By: Tim Kays
As part of her annual State of the City address to the Bryan City Council on March 1, Mayor Carrie Schlade proudly announced that the old Amtrak station is going to be seeing a major upgrade to the tune of $3.3 million.
“I have been working with Amtrak on advancing a long-planned project for a new passenger rail station to replace the shelter at Paige and Lynn Streets,” Schlade said.
“I was given the permission today, and I’m very pleased to announce that Amtrak plans to break ground in September on a new $3.3 million enclosed passenger station with restroom and 300 foot long train boarding platform that will also comply with Americans with Disabilities Act.”
“New lighting signage and accessible parking spaces will also be part of this project. We are certainly looking forward to this groundbreaking investment in Bryan.”
“That Amtrak is great news,” said Councilor Jim Kozumplik. “I have to be very honest,” Mayor Schlade said. “I got a call about a year ago from someone in their Research and Real Estate Development that wanted to basically reduce their footprint, and their lease was coming due.”
“One of the reasons that Council got that lease a little later than normal is because I have been debating them for a year to go with the plan that they promised us over a decade ago, and I have been successful in that, thankfully, and I have an email that I got today that I could announce it tonight.”
“Over the years, Amtrak has been paring down smaller stops in a cost-cutting measure, and Bryan had been considered for the axe more than once.”
“COVID-19 has not helped matters much, as ridership out of the Bryan terminal from October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020, plummeted to 3,252 passengers.”
“With the recent renewal of the lease though, the Amtrak Lake Shore Limited will continue to arrive out of Chicago around 1:45 a.m., and pull in for the return trip to the Windy City shortly after 7:00 a.m.
“Amtrak is improving our facility in Bryan because it is an investment of more than $3 million in the future of the community and in our service,” said Marc Magliari, Public Relations Manager of Amtrak Government Affairs and Corporate Communications, in a statement on Tuesday.
“It is the right thing to do to bring us into fuller compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This project will help all our customers in that part of Ohio have better access to our current service and any future expansion.”
According to Magliari, the scope of the project will feature five major components…
•A new 343-foot-long platform with lighting, guardrails and signage
•Two accessible parking spaces
•Compliant paths of travel between the platform, parking and existing shelter
•Demolition of the existing shelter
•A new prototype shelter with an enclosed small waiting area, covered outdoor seating, unisex bathroom, ancillary spaces for janitorial and mechanical purposes as well as storage for the wheelchair lift.
Council suspended the rules of reading to adopt Ordinance #13-2021, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a contract with M&M Asphalt, Limited of Edon for the project known as 2021 Parkview Avenue and Belmont Avenue improvements.
“We received bids on February 10 for this project,” said City Engineer Brian Wieland. “We had five good bidders on it. I’ve submitted a letter as well that showed the ranges were from about $463,000 to $594,000; my estimate was $502,000 for the project.”
“We reviewed the bids and we would request that you…award this project to M&M Asphalt Limited of Edon for $463,354.20.”
“I don’t know if you recall, they had done the first phase of the Mayberry Drive Project here a few years ago. They did real good work on it and I’m pleased with them.”
“Construction should start probably in May. What we’ll do is we’ll get the bid books around. I’ll get the contracts executed during the next 30 days. We’ll get a pre-construction meeting scheduled, and they can get rolling. The contract says the completion date is August 14, pending any weather delays.”
The project is expected to be full depth work, with curbs and gutters. “The Water Department had put a new water line in on two blocks of Parkview a few years ago,” Wieland added.
“We had done sanitary sewer on Belmont. This last block of Belmont is one of the last ones in the neighborhood there that needs finished off, so we’re kind of tagged in that, and the Parkview, this block is the worst of the ones in the area.”
“The next few years…we want to continue to do more of Parkview and maybe do Blakeslee, in that particular area. For the most part, it’s full depth street removal.”
Council moved to accept a donation from Vested Interest in K9s of a canine vest, first aid kit and Narcan kit for Tyson, the City of Bryan Police Department K9 unit.
In other actions, Council approved a transfer request of $400,000 from the 1% income tax fund to the general fund for general spending purposes, also a transfer request from the 0.5% income tax fund to the Police-Fire Building Debt Retirement Fund of $100,000, and from the Fire Department Fund to the Police-Fire Building Debt Retirement Fund of $260,000.
As of December, the city will be halfway through its bond obligation on the Police-Fire Buildings.
Council approved the updated plans of the Joint Solid Waste Management District of Williams, Defiance, Fulton and Paulding counties, and the hiring of seasonal part-time Parks employees John Hall, Bob Kunsman, Bryson North, Tim Muehlfeid, Richard Reed, Darrel Huard, Samanthy Kosier.
Council also agreed to the hiring of Jeffrey Tonjes as the event coordinator of the new Fountain City Amphitheater. In other personnel actions,
Council approved the resignations of patrol officer Corey Ruch, volunteer firefighter Christopher Roberts, and Recycling Center worker Gary Hussey.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org