.

“It should have a plat signed by the mayor, the president of the council, the county engineer, the recorder, and auditor. All them people need to sign off on that,” he said.

Meyser maintained that the property descriptions in the settlement would be adequate.

Fire Chief Tim Hall reminded those present that the Barnesville Fire Department’s 150th Anniversary would be celebrated with a Public Safety Day on Aug. 27 with Jaws of Life demonstrations and other activities.

Police Chief Rocky Sirianni announced that the recently held Third Annual Barnesville Police Department K-9 Golf Scramble had been a huge success.

“We all appreciate everyone who had anything to do with that,” said Sirianni.

Councilman Yarnall chimed in that he had attended the event and that it was well organized and everyone had a good time.

Bunting announced Mayor’s Court figures for the month of July, saying that the state had received $227.50, the county $7.50, and the village $479, for a total of $714.

In other business, council passed a resolution authorizing Deal to apply for Ohio Public Works Commission grant funding for a street paving project for 2023, approved paying bills in the amount of $88,749.69, and approved a building permit for Jacob Hershberger to demolish a house at 508 N. Chestnut Street.

Barnesville Village Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 15 in the village offices on Arch Street.

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