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Athens City Council meets atthe Athens Municipal Court on Washington Street , Feb. 26, 2024.

Longest council meeting discussed over 20 ordinances, six appointments

In its longest meeting of the year, Athens City Council had a second hearing for the Community Development Block Grant Program, discussed the Woodsedge Development tax increment financing agreement, read more than 20 ordinances and confirmed four city council committee appointees.

City Council President Sam Crowl initiated the second hearing. The City of Athens intends to apply for the grant program, which would give the city $150,000 of federal funding.  

Based on citizen and city official input, the funding will be used to improve sidewalks on the west side of Athens, Crowl said. 

With no public feedback, Crowl invited comment from Mayor Steve Patterson and fellow council members.

Councilmember Solveig Spjeldnes, D-1st Ward, said she remembered hearing people say city sidewalks were a mess when she was first elected.   

“There's great interest in making sure that we can clean (the sidewalks) up, and make them pedestrian accessible to everybody,” Spjeldnes said.

Following the hearing, Alan Swank, D-4th Ward, introduced a project which would establish affordable and accessible housing. 

“This would allow the developer to put in the housing we so badly need,” Swank said. 

Swank said the project would use money already available from the city’s street, water and sewer funds and produce housing in the $200,000 to $300,000 range.

Approved ordinances included Councilmember D-2nd Ward, Jeff Risner’s, amendment to the city’s 2024 appropriation ordinance; and Councilmember Micah McCary’s network upgrade project.

Council had a first reading on the ordinance to join the Southeast Ohio Recycling Terminal Council of Governments.

Council members then confirmed Mayor Patterson’s appointment of Emily Guseman, Heather Jolley and John Leite to the Recreation Advisory Board.  

Council also approved the reappointment of Allyson Hughes and Lisa Simpson to the Disabilities Commision; Cyrus Moore and Mark Snider to the Historic Preservation Commission and Kelee Riesbeck to the Municipal Arts Commission.

“The scope of work that goes into coordinating and getting the various boards and commissions to come together, but it’s been successful,” Patterson said.


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