Maumee City Council Approves Ford Park Paving Project, Places Moratoriums On Certain Business Developments

The unsightly utility pole and transformer located near the press box area of Ford Park will be eliminated from the property for the increased aesthetic value of the renovated parking lot and for the safety of families attending the games at the adjoining Robert S. Hoag Field. MIRROR PHOTO BY MIKE McCARTHY

BY MIKE McCARTHY | MIRROR EDITOR — Maumee City Council has approved a contract for a major parking lot replacement project at Ford Park, designed to update the lot to make it more ADA accessible, energy efficient, aesthetically appealing and environmentally compliant.

The $453,119 contract was awarded to Geddis Paving & Excavating Inc. during the August 21 meeting of Maumee City Council by a 6-0 vote. (Council member Philip Leinbach was excused from the meeting for a personal matter.)

According to a report provided by Maumee capital projects manager Matthew Miles, the JDI Group was contracted last December to provide design and engineering services for needed improvements to the parking lot facility at Ford Park, which is located at the intersection of Ford Street and the Anthony Wayne Trail.

“These improvements were designed to better accommodate access and parking, and include improvements to the stormwater drainage, a curbed parking lot, new sidewalks with improved ADA accessibility, lighting for the parking lot and landscaping,” the report stated.

“In July 2023, a request for bids was published per city guidelines and responses were received from three companies by this office,” Miles’ report continued. “After a review of these bids, the JDI Group recommended awarding the project to Geddis Paving & Excavating Inc.”

Funding for the project will come from the city’s 2023 capital budget appropriation which is used solely for capital improvement projects in the city.

Maumee city administrator Dr. Patrick Burtch noted that the JDI Group had estimated the project to cost $518,209 and Geddis Paving & Excavating’s winning bid of $453,199 was $65,090 under that estimate. The other bidders were Vernon Nagle Inc. at $488,051 and Great Lakes Demolition at $581,187.

Burtch said that one of the more environmentally attractive features of the project will be a complete overhaul of the water drainage systems of both dugouts located on the adjoining Robert S. Hoag Field. 

Both dugouts were constructed decades ago, and since that time their floor drainage systems have continually funneled rainwater and melting snow directly into the city’s sanitary sewer system, which is a violation of Ohio EPA regulations. 

The outdated drainage system will be corrected with this project and the new drainage system will send the rainwater directly into the storm sewers, bypassing the unnecessary water treatment processing and associated costs, while also bringing the city another step closer to meeting its goal of total Ohio EPA compliance.

Another welcomed feature of the project will include the removal of the unsightly utility pole and transformer unit located directly behind the press box area of the parking lot, which currently presents a potential safety hazard to the public. A new utility pole has been erected directly across the street as a replacement. 

Once the renovation is completed, the new power source will originate from the new utility pole and transformer. New electrical cables will be buried out of sight under the road surface of Ford Street and will be carried directly into the electrical service of the press box structure in order to ensure that the parking lot is safer for families. As a bonus, the area will look neater, too.

The parking lot itself will be lowered. Several layers of asphalt have been applied to the parking lot over the years and have gradually made the parking lot surface noticeably higher than the adjoining playing field.

Other than modifying the dugout water drainage system and the installation of attractive new outer fencing, no other work will be performed on the Robert S. Hoag Field during this project.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year, Burtch said. 

Burtch also noted that this is the second project to be recommended by the Maumee Parks & Recreation Committee, with the other being the installation of four new pickleball courts at Anderson Park last month.

Consent Calendar

Council also addressed three other items listed on the Consent Calendar portion of the meeting agenda and took the following action:

• Approved an Economic Transfer Development Form (TREX) application for Ten Stars Enterprises Ind., dba Scramblers, located at 570 W. Dussel Dr., to allow transfer of a D2 and D3 liquor permit to the Maumee location, which will allow the restaurant to serve wine and cocktails such as bloody marys and mimosas with its brunch menu.

Scramblers pursued the TREX permit since no other liquor permits were currently available within the city of Maumee. The restaurant operates from 6:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Eight other Scramblers restaurants in the state have already been approved for alcohol permits.

• Approved an updated Public Safety Fee Schedule for the purpose of meeting the increasing expenses of operating and maintaining the facilities at the Mingo Training Complex in Maumee.

The fees are charged to local outside agencies who wish to rent the facilities. This pertains to the indoor and outdoor firearms ranges and for the use of the many other advanced police and fire training services that are offered at the Mingo Training Complex.

• Declared the Maumee Indoor Theater projection systems Nos. 1 and 2 and a ticketing system as surplus and authorizing their sale. 

Both systems were in use at the time the theater was purchased by the city in 2004 and have since been replaced by current technology, according to a memo from Maumee Finance Director Jennifer Harkey.

