Council adopts bike plan despite concerns


Delaware City Council adopted its latest update to the master bike plan on Monday.

Following four prior readings including a hearing plus another round of public comments, council did not inquire if there was anyone wanting to speak in support or opposition of the multi-use trail along the Delaware Run.

“Again this is just a plan. It’s not set in stone and we do not have the money to build it tomorrow nor the next day,” Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle said.

That did not sway some opponents of the estimated $1.67 million trail to raise their hands, asking to be heard. Opponents brought up concerns such as property ownership, safety risks and the environmental impact.

The city owns about 58 percent of the Delaware Run corridor, while 21 percent is privately owned and 6 percent is railroad owned by CSX Transportation. The remaining 17 percent is existing trail including the 1,550-foot path behind the Willowbrook Christian Community.

City Manager Tom Homan said there are references in the plan of “being careful” when it comes to acquiring privately-owned property for multi-use trails.

“All we did tonight was adopt a plan we’re not advancing the Delaware Run bike path,” Homan said. “… When we get to that point of advancing that plan we would have to notify all the property owners [and] talk to them about it just as if we were buying a property or a road or any other kind of public improvement.”

Homan said there are no “ulterior motives” with the proposed trail. He rejected rumors from “comments posted on [local citizens group] Sustainable Delaware’s email distribution” that the city planned to sell the golf course to be developed.

In addition, supporters of a multi-use trail to connect Bruce Road with the Pennsylvania Avenue came out and submitted petitions after the meeting. It’s currently among the top 15 priority projects. But Parks and Natural Resources Ted Miller said the plan is flexible.

Advancing trails will be driven by developments, grants and safety concerns, he said.

While it was the fifth meeting for the bike plan, it was Jim Browning’s first meeting as the 3rd Ward council member after he took oath at the beginning of the meeting.

He replaces late member Joe DiGenova, who died March 19 after being ill for several months.

In other business, Council:

• Approved to budget $14,000 to extend the Springfield Branch Trail beyond the David and Ross streets intersection by about 670 feet to Todd Street. The supplement is equal to amount developers paid for Howald Industrial Park, according to a city-prepared fact sheet. The project will be completed this summer.

• Approved legislation to amend subdivision regulations of the planning and zoning code pertaining to the acceptance of public improvements and bonding.

The planning director said acceptance of public improvements can be done at the staff level and improves the clarity of what construction and/or site improvements are eligible for a performance bond. Those are ramps for the handicapped; final grading/seeding; final wearing course of asphalt; bike path/walk in common areas; pavement markings and rejuvenate; landscaping; lighting; sidewalks and street lights; and monument assemblies.

• Authorized the city manager to apply and accept overtime reimbursement from the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program and Impaired Driving Enforcement Program grant administered by the Ohio Traffic Safety Office and Ohio Department of Public Safety.

The grant provides funds to reimburse municipalities for overtime and fringe benefits related to officers working additional high visibility enforcement (HVE) to target specific traffic safety issues. The Delaware police department is eligible for up to 280 hours of STEP enforcement and up to 420 hours of IDEP enforcement for the fiscal year 2018.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this incorrectly stated the ranking status of the Bruce Road trail. Also, an earlier version of this story was not clear when Homan made references to Sustainable Delaware.

City Attorney Darren Shulman, left, swears in Jim Browning as the 3rd Ward council member Monday night. Browning replaces Joe DiGenova, who died March 19 after being ill several months. Attorney Darren Shulman, left, swears in Jim Browning as the 3rd Ward council member Monday night. Browning replaces Joe DiGenova, who died March 19 after being ill several months. Courtesy photo
Browning sworn in as 3rd Ward rep

By Brandon Klein

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Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

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