Saturday, April 3, 2010

Kiss one bottleneck goodbye......


In the great scheme of things, traffic in Newark is usually
not much of a problem. The three areas that come to mind
as being the most problematic are North 21st Street around
the ramps to State Route 16, Church Street and Country
Club between the State Route 16 ramps and Granville Road,
and finally Mount Vernon Road between Deo Drive and
Waterworks.

The State of Ohio (ODOT) has plans to add some lanes to
21st Street and the State Route 16 ramps, so that problem
could be lessened, with construction possibly starting this
summer. The City of Newark is working on plans to widen
Country Club Drive north of Granville Road, which should
help, but maybe not entirely fix that problem. The Country
Club Road widening is projected to happen in late 2011.

After much effort (the process included some eminent
domain takings, so effort should be expected), construction
has begun on the Deo Drive extension across Mount Vernon
Road. Well, almost. The work started is the relocation of
utility lines and demolition. Road work is expected to start
by mid-April and should be completed by late Spring of 2011.

For those of us who travel north on Mount Vernon Road in
the afternoons, the two traffic lights at Deo and Waterworks,
a scant 490 feet apart, always make for some interesting
driving, or more accurately waiting. Upon completion of this
project, Deo Drive will cross Mount Vernon (the light
remains), cross the rail road tracks, and then bend north to
connect to Waterworks Road. The existing light at
Waterworks and Mount Vernon Road will be only a
memory and the intersection of Waterworks and Mount
Vernon Road will only provide access to those few
businesses that are located on the west side of the rail
road tracks.

The drawing below shows the new roadway.





Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the construction
is how the City is paying for it's share of the cost (Federal
dollars will pay about half of the more than $4,000,000
total cost). Back during the Stare Administration, a TIF
district was proposed for the development of the old Chilcote-
Prior farm. TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing. This
is a development tool that allows for a certain percentage of
the property taxes projected to be collected on future
commercial development to be re-allocated, or re-directed,
towards infrastructure improvements. After the TIF was put
in place, the Chilcote-Prior farm became Adornetto's, Wal-
Mart, Log Pond Plaza, McDonalds,Steak n Shake, First
Federal, a LMH medical office building, the Light House car
wash, Murphy Oil and a three unit strip center. All told, a
significant amount of development.

Over time the boundaries of the TIF district were expanded
to include the Home Depot site, the Kohl's site, and the
North Elementary site.

Infrastructure improvements ultimately paid for by the
TIF proceeds include the extension of Deo Drive west to
Goosepond Road, the construction of Log Pond Road
connecting Baker Blvd to Deo Drive,the expansion of
sanitary sewer and water lines, and now finally the
extension of Deo Drive across Mount Vernon Road to
Waterworks Road.

The one constant through this whole TIF process has been
Brian Moorehead, the City Engineer. Working with limited
capital improvement dollars, he has significant
responsibilities. Those of us who come in contact with him
professionally consider Brian to be open-minded, fair,
thoughtful, unflappable, steady, responsive, responsible,
methodical, and proficient. In other words, he is a good
man who is good at his job. Without a lot of fanfare, he has
served the citizens of Newark well. He deserves a pat on
the back.

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