WM council considers new downtown construction


By Matt Clevenger

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WEST MILTON — The village of West Milton is currently considering a property exchange with a local property owner, as part of plans for new construction in the downtown area.

Members of the West Milton Village Council heard the first reading of an ordinance to authorize a property exchange proposed by James A. Sarver during their regularly scheduled meeting held on Tuesday, March 14. The city would give up a portion of a surplus property of inconsequential value, and receive a similarly valued portion of property currently owned by Sarver.

The exchange involves a property located at 216 S. Miami St., and is needed as part of a plan for upcoming new construction in the downtown area.

“This ordinance deals with an announcement that we’ll be making for some new construction in downtown West Milton,” Municipal Manager Jeff Sheridan said. “According to my research, it will be the first new construction since the 1960s.”

“It will add two new business spaces to the village,” Sheridan said.

In other business, council members also voted to adopt a downtown master plan that was prepared by Collabo LLC and approved by the village planning board at a meeting held on March 1.

“This is something we’ve been working on for months,” Sheridan said. “This is only the beginning of updating the comprehensive plan for the community.”

“The comprehensive plan is the guidebook for the next 20 years,” he said. “It identifies different areas of the community for improvement. It will be a tool that the planning board will use to advise council on future development.”

“I’m excited about it,” Council President Sarah Copp said. “It’s nice to have a vision, and a goal. It’s nice to have it updated and easy to follow.”

“It is what they call a living document,” Sheridan said. “It can be modified and updated at any time.”

Council members went on to discuss plans for a new concrete path that will be built near state Route 571. The village received a grant that will cover approximately $1 million of the project’s cost.

“The village did receive a grant for just under $1million,” Sheridan said. “The total project is expected to be approximately $1.4 million.”

The project will construct a ten-foot wide concrete path that will begin at the intersection of state Route 571 and state Route 48 on the south side, and go all the way to Rachel Ann Boulevard, Sheridan said.

“It includes re-configuring the bridge, so there will be a concrete barrier to protect people who walk and bicyclist from vehicular traffic,” he said.

“I think that’s important,” Mayor Anthony Miller said. “I’ve already seen a lot of kids traveling across there, and walking.”

“I think it’s key to tying the new development into the downtown business district,” council member Don Dohrman said. “I think it’s important that they be safe crossing the bridge.”

Council members also approved a donation of $10,000 from the village towards the 2023 Fourth of July fireworks display, and a $17,040 contract with K.E. Rose of Dayton for outfitting a city pick-up truck with a snow plow and warning lights. Council members also approved wage increases for officers and other personnel at the West Milton Fire Department. Personnel wages will be raised to $15 per hour, and officers will be paid $15.55 per hour.

Council members also approved the purchase of six new radios for the West Milton fire Department from Motorolla Solutions at a cost of $37,166.28, and a $3,249.17 contract with Everbridge Nixell Mass Communications to implement a mass communications system for the village.

“This is a system that will allow the village to communicate one-on-one with our residents,” Sheridan said. “They can be contacted either by mobile phone, by land line, by email or by text.”

“It does require the residents to opt-in,” he said. “We’ll use it for emergencies, but it can also be very helpful in reminding residents of road closures, changes in refuse pick-up, and really all kinds of things.”

Council members also adopted several ordinances that were discussed at previous meetings, including an ordinance to amend sewer tap and special line assessment fees and an ordinance amending the village’s regulations on pointing and aiming firearms and other weapons.

Council members also approved a $1,000 donation to Isaiah’s Place, and heard the first reading of an ordinance to declare village-owned property located at 2628 Lowery Drive as surplus that the village could rent or lease to an interested tenant.

“This came about because a longtime downtown establishment lost their lease,” Sheridan said. “We very much wanted to keep them in the village.”

“It just so happens that our building will fit their needs,” he said. “I think this is a win-win; the village generates a little bit of revenue, and we get to keep the Gleaning Place here in town.”

Council members also approved a resolution authorizing the village to seek a loan for the upcoming Miami Street water main and lead servicing project. The project will replace the existing 6-inch water main with a 12-inch main, and will also include replacement of several lead service connections.

“The project is slated to be completed this summer,” Sheridan said. “It’s being funded with a combination of grants and a loan.”

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