Since the items are nonfunctional and have no discernable monetary value, council authorized that the items could be offered for sale by the city through Govdeals .com or simply disposed of.

New Business

Council then turned its attention to 10 items in the New Business portion of the agenda, and took the following unanimous action:

• Approved Resolution 014-2023, which imposes a temporary moratorium on the establishment, development and construction of any building, structure, use or change of use that would allow additional discount retail locations or liquidation stores in the city for a period not to exceed 18 months from the effective date of the resolution in order to allow the city administration and city council time to review applicable Ohio statutes, codes and regulations along with the city’s codified ordinances relative to such activity, and declaring an emergency.

Editor’s Note: Council member Scott Noonan made a motion to include payday lending operations to the moratorium list and council member Gabe Barrow made a motion to include pawn shops and cash-for-gold operations to the moratorium list. The Noonan and Barrow amendment motions were each approved unanimously by city council and were included in the resolution.

• Approved Resolution 015-2023, which imposes a temporary moratorium on the establishment, development and construction of any building, structure, use or change of use that would enable the processing or retail sale of tobacco, CBD and/or vape products in the city for a period not to exceed 18 months from the effective date of the resolution in order to allow the city administration and city council time to review applicable Ohio statutes, criminal codes and regulations along with the city’s codified ordinances relative to such activity, and declaring an emergency.

Maumee Law Director Alan Lehenbauer said, “This is legislation really to address the proliferation of tobacco and vape stores and to avoid the influx of such stores based upon the fact that the proposed issue of legalization of marijuana is going to be on the ballot in November. 

“A lot of these places try to convert, so we want to at least limit any additional stores of this type,” Lehenbauer continued. “In some jurisdictions, they’ve even banned the sale of vape products completely, so this will just give us an opportunity to address all of those issues and look at the health and safety of our residents relative to these types of locations.”

Mayor Richard Carr agreed, saying, “We are just trying to be a little proactive in putting in regulations in the event that it (marijuana legalization) does pass through.” The mayor also expressed his concern about the potential proximity of such stores to schools.

• Approved Ordinance 023-2023, which imposes a temporary moratorium on the establishment, development and construction of any building, structure, use or change of use that would allow the cultivation, processing, or retail sale of medical marijuana or marijuana in the city for a period not to exceed 24 months from the effective date of the ordinance in order to allow the city administration and city council time to review applicable Ohio statutes, criminal codes and regulations along with the city’s codified ordinances relative to such activity, and declaring an emergency.

Lehenbauer said this ordinance was a proactive measure to help the city deal with the repercussions that may be prompted by the possible passage of the marijuana legalization issue in November.

Burtch said that many communities in Michigan were unprepared when their state legalized marijuana and many dispensaries started popping up within these communities without any form of regulation in place.

“It takes a substantial amount of time to research and do these ordinances,” Burtch explained. “You’re not trying to restrict it and eliminate marijuana use or production, or whatever. You’re simply going to be up against some state rule that is made by an administrative board that says: ‘Here are the times you can do this and here is how you can restrict it.’”

Burtch cited the chaos in Lansing, Mich., that was caused by that city being unprepared. “Lansing was a community that was in a free-for-all, and within a couple of weeks, they had 96 dispensaries on one street in every dilapidated building that they had. People with cardboard signs up, the whole shot,” Burtch said.

• Approved Ordinance 024-2023 to amend Part 1 of the Administrative Code, Chapter 101, of the Maumee Codified Ordinances, updating definitions and other provisions that apply to the Maumee Municipal Code, and declaring an emergency. 

The amendment consists of minor housekeeping changes that primarily eliminate outdated Ohio Revised Codes.

• Approved Ordinance 025-2023 to amend Chapter 113 of the Maumee Codified Ordinances in order to update the requirements for the city of Maumee as to posting of legislation and other notices, and declaring an emergency.

Chapter 113 stipulates, among other things, that:

“Unless otherwise specifically provided by the City Charter by ordinance or resolution of council, a succinct summary of each municipal ordinance or resolution and all notices, statements, orders, proclamations and reports required to be published by the Charter of the City of Maumee, the Constitution of the State of Ohio, or legislation enacted by council, shall be published by using one of the following methods:

“1. Posting the same in a conspicuous location in the Municipal Building and such other locations as may be deemed appropriate and designated by the municipal clerk.

“2. On the official public notice website established under Section 125.182 of the Revised Code.

“3. On the website and/or social media accounts of the City of Maumee.”

• Approved Ordinance 026-2023, amending Chapter 103 of the Maumee Codified Ordinances, updating the requirements for contracts within the city of Maumee to comply with new Ohio Revised Code (ORC) regulations, and declaring an emergency.

• Approved Ordinance 027-2023, levying special assessments for the property owners’ share of the cost of lighting the streets and public ways in the city of Maumee, and declaring an emergency.

