At the February 21, 2018 meeting of the Clark County Commissioners, Bethel Township Resident Gary Cox spoke to the commissioners about his concerns about the development at 5550 W National Road. The site was rezoned in 2017 to allow for a proposed development of a Dollar General Store at that location. Currently, Anthony and Monica Zimmerman own the property. Zimmerman Construction has been tasked with cleaning it up in preparation for construction. Cox said, “I live about 1000 feet from old Fort Tecumseh, I have observed numerous drums dug up at the 5550 W. National Road. I contacted the Fire Marshall and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. I want to know what is going on at the location.”

The site has been a trailer court since the 1930s and a gas station was located at the site during the fifties. According to Cox, Zimmerman Construction has been hauling dirt and old oil drums from the location. He added, “The Fire Marshall shut down further construction due to concerns over fuel oil storage.” Cox also expressed his concerns about ground water contamination as the location sits on an aquafer and the local residents all have wells.

Cox also said that the current owner has a request to rezone an additional 1.27 acres of land to accommodate the proposed store.

Although the commissioners were not aware of what was happening at the location, Commissioner Richard Lohnes promised to investigate the situation and get back to Cox. He added, “The current owner is responsible for cleanup of the location.”

Commissioner Melanie Flax-Wilt added, “It appears the right people are looking at the situation.

In addition, Lohnes reported that he met with the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, representatives from the City of Springfield and Spring Forward. The group asked that the county commit $3 million to build a parking garage in downtown Springfield. However, Lohnes told them he could not commit to the project since the commissioners had never discussed or voted to support the project. Lohnes said, “This is probably a great idea; however, there is no good data on the costs or potential revenues that would be generated from the investment.” The best information that is available is that the garage would lose money for at least the first five years. In addition, Lohnes expressed his concerns about the county’s finances. The county has already committed to building a new 911 center and the loss of the state sales tax puts the fiscal status of the county at a greater risk than it was previously.

Commissioner Melanie Flax-Wilt responded, “We need to invest in the infrastructure to encourage corporate investments. If we are going to have a new economy, we must take some risks and invest in the infrastructure. If we have a strong capital city then the whole county benefits. A parking garage may not be the answer but I think we need to invest in the community. Some companies will not even look at Springfield because basic amenities are not available.”

Commissioner Lowell McGlothin added, “I would be in favor of a scaled down version, but I’m not willing to commit $3 million.”

The discussion was tabled until more information in available.

In regular business, the commissioners approved several contracts for the Engineering Department, First, they approved a contract with Advanced Mechanical Services, Inc. not to exceed $20,000 to prove HVAC repair as needed. They also approved a contract with The CAT Rental Store for $45,000 for equipment rental from March 1, 2018 through February 28, 2019.

In addition, they awarded the bid for road reconstruction projects to J & J Schlaegel Inc.

For Building and Grounds, the commissioners approved a contract with Rumpke of Ohio, Inc. for $35,486.64 to provide refuse service at the county buildings effective January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020.

For Opportunities for Individual Change (OIC) of Clark County, the commissioners authorized two contracts. The first contract for $24,250 provides cognitive behavioral change instruction to inmates of the Clark County Jail to reduce recidivism rates and crime in Clark County. The contract is effective from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. The second contract for $24,250 provides a re-entry coordinator to ex-offenders of the Clark County Jail from May 15, 2018 through May 14, 2019.

For the Sheriff, the commissioners authorized a contract with the Clark County Sheriff, Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council, Inc. to represent the deputies of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020. County Administrator Jennifer Hutchinson has requested that the county administrator sit in on any negotiations; however, the request has not been approved at this point.

The commissioners also authorized the donation of modular housing units to Pike County from the Sheriff’s Department. The equipment is no longer being used by the Sheriff’s Office. Pike County is responsible for the cost of moving the units.

In addition, the commissioners approved several vehicle purchases. They approved the purchase of 2001 International 4900 Dump Truck for the Utilities Department from Pleasant Township for $6,000. The truck will be used to move biosolids with the Southwest Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) facility.

They also approved the purchase of a 2018 Ford Sedan Police Interceptor for $27,627 and three 2018 Ford Police Utility Intercepts for $84,360 from Lebanon Ford for the Sheriff’s Office. These purchases were planned to replace an aging fleet.

For the Dog Warden, the commissioners extended the lease agreement with Dr. John B Bruce for $1,500 through March 31, 2018.

For the Community and Economic Development Department, the commissioners accepted participation in the Clark County Community Development Block Grant Program Citizen Participation Plan. The purpose of the program is intended to improve the community by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and economic opportunities for low and moderate income families.

The next meeting of the Clark County Commissioners is scheduled for February 28, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Conference Room at 50 E Columbia Street.

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