By Kevin Dye
West Jefferson Village Council received a county update on planned infrastructure improvement projects that will begin next year in the village.
Madison County Engineer Dave Brand addressed council to give them the latest news on three planned construction projects that will begin in 2013. They include sewer plant repairs, repaving of Parkdale Road in the Westwood area and the London Road-Kirkwood Drive water line replacement project.
Brand said that at a recent Ohio Public Works meeting the projects were given high priority in the county.
“The water treatment plant did make the cut and we got it funded,” Brand said.
Brand said that street improvements to the Parkdale Road, in the Westwood area, was at the top of the list.
“It is the number one small government project in the district,” Brand said. “We haven’t been as successful for Madison County in the past. All three projects will get priority points. You have another month or so to submit the application and Fanning and Howey know what that date is.”
Brand also told council that the Taylor-Blair Road bridge is still scheduled to be open to traffic on Nov. 24, which is the last deadline that ODOT has granted the construction company R.B. Jergens, who are working on the bridge project. He stressed that the bridge will not be completed as the terms of the contract states and work will be ongoing while traffic uses the new covered bridge structure.
Carol Beachy, the new president of the West Jefferson Christmas in the Park organization, informed council of the progress the group was making in preparation for the annual holiday festival. This year Christmas in the Park runs from Friday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 9. Along with Beachy, the group’s officers are vice president Derek Campbell, secretary Carrie Catapano and treasurer George Wendel. Beachy said that former president Jeff Pfeil is still helping as an advisor to the group.
“We are in the process of testing lights and we are half way done,” Beachy said. “We have a lot people coming to help us out. Volunteers are showing up very well.”
Beachy said that there are two new things for this year’s festival, the Honorary Tree where for a donation of $50 or more you can have a memorial or thank-you for someone on a wooden snowman that will be displayed during the event. The wooden snowman will then be given back to the person or persons who donated for the individual named. The other new program is headed up by Tracy Kronk which are luminaries that will be by donation and the plan is for the luminaries to line Main Street and head back to Garrette Park where Christmas in the Park is located.
“The main night we want the luminaries for is Saturday, Dec. 8 for the Parade of Lights,” Beachy said. “Opening night is at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 and we would like to extend an invitation to Darlene (Mayor Steele) to come and speak. We will also have the West Jefferson High School band and choir performing that evening.”
Sandy Boucher has organized a free concert in the parking lots of West Jefferson Hardware and C.C. Auto Service and Towing and Beachy said that they will be handing out free hot chocolate for those in attendance. While there are new things planned for the festival, there are still things in jeopardy for this year’s event.
“We are looking for funding for carriage rides or train rides,” Beachy said. “We are looking for corporate sponsorship since that is very expensive. There are no funds for any new equipment. We have enough money for the lift (to hang the lights) and the electric bill, but that is all. We’d love to have LED lights, but one big tree at my cost would be $1,000.”
Council member Cory Coburn said that the holiday event has become very popular with many in the central Ohio area and has attracted visitors to the village.
“The event is featured in many publications and magazines and it is good publication for the village,” Coburn said. “I thing is is worth the village helping out with the event.”
“I think the Fourth of July (Streetfest) and the Ox Roast we give to,” council member Ron Garver said. “I would like to make a motion that we donate $1,500 to the light bill for Christmas in the Park.”
Council members voted unanimously in favor of the donation to help with the holiday event.