• Approved Ordinance 028-2023, levying assessments for cutting of noxious weeds, and declaring an emergency.

• Approved Ordinance 029-2023, repealing Ordin-ance 062-2022 and authorizing amended procurement, capital and purchasing requirements for the city of Maumee, and declaring an emergency.

• Approved Ordinance 030-2023, amending Maumee Codified Ordinance 1133.01 of the Maumee Codified Ordinances, updating the requirements for accessory structures with the city of Maumee, and declaring an emergency.

The amendments deal with the city’s regulations on tents, specifically the sizes of tents, the permit process and the safety concerns regarding multiple tents placed side by side without a fire break minimal clearance of at least 12 feet from other structures or tents.

Another provision of the ordinance states that tents used exclusively for recreational camping purposes on the owner’s premises may not be in use for more than three consecutive days.

Citizen Comments

Four members of the community took the opportunity to speak before city council:

Brent Buehrer, of 3249 Pepper Ridge Dr., spoke of his encounter with a couple from Columbus, Ind., who were visiting uptown Maumee recently and were impressed by the inviting feel of the new uptown Maumee streetscape.

Buehrer, who is a Maumee architect, explained that the town of Columbus is a city that is approximately the size of Findlay. 

“About 70 years ago, the city of Columbus created a fund to entice all the famous architects’ projects within their community,” Buehrer said. He went on to list several examples of those highly regarded projects.

“Columbus is like a community that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world because of all the famous architecture and architects who have been there. 

“So, for this couple to take time and comment on how much they liked the uptown area, particularly the traffic flow and how pleasant and welcoming it was, I thought I should come here and share that because it reflects the insight of the administration and the city council on what they are trying to do here in Maumee,” Buehrer concluded.

James Mock, of 814 River Rd., was next to address council.

Mock conveyed his displeasure of the concrete surface on the towpath along the Maumee River, saying that it is extremely hard on his body as he walks.

“Human beings are not designed to walk on concrete,” he asserted.

“I was told at the time that this was an issue so that all the members of the community could use that hard surface, but if you are not on wheels, it is not healthy to walk on. Dogs really don’t like to walk on it. Any mammal does not like to walk on concrete,” Mock said.

“Now we have this slab that is ideal for wheels, but it is not ideal for those of us who go to the park to walk on trails. It’s just too much,” he stated.

Tracey Elmore, of 1038 Ogontz Ave., spoke next.

“Prior to serving on council in 2017, I must admit that I did not attend city council meetings or even have much interest in the topics discussed,” she said.

“While on council, however, I discovered how interesting these topics were. I was surprised that council was privy to many more details on each subject than the public was.

“That inspired me to share as much information as I could on social media regarding new developments, answering questions and providing details that were unknown. No other council member previously had shared as much information as I did,” Elmore claimed.

“As a newly elected council member, I was unhappy with that information gap between the city administration and the citizens, and I pledged to narrow that gap. I did. I had the city Facebook page created and I got the city’s website updated,” Elmore said.

“The city has made some positive strides, but there is much work to be done. Looking at the agenda today, I would have been interested in knowing more details in the New Business section. Perhaps a link to the supporting documentation could be included in the public posting of the agenda.

“Council is provided this information in their weekly packet, and they also have the city administration at their disposal to answer any questions.

“Being on council in the past, I know now what I am missing, and I don’t like how it feels,” Elmore said. 

“I promise now that I will make the agenda items clearer to the public well ahead of time, not on Friday before the meeting, as well as livestreaming or recording the meeting as we did during the pandemic,” she concluded.

Bill Cox, of 937 Gibbs St., was the fourth and final citizen to speak before council.

He spoke about his concern regarding condition of the sidewalk on the north side of Conant Street near the railroad tracks and was wondering if the city could do something about the large gap that is located between the sidewalk and the asphalt in that area.

Cox also suggested that with the upcoming construction of the mini roundabout on Gibbs Street taking place in early September, the city should “remember to notify TARTA, so that we can take care of the handicapped people who are using the TARTA service along Gibbs Street and let them know that it is going to be changed.”

Later in the meeting, Burtch took the opportunity to explain to Cox that the city is not permitted to make repairs to the railroad right of way.

Burtch said that railroad personnel attempted to make repairs in the area, but their efforts were not adequate.

“The asphalt that they put on there does not meet the ADA standard. We contacted the railroad and told them that. They just lobbed some asphalt in there,” Burtch said.

“We are still trying to reach out to the railroad in a number of projects, not just this one, but the Maple Drive extension that we are contemplating later,” he said.

Burtch also addressed the towpath issue and why it is comprised of concrete.

