Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mentor traffic flow talks keep rolling

Traffic improvement talks for Diamond Centre and Lake Shore Boulevard, a jewel heist investigation, and bid opening for a major drainage project are among the recent goings-on in Mentor. Those items and more in the latest, weekly city manager memo to City Council:

Manager Comments 
• Tony Zampedro and I met Doug Lewis, Painesville acting city manager, last Monday to discuss the long-term approach to the highway improvement involving the Diamond Center/Shamrock developing area. We discussed the obstacles and options for moving a project forward and agreed to continue exploring opportunities for cooperation.

• Letters are being sent this week to all property owners on streets included in the 2013 sidewalk repair program. A public meeting is scheduled for April 4 at 6 p.m. at the Mentor Senior Center to review details of this year’s program. One of only a few minor changes to this year’s program includes adjusting the vertical separation standard from 1-inch to ¾-inch to better address the trip hazard defect.

Fire Department
• On March 15 at 4:21 p.m., Mentor Fire Department responded to a MABAS box for a dryer fire in Mentor-on-the-Lake. Mentor Fire assisted in ventilating the home and locating two house cats. 

• On March 20 at 3:05 p.m., a male walked into the station with food lodged in his throat. He was treated and transported to Lake Health in stable condition.

• Public Education Specialist Nathan Peters has been teaching “Hands Only CPR” to the Mentor Police Department.

Police Department
• On March 16, officers responded to a theft at JB Robinson Jewelers at the Great Lakes Mall. The theft had occurred the night before, during business hours. The thief got away with almost $24,000 worth of jewelry. The case is currently under investigation by the Detective Bureau.

• At the City Council meeting on Tuesday evening, the Officer of the Year, Lt. Tom Powers and Civilian of the Year, Dispatcher Linda Hulderman awards were presented for 2012. This is the second-consecutive year winning the award for Linda.

• On March 18, the police department assisted with and attended the funeral of Judge Ted Klammer, father of City Prosecutor Lisa Klammer.

• Traffic counts for the Lakeshore Blvd. Capacity Improvements Study are scheduled to commence on March 26 throughout the corridor. These counts will analyze traffic at the following intersections:

• Lakeshore Boulevard and Campbell Road
• Lakeshore Boulevard and State Route 306
• Lakeshore Boulevard and Inland Shores/Thistlewood
• Lakeshore Boulevard and Dale R. Rice Elementary School Driveway
• Lakeshore Boulevard and Meadowbrook Drive
• Lakeshore Boulevard and Andrews Road
• Munson Road and Lakeway Boulevard
• Munson Road and Center Street

Results of the study will be presented later this summer with recommendations to be considered for future capital improvement programs.

• Fifteen bids were opened March 8 for the Beechwood Drive Storm Sewer Improvement. This project consists of removing approximately 640 feet of undersized and deteriorating storm sewer on the east side of Beechwood Drive. The old storm sewer will be replaced with a 12-inch storm sewer on the east side. 

Additionally, storm sewer inlets will be installed on the west side where there were previously no storm sewer facilities. The total length of the project is approximately 1,336 feet. The low bid of $85,357.44 was received was from Davis Diggers Inc. of Mentor. This bid is significantly lower that the engineer’s estimate of $160,000.00.

Work is expected to begin by June 2013 and should be completed by October 2013. A recommendation to award a contract to Davis Diggers Inc. is expected to be presented at the April 4 Council Meeting.

Economic and Community Development
• Data from CBRE was assembled to analyze retail vacancy for Greater Cleveland, which tracks over 104 million square feet of retail space in the eight county areas. The Greater Cleveland vacancy rate was 10.27 percent in 2012. Lorain County exhibited the highest vacancy rate at 13.6 percent, while Stark County had the lowest vacancy rate at 8.0 percent. In Lake County, the vacancy rate was 9.8 percent. Of the 28 properties “tracked” in Mentor, the vacancy rate was 4.6 percent.

In Mentor there are 11 regional shopping centers (76,000 sq. ft.+), which represent approximately 2.8 million square feet of retail space. The vacancy rate of these larger centers was 5.9 percent or approximately 170,000 sq. ft. with the largest vacancies being in the Points East Plaza, Great Lakes Mall and Town Square.

There is almost 600,000 sq. ft. of retail space in 27 “convenience” shopping centers in Mentor, which range in size from 11,000 to 45,800 sq. ft. (Retail Vacancy 2013).  The vacancy among these convenience centers is 15.4 percent, down from 17 percent in the 2012 report. The overall vacancy rate for the 38 shopping centers in the City is approximately 7.5 percent; a one-half percent decrease from 2012.

Parks and Recreation Department
• New-member meetings will be held at the Senior Center on April 18 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. to introduce the Senior Center facility and its functions.

• The new boiler for the Senior Center and the new security camera system at Black Brook Golf Course will be installed in April.

• Sign-ups for the 50th Anniversary Lecture Series are going well with 25 registered in each series so far.

• Recent State of Ohio statutory changes affect prior, current and future individuals hired as independent contractors, or other classifications for which no retirement contributions were or will be made to OPERS. Timeliness for notice and requests were changed by recent legislation. Employers must now notify by Sept. 7 those individuals who provided personal services prior to Jan. 7, 2013, for which no retirement contributions were withheld. Individuals now have until Aug. 7, 2014, to request a membership determination from OPERS.

Public Works Department
• Completed installation of perforated drainage pipe at Black Brook Golf Course
• Completing rough grade for work above
• Storm sewer inspections – Ward 2 – 50% complete
• Storm sewer repair – 8425 Grenway
• Lowered drainage outlet and re-defined roadside ditch – Willowbrook
• Garfield Park pool restroom improvement – ongoing
• Plaza Blvd. signal upgrades – tied-in conduits and pulled loop wire
• Cold patching – City-wide
• Constructing game boards for CityFest
• Black Brook Golf Course security system installed

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


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