WJ buying new trees for downtown

By Kevin Dye Contributing writer

May 21, 2014

The Village of West Jefferson is taking action to beautify a portion of the downtown area struck with misfortune after the restoration along Main Street.

Public Safety Director Dave Metzger informed council Monday night that his department is ready to replace 23 trees that perished along Main Street in the downtown business district.

Originally, trees were planted several years ago when the downtown revitalization project was completed, but the trees died from improper watering. Metzger said his department will make sure the new trees get the care they need to flourish.

“We absolutely need to water these trees consistently or not plant them,” Metzger said. “These trees need 25 gallons of water per tree a week.”

Lisa Bowers, an urban forester with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’s Division of Forestry, has been assisting the village with selecting the new trees, Metzger said. The trees are designed to reach 25 to 30 feet tall.

Council member Randy Otis asked if Bowers had mentioned water bags to provide water to the trees. Water bags typically hold about five gallons of water that is slowly released over time. Metzger said Bowers had not mentioned them, and he will contact her for her opinion on them.

Metzger said he is in the process of finding the cheapest bid for the new trees.

Metzger also shared an update on the Parkdale Road project, set to begin in July. The Ohio Public Works Commission has provided $800,000 in grants to help fund the repaving project. The planning stage is expected to be completed soon. Following the planning stage, the final cost can be brought to council.

In other business, there has been a change in the traffic signal at the intersection of Fellows and Frey avenues. A flashing yellow traffic light has been placed east and west on Fellows Avenue. Traditional stop signs have been posted on both sides of Frey Avenue.

Frey Avenue traffic is one-way north from Lilly Chapel Road through the Fellows Avenue intersection. Traffic will now have to stop and yield to the traffic traveling on Fellows Avenue.

Several residents complained to village council over the last year about the traffic signal on Fellows Avenue and requiring drivers to wait for the signal to change when there is no traffic on Frey Avenue. The village is considering utilizing police officers at the intersection during high traffic volume events such as West Jefferson High School football games and the Ox Roast festival.