In the first meeting after a month-long recess, the Athens City Council voted Monday to approve many time-sensitive ordinances regarding several road slippages, sewer repair and flood damage. 

Councilman Peter Kotses, D-At Large, presented the issue of Armitage Road, where the road slipped and was declared a real and present emergency, leaving 12 houses on the north end cut off. 

In a previous council meeting, the project was approved for $50,000, but has now since exceeded that limit by $40,000. The ordinance allows City Council to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse the city for 87.5 percent of its $90,000 bill, leaving the city to truly pay only 12.5 percent. 

Mayor Steve Patterson said he hopes the Armitage Road construction will be a permanent fix to the problem. 

Kotses also presented two other ordinances to the council. 

Construction on Cable Lane is a similar situation to Armitage Road, where it slipped in early spring and still has not been repaired. The estimated cost of construction is $100,000, as there is also a storm sewer issue that requires attention on the road. Council rules were suspended to allow the motion to pass in order to apply for funds through FEMA by August 15. 

Cable Lane will most likely not be finished in time for it to be repaved as part of the city’s annual schedule this year. 

Another ordinance stated that flooding from February has shifted the Hocking River beneath White’s Mill and is threatened to destabilize the ground and pull in a light pole and guardrail. The council voted to approve stabilizing the river bank. 

Councilmember Pat McGee, I-At Large, presented another ordinance regarding road construction, reading that the city will apply for an up to $400,000 grant to add to the funds available to spend on the ongoing Stimson Avenue project. 

“I think these advances in the long run will make our community more accessible,” Councilman Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, said. 

Because the Stimson Avenue construction is significant, it will be open to public discussion through town hall style meetings to come, McGee said. 

Not all of the meeting was serious.

Butler mentioned to the council and audience that he had received many positive comments on the new Athens city pool, which opened on June 18

Patterson revealed to the council that Athens has been chosen as the location for the 5th Annual Ohio Town & Gown Summit in 2020. As stated on its website, the Town and Gown Summit gives city and university officials the opportunity to meet, identify common challenges and learn from one another. 

Councilmember Sarah Grace, D-At Large, supported an ordinance that asks for sections of Park Place to be closed for the annual Joint Police Advisory Council’s barbecue dinner in September. The motion was unanimously approved. 

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@JackieOu_ohyeah

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