NORTH RIDGEVILLE — City Council approved legislation Monday to authorize about $650,000 to pay for easements through residential and business properties needed to widen Lear-Nagle Road between Lorain and Center Ridge roads.
Councilman Terrance Keenan, R-1st Ward, cast the dissenting vote in the 6-1 decision.
Keenan said he supports the improvements but believes he should honor residents’ wishes following the defeat of a proposed 0.86-mill bond issue in May that would have allowed the city to borrow up to $8 million to cover its 12.5 percent share of the roughly $67 million widening of both Lear-Nagle and Center Ridge roads.
The issue was rejected, 2,179 to 2,036.
“It was close, but we asked voters and they said no, and it’s hard to vote ‘yes’ in the hope the public will vote ‘yes’ again,” Keenan said.
Saying he appreciated Keenan’s viewpoint, Mayor David Gillock said he felt reasonably sure people would say yes to a measure that costs them only $30.10 a year for 20 years for owners of homes valued at $100,000.
The Lear-Nagle work is projected to cost about $13 million while the Center Ridge widening is budgeted at about $54 million. State and federal money would pay the bulk of the projected $67 million price tag for both roads.
To date, 21 offers have been made to buy right-of-way property on Lear-Nagle Road, Gillock said. Eight have been acquired. The biggest price tag for a right-of-way deal so far has been $6,000, the mayor said.
Some 90 parcels are involved in the right-of-way situation, Gillock said.
Some easements are needed to relocate utilities, while others would provide sufficient room for construction work to take place.
The city looks to be reimbursed 50 percent for acquisition costs on Lear-Nagle by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.
While both projects call for lanes to be added to each road, the Center Ridge widening is much larger in scope, calling for a three- to five-lane expansion along 2.3 miles between Stoney Ridge and Lear-Nagle roads. The work would require acquisition of 38 feet on the south side of Center Ridge through the purchase of 20 residences and businesses.
City officials have indicated the bond issue most likely will reappear on the November ballot. Construction bids are not expected to go out on either road project before 2016.
Even if voters reject the bond issue a second time, the city still has time to consider other ways to come up with funding, including borrowing money from the state or re-configuring the city’s street levy, Gillock said.
“Somehow, we’ll get it done,” he said.