By Tim Cox
Celina city officials will seek construction bids for the West Bank Rotary Walkway project, but construction likely will not begin until July.
City council members voted 6-1 Monday to seek bids for the project after already having approved $1.5 million in financing for the project at a prior meeting. Safety-Service Director Jeff Hazel said he likely will advertise for bids at least three times to make sure the city attracts the greatest number of contractors.
Councilman Ed Jeffries, who has opposed the project throughout the planning stages, cast the lone vote against seeking bids. Jeffries says the residents of his ward do not support the walkway project.
The mile-long concrete path is to stretch from the Rotary lighthouse all the way to the state park boat ramp. The project will involve filling in about 25 feet of the lake and the construction of a new seawall. The 12-foot-wide path will be tapered to get around the spillway.
The latest engineering estimates say the work will cost nearly $2 million. City officials also plan to seek alternate bids for some additional work that could be tacked onto the project if bid prices are favorable. The additional projects include resurfacing West Bank Road, adding street lights along the new path and additional concrete work to create patios or platforms jutting out from the main path. None of the work will begin before summer though, Hazel said. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which controls the lake, will not allow any fill work along the proposed path to take place until after fish have spawned for the season.
"I don't think they will let us do any work between April and June," Hazel said.
City officials plan to pay the debt on the walkway with about $125,000 annually in tax increment finance (TIF) revenue. The TIF zone created along West Bank Road runs through 2028.
TIFs are government tools to divert property tax dollars raised from new development in the area to help pay for infrastructure in the same area. City and county governments have numerous TIF zones set up throughout the area.