Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mentor's week in review has bad news, good news

Mentor’s retail sector has taken a turn for the worse and police patrols are being increased at the Lagoons marina, according to the latest city manager report to City Council. On the bright side, more grant money is coming in for safety forces and social media is helping to nab suspects:

Economic and Community Development
• The 2012 Retail Vacancy study reveals weakness in the retail sector. In the Regional Shopping Center sector, the vacancy rate increased from 5.2 percent to 6 percent, or 28,800 square feet more retail space availability in 2012 than in 2011. The vacancy in the neighborhood convenience sector also increased from 15.2 percent to 17 percent, or approximately 10,000 square feet. The overall vacancy rate for the city increased from 6.9 percent to 8 percent. These numbers will be “benchmarked” with regional data once it becomes available.

Police Department
• An investigation is being conducted regarding 10 boat props stolen from boats at the Lagoons. The Detective Bureau is working with other area departments to develop any leads. Patrol activity in the Lagoons area has been increased over the past three weeks and will continue throughout the winter months.
• The department is promoting its Facebook page by placing Facebook logo stickers on the rear of all of the marked patrol vehicles. The department has already identified one suspect in a case after his surveillance photo was placed on the page.
• The department continues to enforce violations of driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. As a result of enforcement last week, there were 12 arrests for DUI.

Fire Department
• The city received $225,000 from NOPEC for the energy savings grant to be used for the replacement of the 800 MHZ radio equipment used by the safety forces. The check equals the final distribution of the total $450,000 grant.
• The department was called to the Mentor Municipal Court Jan. 6 at 4:23 p.m. to investigate an odor of smoke in the court area. There was no fire, but rather a heating and air conditioner problem that the city contractor is working to resolve.
• There was another call related to heroin use on Jan. 7 at 1:09 p.m. The male patient was found medically stable. 

Finance Department
• Initial audit field work is scheduled to begin on Jan. 30 and last two to three weeks. This is the third year of the five-year contract with the firm of James G. Zupka, CPA, Inc.

Engineering and Building Department
• Stoneybrook Lane/Garfield Road Culvert Improvements: The Engineering and Building Department and Three J Enterprises were scheduled to meet Friday to finalize various aspects of electric utility coordination for the culvert improvement project and also to set up a time for a pre-construction meeting. Dominion East Ohio Gas was to begin lowering its gas lines on Stoneybrook Lane and Garfield Road starting Thursday or Friday this week. Aqua Ohio will also begin lowering its waterline on Stoneybrook Lane starting the week of Jan. 23. 

Public Works Department
• The Public Works Activity highlights were: 707 Christmas trees chipped as of 1-11-12;  interior work at Wildwood Cultural Center; Wall installation in Garfield concession area; floor care and painting in Garfield; replacing restroom doors at Civic Center pool; Senior Center prep for wall covering and counter top replacement; Two Town Ditch cleaning from Bellflower to Silvermound Pond; start rough grade for Lagoons boat ramp project; behind 6282 Chase — replaced existing dry well; storm sewer cleaning on Bellflower, from Spring Blossom to Camelot (main only); Reynolds Road at Two Town Ditch — cleaning box culvert 60 percent complete; 5809 S. Shandle — installed 12” crossover and inlet basin; 6275 Carolyn Drive — install inlet basin; Tyler Boulevard basin repair project, and maintain recycle center & litter throughout city parks.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The Chili Open is set for Saturday with tee times starting at 9 a.m. Space is going quickly and nearly 200 golfers were registered as of Friday.
• The Public Works Department is getting ready to start a few projects at the Senior Center, including replacing ceiling tiles, cleaning the vents and lights in the main hall, and starting the tiling and FRP panel job in the kitchen.

-- Betsy Scott, BScott@News-Herald.com, @ReporterBetsy


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