“We considered leaving the stone (on the towpath). We talked to the EPA, and the ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) didn’t want stone because it constantly leaks lime into the river. We considered asphalt, but asphalt is also a petroleum-based product and, until it’s old enough, it keeps releasing that product into the environment in terms of flooding.

“One of the reasons we settled on concrete in that path is so that concrete can be reinforced at 8 inches thick. As you know, we are still dealing with the problem of the illegal dumping of sewage by former employees, and we have to be able to access our 80,000-pound vactor (truck) down there.

“There are some areas that are naturally too wet in the spring in order to get that vactor down there, which is exactly when the vactor needs to be down by the river,” Burtch explained.

“So, we are killing two birds with one stone, making it ADA accessible, but also having an 8-inch concrete reinforced path for the purpose of holding an 80,000-pound vactor,” Burtch said.

“I am not sure everybody was aware of that, but that is why it happened,” he added.

Burtch also revealed that the city is talking with the Ohio EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, and all parties are looking into the feasibility of leveling out the backfilling of the paths along the river on the west side of the Ft. Meigs Memorial Bridge to create a natural secondary path.

The goal is to create a grass walking path that is 8 or 9 feet wide, and which will run parallel to the existing concrete path. This grass path could prove to be a viable alternative for runners and walkers who do not like concrete surfaces.

“We weren’t able to do that on the east side of the towpath as much because, obviously, if you walked 10 feet off the edge of that path, you were in the river or out on the rocks, so we couldn’t do that,” Burtch said.

Projects Underway

Burtch also noted that the city is undertaking several projects, and offered the following information:

• The entire Maumee surface street system will be restriped before the end of the year and the project is currently out for bid. Restriping has not been done throughout the city since prior to the pandemic.

The striping will include stop bars, turn arrows and lane markings, as well as parking spaces.

• The River Road paving project is out for bid and will consist of the paving of River Road from the intersection of Gibbs Street and West Broadway Street and all along Broadway Street and River Road to the intersection of Michigan Avenue and possibly further.

The project will consist of milling down the road surface and repaving the road. During this project, all the handicapped ramps will be installed according to state law.

Burtch said that if things go well, the project may extend all the way down to Detroit Avenue before the construction season ends. He noted that there will be striping added for parking spaces on one side of the street in an attempt to narrow the road and slow down some of the River Road traffic.

• The city is using grant money to finalize plans to create a new bike trail that will run from the cul-de-sac near Parkway Plaza and Biggby’s Coffee to River Road as part of a new bike path that will run from Toledo through Maumee.

• The Gibbs Street project will commence on September 5 and will consist of the construction of a mini roundabout at the intersection of Gibbs Street and Indiana Avenue. 

The project area will run from the Anthony Wayne trail to the railroad tracks on Gibbs. “It is essentially a road diet which creates a lot of on-street parking on Gibbs Street from the Anthony Wayne Trail to the tracks on Gibbs,” Burtch said. “That will hopefully be finished this year,” he added.

• The High Street alley project will resolve a serious alley drainage problem for the people who live on that street. Presently, the alley does not drain and there are no storm sewers to move the water away from the alley.

Burtch warned that the project will be expensive but is deemed necessary for that neighborhood. Bids will go out during the winter and the project is expected to start in the spring.

• Alleys in the 100 block of each side street in uptown Maumee are scheduled for pavement this fall.

• The Maple Drive project will also be out for bid. “For anyone who doesn’t know where Maple Drive is, it’s the drive where the blinking signals have been on since 2006 out by The Mall at Fallen Timbers,” Burtch stated.

“About 1,000 feet of that road will be installed and the water and sewer will be extended underneath the tracks to property along Black Road, which is also inside the city,” he explained.

“There is a 164-unit executive subdivision that wants to build there, as well as 129 condos. There is a lot of property against Black Road that is within the city of Maumee and that project will be bid soon,” Burtch said.

The water and sewer extensions and the boring under the railroad tracks will take place once the contract is awarded. Pavement will most likely take place next spring.

New Businesses

Burtch said that there are approximately 16 new businesses that are planning to locate in the city of Maumee in the coming months.

He said he cannot publicly announce many of them at this time since their business development agreements have yet to be finalized.

The businesses include three new restaurants in uptown Maumee, with details forthcoming soon.

In Memoriam

Members of Maumee City Council and Mayor Carr also took time to offer their personal tributes to the late Barbara Dennis for her many years of service to the Maumee community, and to extend their sympathies to her family.

In Conclusion

The meeting was interrupted at the beginning by a 30-minute executive session and the time of the actual public meeting was timed at one hour and 13 minutes.

A total of 21 residents attended the meeting.

The next meeting of Maumee City Council is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, September 5 in council chambers at the Maumee Municipal Building, 400 Conant St. 

As always, Maumee City Council meetings are open to the public.

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