NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Mayor David Gillock said Tuesday night he felt the city was leveraging its dollars in smart fashion when it came to the $8 million bond issue on the primary ballot to cover the city’s share of the $64.8 million widening of Center Ridge and Lear-Nagle roads.
“Being a big-dollar issue, I figured it would be close,” Gillock said of the .86-mill levy, which failed by a vote of 2,179 to 2,036, or 52 percent to 48 percent, according to unofficial election results.
“Everybody has said we need sidewalks and to fix the roads, and with a cost of $30 a year I was pretty convinced it would pass,” Gillock said. “I guess we didn’t the message across.”
Owners of homes valued at $100,000 would have paid $30.10 a year for the 20-year bond issue.
Gillock cited the low turnout as one factor in the bond issue’s defeat.
With both projects not slated to go out for bids until 2016, the city will try again to win approval for the bond issue – probably in November.
“This is the highest priority in the city,” Gillock said. “We look to bring it back when there will be a much bigger (voter) turnout that should make a difference.”
The 20-year bond issue was the final piece of the funding pie for the pair of projects that have been bandied about for more than 25 years.
“This doesn’t set the project back,” Gillock said. “The construction dollars are still there. And right-of-way acquisition and other components remain on schedule.”
The bond issue would have permitted the city to borrow up to $8 million to cover the city’s 12.5 percent share of improving both roads.
Expansion of Center Ridge Road, the city’s main east-west traffic artery, has been a major goal for years, due to increasing traffic congestion and high volume of accidents.
State and federal funds are to pay the bulk of the projected $51.7 million cost of widening a 2.3-mile stretch of Center Ridge from three to five lanes between Stoney Ridge Road in the western end of town to Lear-Nagle Road toward the east.
Construction is expected to take two years and be finished in 2018.
A similar timeline is planned for the $13 million Lear-Nagle project, which would expand that road from two to three lanes from Center Ridge to Lorain roads.