Council, school board tour Willis after joint meeting


By Brandon Klein - bklein@civitasmedia.com



Superintendent Paul Craft, right, gives a tour to members of Delaware City Council and city staff of the Willis Education Center, 74 W. William St., after a joint meeting on Monday. Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, left, listens to Craft’s description of the room.

Superintendent Paul Craft, right, gives a tour to members of Delaware City Council and city staff of the Willis Education Center, 74 W. William St., after a joint meeting on Monday. Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, left, listens to Craft’s description of the room.


The Gazette

Delaware City Council and the Delaware Board of Education took no action at its joint meeting Monday night, but the two governing bodies talked about a few collaborative projects.

The group heard a presentation from the Northwest Neighborhood Association about converting the school-owned Boardman Field, along Winter, Catherine and William streets, as a passive park with rotating art.

Superintendent Paul Craft said the district does not want the 2.2 green acre space because of maintenance issues particularly with the so-called Delaware Run creek. Aside from the NNA’s proposal, he said the two ways for the district to dispose of the property is to put the field up for auction — with the right to accept the bid or not — or exchange with the city for another parcel of similar value.

City Manager Tom Homan said there would have to be discussions about the value of the field and the potential negative value of the Delaware Run.

Roxanne Amidon, president of the NNA, said the group opposes the space being used for retail purposes.

Another park-related issue discussed at the meeting were basketball courts that can be utilized by the Delaware Community Coalition. The basketball courts at Willis Education Center, 74 W. William St., and Blue Limestone Park were among the locations considered to have courts built in, said Vance Herrell, a member of Second Baptist Church on Ross Street.

The courts could be used for not only basketball but community events, he said.

Craft said he was interested in converting the courts at Willis into space for parking with the courts going to Blue Limestone Park.

Councilwoman Lisa Keller, 2nd Ward, and the council members representing the three other wards will meet in the next couple of weeks to discuss what funds are left from the park levy. She said this could be a project for further discussion at that meeting.

Aside from parks, Council and the board discussed ways to improve students’ safe commute to school. The discussion comes after a student was hit by a car on Troy Road in January. Craft said the board had allocated $10,000 to address the issue. City staff are looking at applications to improve the safety of cross walks.

Council and the school board’s meeting was at Willis, which a portion is under consideration to become the Delaware Entrepreneur Center. Another building being considered is the former Gazette building on William Street, according to Economic Development Director Sean Hughes.

He declined to identify a third building also under consideration. The center would provide a central location for resources and temporary space for local entrepreneurs.

After the joint meeting, Council, city staff and school officials toured the Willis building, which is transitioning to become an administration building for the district.

Prior to the joint meeting, Council took the following actions:

• Established a segment for public comment of the downtown parking study submitted by MKSK Consultants, a Columbus-based planning firm at City Hall, 1 S. Sandusky St., 7:45 p.m. Feb. 27.

• Authorized a memorandum of understanding between the city and AFSCME Clerical bargaining group. The MOU between the city and the bargaining group would extend vision coverage with the city’s $6 contribution.

The intent is to provide this benefit during the current contract period, according to a city-prepared fact sheet, but requires both parties to negotiate this term in the next contract. The city would pay $528 in 2017 for eight members, who signed up, since Feb. 1.

Superintendent Paul Craft, right, gives a tour to members of Delaware City Council and city staff of the Willis Education Center, 74 W. William St., after a joint meeting on Monday. Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, left, listens to Craft’s description of the room.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2017/02/web1_20170213_205236.jpgSuperintendent Paul Craft, right, gives a tour to members of Delaware City Council and city staff of the Willis Education Center, 74 W. William St., after a joint meeting on Monday. Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, left, listens to Craft’s description of the room. The Gazette

By Brandon Klein

bklein@civitasmedia.com

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

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