Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

City Council Update February 20

Oberlin’s City Council held its regular meeting on Tuesday. The meeting would have been held on Monday but was moved due to the observance of President’s Day.

Proclamation Honors Connie Ponder for Outstanding Services 

The Oberlin City Council issued a proclamation to honor Connie Ellington-Ponder for Outstanding Services to the City of Oberlin. The Council proclaimed that Room 301 at the Oberlin Enrichment and Activity Center should be renamed as the “Ms. Connie Ellington-Ponder Activity Room.” Room 301 was the library of the former Prospect School, where Ellington-Ponder was the school librarian. Nancy Wall accepted the award on Ellington-Ponder’s behalf. The dedication of the room will be April 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Lorain County Bicentennial Time Capsule

On the occasion of the Lorain County Bicentennial, the county plans to entomb a time capsule to be opened in 50 years, in which it hopes to include materials from all its municipalities. The Lorain County Bicentennial Committee and Lorain County Commissioners sent a letter to the City of Oberlin asking the City to provide materials to be enclosed in the capsule. The Jan. 30 letter asked that all the materials be sent in a 9-by-11-inch envelope by April 1. At the meeting, City Manager Rob Hillard and Oberlin Heritage Center Collections Manager Maren McKee asked the Council for ideas as to what to include in the submission. Councilmembers made several suggestions, including brochures of events happening in Oberlin, photographs of murals, and asking Oberlin churches and students in schools to submit projects and other material. They decided to solicit as many items as they could before sorting through them for submission.

Members Express Concern about Communication of Charter Amendments 

Several members of the Council said they had received complaints that residents were not able to understand the amendments due to the complexity of the language. The discussion was kickstarted by Councilmember Joe Waltzer, who also questioned why all communications from the City government were not written to be more easily understood — a position that several other members agreed with. City Law Director Jon Clark told the Council that he would be able to reuse a memorandum about the amendments and reword it to make it more understandable, at which point it can be distributed to the public. The memorandum was originally distributed at the public hearing when the amendments were announced.

First Church at Oberlin Rezoned to Institutional District 

The Council unanimously approved an ordinance to rezone the property of the First Church at Oberlin from the R-2/Two Family Dwelling District to the I/Institutional District. The First Church is the first property in the City to be zoned in the I category. I Districts contain a different set of regulations from R-2 Districts, including taller height restrictions, among others, which makes them more suited to institutional use. The district was created in 2019 in the hopes that the College and other entities in town would use it, and Director of Planning and Development Carrie Porter informed the Council that she was in talks with the College about rezoning the campus. The First Church has not planned for any new buildings to be made on the property, but did say that they were considering new signage on the land. 

Replacements of Bridges Over Plum Creek

The City Council passed three ordinances as emergency measures to deal with the replacement of bridges in Oberlin. The first two ordinances dealt with the replacement of the East Vine Street Bridge, with the third dealing with the South Pleasant Street Bridge. 

The first ordinance authorized an amendment in the City’s contract with American Structurepoint, Inc. to work on replacing the bridge. As part of the original contract, the organization was tasked with finding the most efficient structure for the new bridge — which they later identified as a three-sided box culvert. They had to shift development when they found that this design would not work due to the angle of the bridge and the presence of a storm sewer. The design they shifted to is a Box Beam structure, which would be more expensive. To meet the increased design cost and add $30,000 in fees that Structurepoint intended to include in the original contract but could not, the Council approved an emergency measure to provide $86,003 in the amended contract. This money is intended for the engineering and development of the bridge, not the actual construction costs. 

The construction cost for the bridge will come from the Ohio Department of Transportation as part of a Local Public Agencies Federal Local Let, which was the subject of the second ordinance. The Local Let agreement will mean that the ODOT will provide 95 percent of the cost of construction up to $788,674. 

The third ordinance approved an LPA Federal Local Let for the replacement of the South Pleasant Street Bridge, where the ODOT will, once again, cover 95 percent of the costs, this time up to $818,340.

All three ordinances were passed unanimously as emergency measures.

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