Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
By William Kincaid
Preparing for reconstruction
  A busload of Celina city officials and Main Street business owners are touring multiple cities in northwest Ohio today to observe the design and layout of streets, sidewalks, parking and lighting.
The group, which is helping the city prepare for a Main Street reconstruction project in 2010, has stops planned at more than a dozen cities, including Van Wert, Defiance, Bryan and Paulding.
On the bus is newly hired downtown business manager Deborah Borns.
Borns was appointed to the job this fall by Mayor Sharon LaRue to replace Tom Saddler, who was no longer interested in the position. Borns, a Celina resident and realtor, is working with downtown business owners to get a $400,000 Ohio Department of Development Small Cities Community Development Block Grant the city applied for in August for the third time.
In August, council members set aside $30,000 for application work and $15,000 for a downtown manager, the maximum allowable for services and expenditures incurred through the cours e of duties, according to city administrative assistant Joan Wurster.
  Borns earns $24 an hour, Wurster said.
Also on the bus with Borns today are city council members, around 25 business owners, Celina Planning and Community Development Director Kent Bryan and LaRue.
Bryan this morning said he wants to schedule a committee meeting before Christmas to discuss the group's findings, as well as present the information to other Main Street business owners who were unable to take the trip.
The $3.7 million Main Street reconstruction project is planned to be bid out in early 2010 with work to begin that spring.
Currently, city officials and downtown business owners are discussing parking options, from 30-degree angled parking spots to parallel parking; whether to have two or four lanes of traffic; and the possibility of decorative sidewalks.
The Main Street project includes rebuilding the street, all curbs and sidewalks beginning at Lake Shore Drive, as well as installing a new water line, decorative street lighting and new traffic lights.
Safety Service Director Jeff Hazel said many of the existing sidewalks will be torn up to bury electric lines underground as part of a $700,000 safety grant from ODOT.
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