BY MIKE McCARTHY | MIRROR EDITOR — The September 5 meeting of Maumee City Council opened on a nostalgic note as council members unanimously honored the late Jack W. Hiles by renaming the Maumee Memorabilia Museum in his memory.
Mayor Richard Carr recommended authorizing the name change after receiving a letter from Jenny Barlos, president of the Maumee Valley Historical Society.
In her letter to the mayor, Barlos stated the following:
“In recognition of his many years of service to the Maumee community, we the members of the Maumee Valley Historical Society, at our annual meeting, voted to recommend renaming the Maumee Memorabilia Museum as the Jack W. Hiles Maumee Memorabilia Museum.
“As the founder of the museum, and because of his long history of dedication to the site, we felt that having his name permanently attached to the museum was an appropriate action to take.
“We appreciate your consideration of this recommendation,” the letter concluded.
On March 23, Hiles passed away at the age of 73. Starting at the age of 8 and continuing throughout the course of his lifetime, Hiles amassed a staggering collection of over 10,000 artifacts related to the rich history of Maumee.
Shortly after retiring, Hiles donated his entire collection to the city of Maumee so that future generations could marvel at the treasures it contains. The artifacts were soon stored in a wooden frame house located on the grounds of the Wolcott House Museum Complex, where they were lovingly curated by Hiles and his dedicated group of volunteers, who still carry on his work today.
Currently, the museum is open on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and updates can be found on the museum’s Facebook page. The Wolcott House Museum Complex is located at 1031 River Rd. in Maumee.
Continuing with the Consent Calendar portion of the meeting, Maumee City Council took the following unanimous action:
• Authorized the city to sign a contract with The Dotson Company in the amount of $548,000 for the construction of a new 2,400-square-foot cold storage facility on the property adjoining the water tower on Dussel Drive.
According to a report issued by Matthew Miles, the city’s capital projects manager, “This building was conceived for the storage of small equipment, pipe, hydrants and supplies used by the water department for the repair of water mains, service connections and hydrants throughout the city.
“Current storage arrange-ments for these materials are largely outside, making the supplies subject to weather conditions,” the report continued. “In addition, the outside storage of parts and materials conflicts with EPA guidelines concerning such storage at governmental facilities.”
The Dotson Company outbid four other companies to earn the contract.
• Authorized the city to enter a contract with Griffin Pavement Striping LLC in the amount of $159,504.97 for the city’s 2023 pavement marking program.
According to Miles’ report, Griffin is being hired to perform long overdue pavement marking services citywide, “including centerlines, edge lines, turning arrows, channelizing lines, stop bars, parking stalls and specialty markings (railroad, school, bike path, etc.).”
“This program is intended to improve driving safety to motorists within the city by providing high-visibility lane marking to our streets and highways,” the report stated.
Currently running and recently completed paving projects have been excluded from the contract, including Conant Street (uptown), U.S. 20A (west of Mingo Drive), the Anthony Wayne Trail and Broadway Street-River Road (from Gibbs Street to Michigan Avenue), the report explained.
• Authorized the city to enter into an agreement with the lowest responsible respondent to a request for proposals for ODOT-certified engineering and inspection services relative to the Gibbs Street Safety Improvement Project that is currently under construction for the next several weeks.
According to a memo from Miles, “Federal highway funding of the Gibbs Street Safety Improvement Project dictates particular engineering and inspection services be provided by ODOT-prequalified engineers. A request for proposals has been issued by this office to provide these services to five local firms.”
Miles added that funding for the program will come from the city’s Capital Improvements Budget.
• Authorized the city to enter a contract with the lowest responsible bidder for the construction of the Maple Street Extension Project.
A memo from Miles to city administrator Dr. Patrick Burtch provided the following background and discussion of the issue:
“In July 2022, the JDI Group was authorized to design a roadway extension and infrastructure improvements for Maple Street in the Fallen Timbers mall district.
“JDI was directed to place stormwater, sanitary and water lines from the Fallen Timbers Lane intersection to the western side of the Norfolk Southern rail spur to provide utility services to proposed housing developments along Black Road and provide a roadway extension of Maple Street westerly from Fallen Timbers Lane to the western edge of the woods,” the report stated.
Coordination with the city of Toledo water service, Lucas County sanitary service and the Norfolk Southern Railway was to be provided by the JDI Group, according to the report.
“After several design concepts were reviewed, considering potential land usage, it was determined the road extension would enter from the existing intersection at Fallen Timbers Drive and curve along a wooded area to a more westerly route for a total distance of 750 feet, terminating in an intersection spur,” the report continued.
