By William Kincaid
ROCKFORD -- The village was awarded a $496,000 transportation enhancement grant Aug. 9 from the Ohio Department of Transportation to fund an extensive forthcoming infrastructure project.
Village Administrator Jeff Long told council members during the regular Tuesday meeting the village will use the money for the South Main Street sidewalk extension and lighting.
Rockford will have to match 20 percent of the grant to install the curbs, sidewalks and lights near the new Parkway School on Main Street.
The scenic project will also include landscaping, trees, benches and trash receptacles from the south corporation line of the village to the intersection of U.S. Route 33 and state Route 118.
Rockford's project was eligible for funding because it will provide new transportation facilities for pedestrians and bikes, according to an ODOT news release. Rockford's project was one of only 35 selected for funding this year in the state by ODOT. In other news, police officer Bryan Stetler said the suspects involved with a summer vandalism incident at Shane's Park have been caught.
The vandals were reportedly three children under the age of 10 who were filling the toilets up with stones and causing other messes in the restrooms, according to Long. Stetler said the children's parents will pay for all damages, although he did not specify the exact costs.
The announcement set off a conversation between service committee chairwoman Amy Joseph and other council members. Joseph suggested the village place signs in the park. Many council members said they wanted signs announcing the hours of the park.
Councilman Randy Gutierrez said they could put up as many signs as they wanted, but they probably wouldn't deter vandals from future mischief.
Joseph said the park board is frustrated with the improvements they have to make at the park when vandals destroy their work. But Mayor Robert King said the majority of people appreciate the efforts of the park board.
"Part of the frustration is kids running around without parents," Joseph said.
Long suggested creating a neighborhood watch group or organizing volunteers to patrol the park. He added that reportedly the lights in the restrooms are on all night and the doors are unlocked.
Although Stetler originally told council members that he locks the park restrooms every night around 9 p.m., he later added that sometimes he is unable to do so because of other pressing concerns or duties.
Council took no action on the vandalism issue.
At the end of the meeting, council opened the two sealed bids for the village's 1991 police cruiser. Council members unanimously accepted a $1,111.11 bid from Aaron Strobel.