Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
By Amy Kronenberger
St. Marys getting a Tractor Supply Store
  ST. MARYS - Tractor Supply Company will be coming to St. Marys in the near future, bringing 20 to 30 jobs.
Safety service director Tom Hitchcock made the announcement at Monday's city council meeting.
TSC will take over the former Chief's grocery store in the St. Marys Square shopping center on Indiana Avenue. The outdoor portion of the supply store will occupy the building just to the north, said Todd Fleagle, manager of industrial and community development.
The project is being handled by Midland Atlantic Corporation real estate firm of Cincinnati, who owns the buildings. Fleagle said the firm does not yet have a timetable for the project, but he expects the work to begin soon.
The Chief store has been empty since fall of 2009, said Chris Palermo of Midland Atlantic.
"We've been working with TSC for a while now, and we're very excited to have them in St. Marys," he said.
Council also noted that work has begun on the Beer Barrel restaurant being built in the St. Marys Square. The restaurant near the J.C. Penney store is expected to open this year.
In other projects, the city received state approval Monday to begin work on an earthen bridge that will connect the new soccer fields on Beech Street with K.C. Geiger Park.
Hitchcock said Ohio Department of Natural Resources approved the plan, which includes dirt piled over one large culvert and a stone top. The bridge will be 10 feet wide at the top and taper down.
The city first submitted plans in April, but the state rejected that plan due to concerns for proper water flow, said Steve Dorsten, canal operations manager with ODNR. The city submitted a revised plan on June 2.
Resident Bob Valentine told council he noticed dirt already piled into the canal. The city began the work July 15 but then was advised by Dorsten to hold off until final approval, which they did.
Work on the bridge will continue this week.
Also near the new soccer fields, Rural Machine & Iron Works of Spencerville soon will begin constructing a chainlink fence around the fields. Beech Street residents asked the city for a privacy fence, but council rejected the suggestion due to the increased cost. The six-foot chainlink fence is estimated at $10,500, $8,000 cheaper than a privacy fence.
As a compromise, Hitchcock said the residents could purchase vinyl slats to fill the chainlink.
The proposed shelter house north of High Street has been awarded to Miami & Erie Contractors of Celina. The company submitted the lowest bid of $238,700, lower than the $250,000 budgeted for the project.
The shelter house will be located next to the canal and walk path and will have lighting and restrooms. Work will begin this week and is expected to be completed this year.
In new legislation, council passed in emergency an ordinance appropriating $12,570 into the voted tax fund. Hitchcock said a police van recently was totaled in an accident. The appropriated money was given to the city by the insurance company for the van.
The accident was not the fault of the officer driving the van, Hitchcock said. One car ran into a second car. The second car then spun into the police van.
Council also passed a resolution of sympathy for the family of the late James Davis. Davis was a teacher at Memorial High School, served as council president and served on the Ohio House of Representatives. He died July 19.
Council passed final reading of a resolution approving the preliminary 2012 budget. The city expects $44.73 million in expenditures.
Council member Pat McGowan expressed concern that the presented budget had too many gray areas and was concerned council didn't fully understand what they were approving.
Hitchcock said every capital improvement had a line-item cost presented in committee. However, because the budget is only preliminary, there will be assumptions in costs and gray areas. City auditor Doug Riesen agreed, saying the budget will undergo many changes before it reaches its final version at the end of the year.
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