MARIETTA - City council's streets and transportation committee on Wednesday gave city engineer Joe Tucker permission to pursue grant funding for projects from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Surface Water Improvement Fund (SWIF).
If awarded, the maximum $100,000 grant would require no local match and could be used to address runoff and drainage issues in the Rathbone area off Muskingum Drive, or for upgrades to the city's Parking Partners lot on Second Street.
"I think we should also submit for a MWCD (Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District) grant this fall to help address these issues," Tucker told the committee members.
He noted that the city had applied for an MWCD grant in 2010 for the Parking Partners lot, but was turned down although the application met or exceeded the grant criteria.
"We had letters of support and a very innovative project, but the board turned us down," Tucker said, adding that a second application should have a better chance for approval.
The SWIF grant application has to be filed by April 20, but Tucker said he wanted to consult with Joel Thrash, a Marietta College grad who works with Cardno/J.F. New engineering consultants in Cincinnati.
He said Thrash could help determine whether the Rathbone or the Parking Partners project would be best suited for the grant application.
The committee members agreed to allow Tucker to continue to pursue the grant application, which will require a resolution of support from the full council once he determines which project should be on the application.
In other business, engineering project manager Wayne Rinehart told the committee members that the proposed safety improvement project at the intersection of Greene, Pike and Seventh streets had gone back to the drawing board.
"The public and council members had concerns about the original proposed configuration of the intersection, so we took the plans back to ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) and asked them to take another look at the design," Rinehart said.
He said ODOT provided three new possible concepts to improve the intersection.
"They agreed something needs to be done to improve the safety of that intersection," Rinehart said. "And their concepts would move the entire current intersection to one of three locations."
All three locations would be east of the existing intersection and would require right of way property acquisition.
Rinehart said the engineering department considered the ODOT proposal and decided on a configuration that would require moving the intersection the shortest distance, to an area near the intersection of Pike Street and Hardwood Drive.
But he said a traffic modeling study would have to be performed first by the W.E. Stilson Consulting Group to determine whether that proposed configuration would work. The study would cost the city $1,097.
After viewing a preliminary drawing of the proposed project, Councilmen Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, and Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, expressed concern that the concept preferred by the engineering department could have an impact on businesses in that area.
But Tucker noted the drawing was just a rough draft and was not an accurate depiction of what areas would be impacted.
All of the committee members except Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, agreed to have the study performed.
Noland said he did not believe moving the intersection from its present location would serve to improve safety or decrease the number of traffic accidents in that area.