“Other roadway improve-ments would include sidewalks, street lighting and a limited amount of on-street parking. Improvements to the Fallen Timbers Lane/Maple Street intersection would be kept minimal with further improvements needed upon an increase in usage.
“The underground utilities would continue to the western side of the Norfolk Southern spur to serve the pending housing developments.
“Bidding for this project will be open through September 19, 2023,” the report concluded.
Funding for this program was authorized with the 2023 Capital Improvements Budget and is apportioned from the Fallen Timbers TIF (tax increment financing) district, Miles explained.
In the New Business portion of the meeting, city council took the following action:
• Approved Ordinance 031-2023, repealing Chapter 183 of the Maumee Codified Ordinances and Ordinance 41-1991 relative to the Municipal Tree Commission, and declaring an emergency.
This ordinance explains that the city is adding the duties of the Tree Commission to the Maumee Environmental Commission by a separate ordinance, and as a result, Chapter 183 and Ordinance 41-1991 are no longer relevant.
• Approved Ordinance 032-2023, which amends Chapter 184, concerning the Environmental Commission of the Maumee Codified Ordinances, and Ordinance 057-2021, thus creating the new Environmental and Tree Advisory Commission, and declaring an emergency.
This ordinance effectively expands the duties of the existing Environmental Commission to include the added duties of the former Maumee Tree Commission.
Under the “Intent and Purpose” heading of the new ordinance, the opening statement reads as follows:
“The establishment of the Environmental and Tree Advisory Commission is to develop comprehensive, integrated environmental policies for implementation by the city to protect and enhance our air, water, land, trees and public health.
“It shall help to set goals and policies for the city and community to continuously improve the tree canopy, all matters relative to care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal and disposition of trees and shrubs in public areas including parks and streets; improvement of the natural and built environment; education of the public; and any other environmental-related issues in the city of Maumee.”
Seven members of the community spoke before city council members and the administration.
Kate Oatis, of 707 Tappan St., stated that on the morning of July 15, she witnessed two white Maumee police officers “looking aggressive with what looked like a very young black man with a backpack.”
She intervened in the matter and one of the police officers explained to her that the young man was a suspect and had been discovered entering an unoccupied building. Oatis responded by saying she thought that the young man was likely homeless.
After the police officers were done questioning the suspect, Oatis offered to give him a ride to Walmart in Perrysburg, and he accepted.
Oatis suggested that all Maumee police officers should be required to take an implicit bias training course.
Mayor Carr responded by saying that all city employees, not just the police, already take such a course.
Bob Rumschlag, of 304 Lacombe St., spoke next. He thanked the city administrator and city council for helping to facilitate the construction of a new 650-foot sidewalk that connects St. Joseph Cemetery to the Side Cut Metropark.
Rumschlag had approached city council late last year and requested the construction of the sidewalk as a safety measure, saying that residents walking along the 900 block of West Wayne Street had been unable to walk safely in the area without the use of a sidewalk and often resorted to walking in the street, which was particularly unsafe when puddles of water or ice formed, as well as the constant threat posed by oncoming traffic.
Rumschlag invited the city administrator, city council members and other members of the audience to attend a picnic and a ribbon-cutting celebration to commemorate the new sidewalk, which took place on Sunday, September 10.
Jason Mendelsohn, of 221 W. Harrison St., spoke in favor of the formation of the new Environmental and Tree Advisory Commission, saying that the former Tree Commission often dealt with environmental issues anyway.
Bill Buri, of 216 W. Harrison St., also praised the formation of the Environmental and Tree Advisory Commission.
Ted Kurt, of 418 W. Dudley St., also spoke in favor of the new commission and asked council members to take a moment, whenever they make motions to pass ordinances, to explain to the audience why they feel that particular ordinance should be treated as an emergency.
Alaina Meister, of 1000 Joliet Dr., who is the commissioner of the former Maumee Tree Comm-ission, expressed her approval of the new Environmental and Tree Advisory Commission, saying that it makes perfect sense to combine the two former commissions into one new commission that handles both duties.
Denis Logan, of 605 Bennington Dr., offered his appreciation for the renaming of the Jack W. Hiles Maumee Memorabilia Museum.
The meeting was attended by 25 residents, and the public portion of the meeting lasted 35 minutes before council members voted to meet in executive session toward the end of the meeting.
No action was taken following the executive session, and the meeting was adjourned immediately after city council members reconvened.
The next meeting of Maumee City Council is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on Monday, September 18 in council chambers at the Maumee Municipal Building, 400 Conant St.
As always, Maumee City Council meetings are open to the public.