RIPLEY – The Second Street (US 52) repair project has hit high gear according to Ripley Village Administrator Pete Renshaw.
Construction crews are taking out sections of concrete and replacing them. The construction company will continue to do this for two weeks and then they will start milling. Renshaw hopes to have the road repaved and construction done by the Fourth of July. Right now motorists are experiencing traffic delays while the work is going on.
“The original seams buckled. Then they repaired them, then they buckled again, and now we are doing it still again,” said Renshaw. “I think it is an inherit design problem.”
Further down the street, the Streetscape project is on hold because only one bid came in. The bid came in 57 percent above projected cost.
“That was too much for our blood financially and too much for ODOT,” said Renshaw. “I met with Ron Roberts and Jeff Stine, who did the design work, to see what options we might have available to us. We even discussed stopping at the other side of Red Oak bridge, but ODOT did not like that idea. They said it had to go as written.
“So what is going to happen with that is they are going to take the plans, they are going to take the kiosk, the welcome center we are going to have built, and have an alternative option to build that in the future or maybe not even build it. The projected cost of that was $95,000 and it was going to be built in Michigan. So we are thinking not do that and get something built more locally for a lot less money.”
Renshaw said he and ODOT talked at great length that there seems to be a shortage of contractors right now. Everybody’s got their summer schedule in place and everybody’s already working. So there wasn’t anybody who had room in their schedule, to take this project.
“Instead of an end date of this September we could set the end date for next summer. That would give more bidders time and get us a better price,” said Renshaw. “That’s where we are at this … on this.”
Council member Charles Poole asked if they are going to rebid the same package and Renshaw said they were.
“They will probably rebid it here in the next couple weeks,” replied Renshaw.
Renshaw then shifted direction in his report to downtown.
“Anyone who has been up town lately knows Easton Alley is closed. It is closed for safety reasons because of the building collapse. The engineer came in the following day and ordered it to be demolished. They gave a time frame of June 3 to June 8. As of to date nothing has been done,” said Renshaw.
“However, the owner did come in today and she had talked to her insurance adjuster. She’s got her money lined up. She’s looking for a contractor. I gave her a couple of names. She promised to get that done as rapidly as possible.”
In attendance for the meeting was attorney Thomas Mayes, who is now working with the Law Office of McConn and Cutrell in Georgetown. Ripley Solicitor Jay Cutrell announced at the previous meeting he would be retiring June 30 and a replacement needed to be made by July 1.
At Tuesday’s meeting Cutrell made a pitch to council to hire Mayes as solicitor to replace him. Cutrell said he made a suggestion to council at the last meeting to hire Mayes to replace him.
Mayes addressed village council and introduced himself. Mayes said he graduated law school in 2012, practiced a year and a half in Brown County before he went to the law school he graduated from for six months being the dean of students. He said he is coming back to Brown County to work for Cutrell’s law office.
“I’m from Ohio, my wife’s from Ohio, we are looking for a reason to come back home,” Mayes told council. ‘We plan on being here for a long time. My grandparents live at Lake Waynoka and they have been there for about 20 years.”
Cutrell followed that there are not that many attorneys that specialize in this type of “municipal law.” Cutrell said he would supply Mayes with his institutional knowledge.
“I endorse Tommy because he has the desire to do that type of thing,” said Cutrell.
Mayor Tom Leonard asked Administrator Pete Renshaw if other resumes had been received and when. Renshaw responded that yes there were other resumes and that they had come in about a week and a half ago.
“If we have resumes, I think we should go through the same process we usually go through. That’s my opinion,” said council member Daniel Dragoo. “I think we should look through resumes and consider all of them.”
Council member Roberta Sidwell then brought up executive session and information leaking from those closed sessions.
“The last time we went into executive session, before the next morning what we discussed in executive session was out on the street and it came from within these people here,” said Sidwell. “That is not good. I feel like when go into executive session we are not following the rules.”
The mayor said he got a phone call 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning from a guy saying he was very interested in the job and he understood Jay would be leaving the end of June.
“To my knowledge at our council meeting, Jay had not mentioned any date to the public, it came out of this room guys… somewhere,” said Mayor Leonard. “That 12 hours after. That’s not good at all.
“…somebody is talking to somebody that thinks they are friends, but they are not, because they are telling everything.”
After an executive session at the end of the meeting, the council reconvened and Dragoo announced that council was going to open it up and accept resumes for the solicitor’s position until June 19. He then said council would have a special meeting 6 p.m. June 22 to go over them. That would be followed by the regular meeting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 23.
In other council business, at the end of the regular meeting council was asked about the closing of Ripley IGA. Mayor Leonard reported IGA closed on Thursday, June 4. He said he has been in conversation with building owners and there could be news in the future about the situation.