July 30, 2014

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Lorain Council approves road, energy projects

LORAIN — Support for Bascule Bridge repairs, a Dayton Avenue road improvement study and a proposed wind energy project all were approved by City Council members at their Tuesday meeting.

The approximately $11 million bridge project on East Erie Avenue will be done by the Ohio Department of Transportation and is slated to begin in 2018. Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler told Council that the city will work with ODOT to minimize traffic detours and delays that occurred during 2008 work.

The approved ordinance allows ODOT to hire a design consultant. Lorain does not have to pay any project costs unless it seeks improvements beyond those deemed necessary by ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration, according to the ordinance documents.

The Dayton Avenue study from West 36th Street to the southern terminus will be done by the Engineering Department. The study followed numerous complaints about bumpy conditions, said Mayor Chase Ritenauer and Council members.

“Portions of it are actually impassable and unsafe,” said Councilman Greg Argenti, I-4th Ward. Argenti, whose ward includes the road, said Council needs to be “as creative as possible to get this done.”

Ritenauer said if improvements are done, abutting homeowners would have to pay for them through assessments. That’s because the dirt road was not paved when homes were built there.

Federal taxpayers would pay for the proposed $46.7 million “Icebreaker” wind project. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., a regional nonprofit economic development group, has secured $4 million for the project, according to ordinance documents. The corporation is one of six groups seeking additional money from the U.S. Department of Energy.

If approved, the project would create more than 500 jobs initially and 8,000 jobs by 2030, according to the documents.

“I’m definitely glad we could be part of this,” said Councilman Dennis Flores, D-2nd Ward, who was re-elected as Council’s liaison for the project.

In other business

* Retired Police Officer Corey Earl wrote a letter asking Council to review his request for a retired police officer’s badge and ID from the Police Department. Council referred it to the Ritenauer administration.

Earl, who retired in 2009 after a series of strokes, pleaded guilty to forgery charges in 2011. Officer Kyle Gelenius, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 president, said the police union hasn’t taken a position on the request.

* Councilman Eddie Edwards, D-5th Ward, was absent from the meeting due to an undisclosed illness. Edwards, who last attended a meeting Nov. 4, has missed six straight Council meetings.

Edwards didn’t return calls Tuesday, but Council Clerk Nancy Greer said she spoke to Edwards last week. Greer said Edwards lost driving privileges due to his condition but hopes to attend the next meeting.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

  • Phil Blank

    The Charles Berry Bascule Bridge , AGAIN?
    They just repaired it not that long ago.

  • Americaschild

    doesnt council have a rule that 6 meetings and get rid of this councilman edwards–get rid of him!

  • LookBackTwo

    “Federal taxpayers would pay for the proposed $46.7 million “Icebreaker” wind project. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., a regional nonprofit economic development group, has secured $4 million for the project, according to ordinance documents. The corporation is one of six groups seeking additional money from the U.S. Department of Energy.” They think we Lorain County taxpayers do not realize that we are the providers of the Federal Tax Dollars they refer to! This project would leave us blowing in the wind and subsidizing the companies forever!