Lotspeich Avenue to become one way
By Jane Beathard
Lotspeich Avenue on London’s east side will become a one-way street in coming months, following a vote by city council on Thursday.
Traffic will flow north to south between High and First streets, with parking restricted to the west side of the street, according to safety-services director Steve Hume.
During a public hearing prior to the vote, Lotspeich Avenue resident Jack Dunkle voiced opposition to the plan. Dunkle said restricting traffic to one way would hinder access to his driveway. However, he supported limiting curb-side parking to the west side.
Local resident Connie Bechtel advocated for the change. Bechtle said current two-way traffic moving on the narrow street poses a safety hazard and creates traffic jams.
Council members John Stahl, Roger Morris, Steve Scaggs and Pat Closser voted for the ordinance. Dick Minner cast the only dissenting vote. Members John Dixon and Alan Knowles were absent on Thursday. The council seat formerly held by Stan Kavy remains open.
Also on Thursday, council approved a resolution to match a $20,000 NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) with $15,000 from the city’s Parks and Playground Fund. The $35,000 will construct a skate park on Park Avenue near the current basketball courts.
Scaggs and Minner questioned the wisdom of spending recreation dollars for a skate park when the London Community Center is in need of repairs.
However, auditor Katie Hensel noted council approved the grant application for a skate park last year. Refusing to allocate matching funds at this late stage would likely prevent London from receiving future grants from ODNR.
“You approved the application. If you reject it now, you may endanger future grants from NatureWorks,” Hensel said.
Mayor Dave Eades also noted London’s share does not involve tax money. The city’s Parks and Playground Fund comes from fees paid by residential housing developers. Eades said developers pay fees in lieu of constructing neighborhood parks within their subdivisions.
The city is also set to receive a $34,314 NatureWorks grant from ODNR to construct a parking lot and walking trail at the new London Nature Preserve, east of Maple Street. The nonprofit Friends of Madison County Parks & Trails will match that money with volunteer labor. No city funds are involved.