Residents hear plan for Lovers Lane

STEUBENVILLE – Residents from the city’s West End were told Tuesday night the city is prepared to have enhanced maintenance done on Lovers Lane from Princeton Avenue to Fort Steuben Mall Drive and a patching program for the remainder of the road while plans for rebuilding the street continue.

City Engineer Michael Dolak said he anticipates the repaving of the busiest part of Lovers Lane will start in mid-April when the asphalt plants start producing hot mix.

Dolak made his comments during a council service committee meeting prior to the regular council meeting.

“That enhanced maintenance work will cost $136,000. That project will mean grinding the existing roadway down about 3 inches and then putting a new asphalt overlay on the road. That will mean that section of Lovers Lane will be closed at least eight hours a day. We will then be doing major patching from the Fort Steuben Mall Drive to Coal Hill. We know that is a temporary fix, and we are continuing to work on the three-phase project to completely rebuild Lovers Lane,” explained Dolak.

Maintenance and Repair Director Bob Baird said the patching project will include milling the pothole areas and repaving the road in sections.

“The first phase will focus on the Lovers Lane and Fort Steuben Mall Drive intersection. We have four alternatives for that intersection. The first option is to do nothing. The second option is to create a southbound turning lane with no traffic light. Those are not viable options. We are looking at a southbound turning lane with signalization at the intersection as one option or a roundabout at the intersection that would slow down traffic on Lovers Lane. We are looking at a construction start date for the intersection project in the summer of 2016,” explained Dolak.

Dolak said the intersection alternatives and the three-phase project will be discussed again during a public information meeting that will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 24 at the Prime Time Senior Center on Lovers Lane.

“The information will also be on the city Website at,” said Dolak.

According to Dolak, the second phase of the Lovers Lane project will see the widening of Sunset Boulevard and Lovers Lane.

“That will mean a small amount of property acquisition, and that is set for a 2017 start date with completion scheduled for September 2018,” said Dolak.

“Phase III will see the road completely rebuilt with proper drainage from Princeton Avenue to Fort Steuben Mall Drive. We are looking at a total cost of more than $5 million with most of the cost being covered by federal and state money,” Dolak said.

City Manager Tim Boland said the city is exploring different financial options for the city’s share of the project.

“We do have to do something now to make Lovers Lane driveable. We don’t have $5 million in the budget but there are programs out there where we can pursue financing so we can rebuild that road. We don’t have a reservoir of money, and it won’t be easy. But we are moving forward,” said Boland.

In other matters during the Service Committee session, Boland announced he will have an action plan for parking issues and painting curbs and street markings in the downtown business area prepared for an April 1 Service Committee meeting.

Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi said the city initiated a two-hour parking limit in the central business district in 2006.

“We lost one public parking lot when the new City Building was constructed. We still have the permit parking lot on South Fourth Street and a public parking lot on Adams Street. I am suggesting the permit lot should be at the Adams Street lot, and the two-hour parking lot should be at the South Fourth Street lot,” said Petrossi.

“We are not as consistent with code enforcement as we should be. That would be the first action to be in compliance. We need to get the two-hour parking signs back up. We need to look at our public lots and get signage up designating where the parking lots are located. We are also formulating a plan for street striping and painting the curbs. It makes sense to paint the cross walks, the street striping and the curbs in one package,” said Boland.

Petrossi also suggested demolishing the former Micropro building next to the police station to create another public parking lot.

First Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto said he would like to see the downtown painting project completed before the annual Dean Martin Festival is held in June.

Police Chief Bill McCafferty said three part-time parking enforcement attendants were laid off several years ago when six police officers were laid off.

“We have looked at two part-time employees. That would cost $30,000, or one part-time employee would cost $15,000,” said McCafferty.

Fifth Ward Councilman Willie Paul asked Boland to explore ideas for limiting on-street parking during winter snow storms,

Third Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf announced council will meet for a goal-setting session from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on March 28 at the Historic Fort Steuben Visitors Center.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs said the Beautification Committee will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in council chambers.

And, Councilman at large Kenny Davis called for a Recreation Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss Belleview Pool operations and the Beatty Park disc golf course.

Mayor Domenick Mucci said he will deliver the annual state of the city address at 6:15 p.m. on April 22 at Eastern Gateway Community College.

The council approved a request from Suggs to write a letter to the Ohio House of Representatives to support House Bill 436 recognizing Moses Fleetwood Walker on his Oct. 7 birthday.

“Walker was the first African-American to play professional baseball. He lived in the Mount Pleasant area but is buried in Union Cemetery here in Steubenville,” said Suggs.

Council heard from Joseph Smarrella of Steubenville and Ruth Mularcik of Wintersville who expressed opposition to tentative plans to make property owners responsible for water bills incurred by tenants.

And, city resident Royal Mayor questioned the city’s diversity program for hiring new police officers.

“My second issue is the house fire on Braybarton Boulevard. That house was demolished immediately, but we have houses that have burned in the downtown area and they remain standing. And, I am requesting the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center weight room be re-opened to the youth who were using the facility,” said Mayo.

Civil Service Commission Chairwoman Delores Wiggins said an entry-level test for police patrolman was administered and 12 of 19 applicants passed the test.

“We follow the Ohio Revised Code and do not deviate from the law no matter who the applicants are,” said Wiggins.

Council approved several ordinances Tuesday night including legislation authorizing the advertising for bids for the 2014 Community Development Block Grant funded street paving program and the demolition of several dilapidated structures.

A resolution supporting the Steubenville Historic Landmarks Foundation’s application for capital budget funding for rehabilitation work at the Grand Theater was approved.

Council also approved a settlement agreement and release with Cardinal Resources from a lawsuit the city is pursuing against the DLZ Corporation.

Second readings were heard for an ordinance authorizing the purchase of a Case Excavator and for authorizing the advertising for bids for the Buena Vista Boulevard waterline upgrade project.