It’s official: Clear Fork River bridge will be blue


By LOUISE SWARTZWALDER - lswartzwalder@aimmediamidwest.com



BELLVILLE — A topic that has generated much conversation in the village was voted on and put to rest at last night’s meeting of council.

The official color of the big bridge crossing the Clear Fork River will be a federally approved shade of blue.

It is, for the record, # 15065.

The street and sidewalk committee of council had discussed the topic before presenting information to council members.

Over the years, the bridge has been painted a variety of colors. One possible color would be black, but committee chairman Joann Palmer said that is usually used for utility bridges. This means there could be a safety issue because drivers might think they were crossing a railroad track. If it was cloudy, someone could “end up in the drink,” Palmer said.

Council members discussed their preferences in paint colors.

Mayor Teri Brenkus said mention of the bridge project, scheduled for 2020, generated over 16,000 “shares” on Facebook.

Brenkus said it “literally went viral.”

Some people said they wanted it to be Clear Fork green. Others said it should be left the way it is.

The vote on council had members Vic Swisher and Jason Guilliams voting no. Other members, Palmer, Clint Knight, Bruce Snyder and Jason Potes, voted yes.

Palmer told council she learned in discussions with Ohio Department of Transportation officials that lighting placed on the bridge would not be happening because of DOT rules.

She said it would be possible to do lighting off the bridge, maybe spotlighting, but not on the bridge.

Doing that project would be the responsibility of the village, and that could cost thousands of dollars, Palmer said.

It had also been suggested that a sign be put on the bridge. But that also is not permitted under state rules, Palmer said.

Council, in other matters, heard from Theresa Cook, with Richland County Senior Services. She spoke in support of a one mill replacement levy on the November ballot.

This would be supplemented by an addition half mill levy.

The levy provides services to senior citizens in Richland County who are trying to live independently, Cook said. Only six per cent of the money goes to administrative costs for the services group, she said.

This is a rural county and some people get home delivered meals. Also transportation is provided and minor home repairs can be covered. The average age of the persons receiving funds is 72, Cook said.

The home repairs can run from grab bars in a bathroom to ramps. A ramp project would be more costly and funds from another source would probably have to be provided.

Council also received Scott Belcastro, with Trebelllc, an energy broker consultant. He said he is hoping to be able to move to the area and expressed interest in working with the village. He said he is one of the largest such groups in Ohio and works with “aggregation” programs for persons interested in learning more about energy suppliers.

Council gave first reading to an ordinance approving a revamped employee handbook. A council committee has been working on improving the handbook. Copies of the suggested changes to the handbook will be available in village hall. It will take two more readings of the ordinance before approval becomes final.

By LOUISE SWARTZWALDER

lswartzwalder@aimmediamidwest.com