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Erlanger Moves to Make Part of City More Pedestrian-Friendly

The City of Erlanger will work to make the intersection of Dixie Highway and Erlanger Road more pedestrian-friendly and handicapped-accessible.
The plan, discussed at Tuesday night's city council meeting, is to create a serpentine sidewalk that goes up the hill before the underpass, exiting by the stop sign at Crescent Avenue and Erlanger Road. There will be a gradual incline with rest areas, complete with benches.
There will be a  separate crosswalk at Erlanger Road, right by the veterinarian's office, which will be handicapped accessible with a ramp installed, and it will also feature a bench at the raised end of the crosswalk.  
The sidewalk that goes under the underpass and up the hill will be eliminated from the landscaped wall to Erlanger Road. Pedestrians will then take the serpentine sidewalk up to the stop sign at Crescent, cross Erlanger Road, then go down to the corner and proceed to the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Dixie Highway, where they can cross either way to get to shopping and the bus stop.
"We want to rebuild the sidewalks around the vet's office," said Jim Viox, city engineer. "Then because we will have money left over, we want to cure the drainage problem on the sidewalks under the underpass."
People who want to turn left to Erlanger Road as they travel north on Dixie Highway will no longer be able to do so, and therefore traffic will not back up on Dixie Highway.
Later in the meeting Viox told council there were two bids for the project, from TMS and Paul Michels and Sons, and council approved the lower bid from TMS in the amount of $207,747.70. He also asked council to include a change order which will add the cost of fixing the drainage under the railroad underpass. Viox said that the project came in at approximately $7,000 under estimate, so he recommended curing the drainage problem with the leftover money. Viox said he spoke to the contractors and they will begin the project as soon as possible.  
The project is estimated to take approximately six weeks, as long as the weather cooperates.
Other notes:
Council voted to annex 23.977 acres of land in Lion's Park, and a 7.597-acre strip of land in Boone County that is in back of the Cherry Hill subdivision.
In a first reading, council listened to the repeal of several sections of other ordinances pertaining to the property owner's obligation to repair sidewalks. The city will put the sidewalks on a rotating schedule for repair, just like the streets, once the ordinance is passed. City Administrator Marc Fields reminded citizens that this is only for repair, and it is still the owner's responsibility to maintain the sidewalks.
Council also passed a municipal order to enter into a lease with the Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Texas Pacific Railway Company for 87,120 square feet at Milepost 10 in Erlanger, which is currently used by the Public Works department. The cost for the lease is $9,100 per year and the lease is for three years. Councilman Don Nicely questioned the three-year lease, and suggested that the railway company might be running out of space for their switching concerns, and Mayor Tyson Hermes said they might have to look at other sites for the public works building if that came to pass.
Council agreed to a municipal order renewing the contract for waste removal with Republic Services. The contract has a 2.5 percent increase, so residents who have been paying $2.16 a pickup and $112.20 a year, will pay $2.26 per pickup and $117.62 per year starting July 1. There are two renewals on the contract.
The 136-acre site where the old Showcase Cinema once stood is set to become Erlanger Commerce Center, developed by Al. Neyer, LLC. A resolution was passed authorizing the mayor to execute a development agreement with the company. The development will involve new capital investment of between $40 million and $57 million for the light industrial, office and/or distribution facility, and is set to create between 1,200 and 1,700 new jobs.
Council also approved the mayor to execute a master subscription and service agreement with eCivis, Inc, relating to tools for writing successful grants. The cost is $5,367.05 per year, and the contract is renewable for three years. CAO Fields said the city currently has applications for $3.1 million in grants, and has received $2.1 million of those grants. He said there is approximately $945,000 pending, and said the city has only been turned down for $83,000 so far, so the grant writing subscription is well worth the price.
The city has received $357,253.74 in municipal road aid funds.
City Engineer Jim Viox told council of bids received for the Birch Drive road repair project. Several bids were received, in amounts from $160,972.50 to a high bid of $201,730, and Viox recommended the low bid, which was from JPS Construction. Council approved the recommendation. Viox pointed out that this project would come in at approximately $65,000 under estimate due to the fact that JPS was already working on a project on Erlanger Road so their equipment was already in the area and they were able to lower the costs.
Serena Owen presented the annual Community Hero awards at the beginning of meeting. The awards are given for selfless devotion and commitment to improve the quality of life. Mayor Hermes presented Owen with a proclamation declaring April 5 Community Hero day in the city.
The business spotlight fell on Corporate Storage System and its owner, Jay Geisler, came to give council a thumbnail sketch of the business.
Joe Scroggin, from the police department, received his five-year pin for service.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Top photo: Community Hero award recipients pose with Owen and Mayor Hermes
Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Jay Geisler
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