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Council Hears Report on Funds, Cleanup
The Worthington News (SNP), January 28, 2007

COUNCIL HEARS REPORTS ON FUNDS, CLEANUP


By MEREDITH SOMERS
Reprinted courtesy of The Worthington News/SNP 2007

Last week's Worthington City Council meeting featured proud moments, steps toward quiet nights, and one complaint for the near future of Worthington.
The meeting, rescheduled to Feb. 20 for Presidents Day, marked the distribution of the fourth-quarter reports by City Manager Dave Elder.
The expanding business environment in Worthington served as the catalyst for many of the changes in the government departments. City Engineer William Watterson said the doubling in collection of valuation fees (compared to 2005) was due in large part to the major renovations and new creations of condominiums in the city, as well as the CF Bank project and the revamping of Worthington Square, both in progress. Major capital improvement projects will begin breaking ground in the next few months, with road and sidewalk improvements and quieter train signals a few changes residents can look forward to.

A mild beginning to winter aided the Department of Public Service in their autumn cleanup. Four hundred and thirty-nine loads of leaves were collected, as well as 61,000 pounds of hazardous substances.

Shawn McCarty, the assistant operating manager for the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, said the waste was collected by Environmental Enterprises Inc. in Cincinnati.

"(Environmental Enterprises) collects and then returns what can be used again," McCarty said. "We try to reuse what we can, like batteries, motor oils and antifreeze. After that, we recycle things."

Poisons and other environmentally unsafe materials are incinerated before the remains are placed in a landfill.

Despite the warm temperatures, the Downtown area still was decorated with more than 35,000 Christmas lights. Department of Public Service Director David Groth joked in the report that 2006 could "go down as the year with no winter."

Airport noise

Also at the meeting, the ongoing battle over noise caused by planes at the Ohio State University Airport inched closed to resolution.

Scott Whitlock, a Worthington resident and member of the advisory board for the noise regulation and study at Don Scott Field, said in his report that the university will go ahead with the Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study. The findings of this study could result in noise reduction for the city. However, the university first must choose the best qualified group to conduct the study.
While some may just want the path of planes to be changed, it is not as simple as residents and Whitlock would like. As a result of the National Environmental Protection Act, a study also must be conducted to research the effect a change in flight plan will have on the flora and fauna of the area.
"The Federal Aviation Administration will fund 95 percent of the Part 150 study," Whitlock said, "but it will not fund the the (environmental study) simultaneously."

The good news for Worthington residents is that the university is seeking a consultant to eventually conduct both Part 150 and environmental studies, albeit funded at different times.

Center statement

Worthington resident William Fallon seemed to be the only unhappy guest at last week's council meeting.

Bringing a continuation of his statement against the proposed Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center, Fallon voiced his anger at the heavy financial responsibility the city has placed upon itself.

Citing the contract the city and school district entered into, which says room must be made to serve another 30,000 people coming to the arts center, Fallon wrote, "the city has willingly and knowingly financially adopted a community three times its size, and using sizeable and unlimited city tax revenues to support them forever."

In a response to the written statement, Elizabeth Jewell, executive director of the Worthington Arts Council, said Friday that there actually are hundreds of volunteers interested in helping to raise money.

"Many residents are looking forward to the successful completion of the (center)," Jewell said.

Now in its seventh year of discussion and planning, the McConnell Arts Center could break ground as early as this year.

Read more Central Ohio Community News at the Suburban News Publications Web site, SNPonline.com.

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