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Major Sidewalk Improvements Coming to Erlanger

Erlanger and Boone County will be embarking on a joint sidewalk project.
 
Thanks to a $2.12 million federal grant awarded through the Ohio Kentucky Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments, there will be new sidewalks from Dolwick Drive to Turfway Road, and from Mineola Pike - across I-275 - to Olympic Boulevard. Erlanger City Administrator Marc Fields said Tuesday night that since the city is the primary recipient of the grant, it will be responsible for bidding out the project. 
 
Much of the design work has been completed, Fields said, so the project could move more quickly than originally anticipated. The schedule, as it stands now, is for design to be fully completed in 2017, utility work in 2018, and the sidewalks in 2019. The project requires matching funds of 20 percent from the local governments involved.
 
Bids were received on the Nelson Road sidewalk project. The city had planned the project back in the spring, but had trouble acquiring the easements so it could do the project. At this point, the city still has two properties for which it has not acquired easements; one is a property that is currently listed for sale and the other has an owner that will meet with Mayor Tyson Hermes some time this week.  
 
Engineer Jim Viox recommended that the council accept the low bid of $62,220 from Straight Edge. The bid covers all the properties except the two that don't have easements, but if the easements come in while the work is being done, Straight Edge would add themfor an additional $8,496. Council approved the bid for not more than $77,716.
 
T.D. Dierker, from Nelson road, came to thank council for going ahead with the sidewalks on his street, citing the safety of the residents.
 
Meanwhile, resident Mark Estenfelder came to council again this month to repeat his argument that the intersection of Perimeter Drive and Stevenson Rpad is not safe, and that drivers are still running the stop signs in his neighborhood. He promised to fill the city building with people from the neighborhood to try and get the intersection closed.
 
One final note related to infrastructure: Light poles should be up on Hulbert Avenue by the middle of December. 
 
Fields also said at Tuesday's city council meeting that he is going to meet with Kenton County officials to determine the role of the city's emergency dispatch center with the new radio system that is coming to Northern Kentucky's three counties. Since Erlanger has several towers, he said the city may have some ownership in the system.
 
Other notes:
 
In other action Tuesday, the city adopted two ordinances related to a new state law regulating municipal code enforcement.  The first one rescinded all the other ordinances on nuisances, and defined and collated all the other nuisance definitions and their penalties into a new ordinance.  The second  ordinance re-created a code enforcement board, and stated that the five board members had to be appointed again at staggered terms to prevent the board from being entirely removed at once.
 
A third ordinance was read for the first time, adjusting the pay scales of many of the city employees to reflect the salaries of people in benchmark cities in the region. The city is also changing its health insurance policy. The new salaries will go into effect during the first full pay period in January.
 
Council passed a municipal order declaring five former police cruisers surplus property and instructed them to be disposed of by the city.
 
The senior Thanksgiving luncheon will be November 15, and 20 of the 50 places have been reserved, so it is recommended that people get their reservations in. 
 
Mayor Hermes declared November 1 as "Extra Mile Day" in the city. He said the city will be one of 575 extra mile cities in the country. The day honors those who go the extra mile for their families, friends, and neighbors as well as their community.
 
Ray Loflin, Technical Sales Director of Willow Ridge Plastics, was in the Business Spotlight, and he brought some samples of the work the company does in creating environmentally disposable plastics that biodegrade within a year of being thrown away. His company has made great strides in the area of biodegradable plastics, and he has interest and orders from all around the world. In reply to some questions from council, who were very interested in the samples, he said that he would be interested in speaking to high school students about the science of recycling and reusing products, as well as how to make plastic not last over a hundred years in the landfills. Willow Ridge is located behind Speedway.
 
Transitions and Ohio Valley Solid Surface met with the city about getting zone changes for relocating their businesses, but in the meantime the property at 313 Madison Pike was sold to a company that wanted to use the building for indoor soccer, so a zone change wasn't needed.  Fields said he was working with the businesses to find places for them within the city which didn't require zone changes.
 
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Photo: Erlanger Council (RCN file)