The Chillicothe City Council met via phone conference on Monday evening and took action allowing a new location for the July 4 fireworks display in the city and also approved a bod for repairs to the police station’s foundation.
In 2016 repairs were made to a retaining wall at the police station, and in 2018 cracks started to develop, according to Police Chief Jon Maples. At the time the cracks began to develop, according to City Administrator Darin Chappell, the city was told by the engineering firm - All-State - that the cracks were due to issues with the parking lot shifting, putting stress on the wall.
“We contacted All-State and the contractor. All-State said the problem was because the south side parking lot was moving west and pushing on retaining wall and pulling the brickwork off the side of the building. This was at the same time the city was switching engineering firms,” Chappell noted.
When the new engineering firm looked at the project it was pointed out the contractor did not make a proper cut between the wall and police building to allow for shifting and the southwest corner of the police building was not set firmly on any foundation and the but parking lot may be a small part of the issue.
Second Ward Councilmen Wayne Cunningham voiced his opinion about the need to recoup the city’s money since the work is needing to be redone and was not completed properly.
“I want to go on record - the citizens of Chillicothe shouldn’t have to pay this bill - the city attorney needs to go after bonding company and engineer - if not done we are making a terrible, terrible mistake about representing our constituents,” Cunningham said.
City Attorney Robert Cowherd noted that it may be difficult to do so, since there are no professionals willing to state the work was not done properly, and bonds on construction jobs usually expire after a year, and this project was completed two years ago.
“In these cases, you have to have an expert say someone made a mistake and I do not know that the new engineering firm, will say that, or wants to be a part of this,” Cowherd said.
Chappell noted with the new bid amount being approved by the council there may be a chance to recoup the funds, and he and Cowherd would discuss how to proceed.
The council approved the bid of $22,280 to Spartan Ram Jack out of Lenexa, Kan., with a vote of 4-1. Cunningham voted no. The work should be completed in about six weeks and will include the installation of steel piers, repairing the retaining wall and brickwork. The repouring of the sidewalk, attaching the rail along the wall and repairing the parking lot will be completed by city crews, Chappell told the council.
Livingston County received CARES ACT funds several weeks ago, and at Monday’s meeting, the council voted to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the county, allowing the city to receive funds related to COVID-19 expenses, outside of the city’s usual budget scope.
Chappell said the city has incurred costs due to COVID-19, which will be covered by CARES ACTS funds, including hiring part-time seasonal workers because the city didn’t have access to the offender’s program at the prison, due to it being closed. ChilliBay opened on May 25, and to ensure proper social distancing, signs and staffing changes, additional costs were incurred. Chappell noted he also thought the bowling alley would be eligible for funds since it was one of the businesses that were compelled to be closed. The council passed the agreement with a vote of 5-0.
After a discussion of alternative locations, concerns about traffic, and effects on businesses, the council also approved the relocation of July 4 fireworks show to the south end of town to a 9.5-acre lot at the southeast corner of U.S. Highways 36 and 65. Spectators will not be allowed on the lot or to park along the highway, but will be asked to park in area business parking lots.
Amy Supple spoke on behalf of the Rotary Club, which is hosting this year’s fireworks display, and noted the location was not ideal but allows for social distancing.
The show, she said will be shorter, about 15-20 minutes in length, and will be visible for up to a mile away, depending on weather conditions.
Following the council’s vote approving the location change, Supple released a statement on Rotary’s behalf.
“The Rotary Club of Chillicothe is pleased to announce that with the generous support of the City of Chillicothe and other sponsors, there will be a Community Fireworks Display on July 4. The fireworks display will start at full dark around 9:30 p.m. For this year, the display will be on the south end of town and will be visible for up to a mile. Spectators will be encouraged to watch from their vehicles and to maintain all advised safety standards and social distancing guidelines that may be in place at that time,” she said. “While we know not everybody will agree with some of the changes and restrictions, we have done our best to devise a plan, allowing this family tradition to continue in a year that has brought so much change.”
The council also agreed to allow the airport manager to have the authority to enter into Hanger Lease Agreements on behalf of the city with a vote of 3-2. Councilmen Denny Albertson and Wayne Cunnigham voted no.
Mayor Theresa Kelly asked the council and the council approved her recommendation to reappoint Gene Moyers and Ben White to the Board of Adjustments.