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Riverlea NewsMay 2010

Reflections on Riverlea

Mary Jo Cusack photo.
Mary Jo Cusack, Mayor

Cut-through. Our April 19 Council meeting included an extended public discussion about this issue and the desires of many residents to maintain safe walkways from the Village to Worthington. The Council heard from residents both in favor and against constructing a public pathway to this location. Concerns expressed included: the desire to keep Riverlea a "walkable" community and to insure safe access for students going to school; the relative safety of alternative routes to school; the negative impact on our neighbors caused by some who used the cut-through previously; the possibility that a path may cause the schools to limit bus service to the Village; the cost of such a taking; the probability of winning such a lawsuit; and the determination of some Council members to avoid a "forced taking" of property through legal action. Your Mayor agrees that the use of legal action to take property to build a pathway is not wise. Council and I appreciate how respectful everyone was at the meeting. We have included information on this matter on the Village Council home page on the Riverlea Web site, including the letter from Lt. Mosic. Please visit this site to learn more.

Council and your Mayor have determined to gather more information regarding the options available to the Village and its residents to keep our Village safe for pedestrians. I am exploring with Matt Greeson, Worthington City Manager, the issue of pedestrian safety as it impacts both communities. Individual Council members are exploring the possibilities and costs of possible alternatives. We will keep you posted.

Village of Riverlea Statement of Revenues, Expenditures and Changes in Fund Balance [PDF] - 2009 YTD

2009 Franklin County Tax Distribution For the Village of Riverlea [PDF]
Finances. This newsletter includes charts prepared by the Clerk-Treasurer, showing our revenues, our expenditures, and share of real estate and other taxes. Relevant to this are two bills pending in the legislature: one would abolish the state death taxes; the other would increase the exemption, thus reducing the income from those taxes. (In other words, great for our families, but not so great for our municipalties!) In addition, we are required by a Settlement Agreement entered into by all suburbs with the Ohio EPA to follow certain requirements in updating our infrastucture. Our infrastructure is the original from the late 1930s. As you know, we have repaired several leaks in the last year, most of which we were required to pay for. Street Commissioner, Bill Charles, has spent untold hours working on this with our engineers, Burgess and Niple, and on a plan to update the streets and curbs. We will be doing this in sections and we are seeking funding. Eric MacGilvray has been working with MORPC on this. However, we will need a levy in order to complete this.

Memorials. A memorial was held April 10 for Susan Costakos-Slomka whom we all miss. A memorial was held for John Mercer on May 1. I had no idea he was such an OSU fan. He led a wonderful and generous life and he and Linda contributed much to the community. And Clara Bunk, a long-time resident of Riverlea before moving to Powell, died as well. She and Frank also contributed much to Riverlea.

Public records policy and Village Marshal. Riverlea has adopted a Public Records policy which is posted on the Web site. Thanks to Dan Noonan for his assistance on this. Thanks to Kent Shimeall, Village Marshal, for keeping an eye on the Village. If he asks you to do something, please honor his wishes with a smile. He is carrying out the duties imposed by Council.

Insurance settlement. In the last Riverlea News we informed you that the Village had settled the claims against the Village in the zoning appeals brought by the owners of property on Crescent Court. We are pleased that the Village's insurer has reimbursed a substantial portion of the costs involved.

Grants. The Franklin County Neighborhood Arts Grant may be applied for by May 31. This is a $2,000.00 grant to support community participation in the arts. Anyone with ideas for an arts program, please let me know.

Highlights from the February 16, 2010 Council meeting

The minutes of the regular Council meeting of March 16, 2010 and special Council meeting of March 29, 2010 were approved as was payment of bills. The Mayor reported MacGilvray will meet with MORPC regarding the complete streets program and obtaining funding. There have been problems with the building of the house on Pioneers. They have intruded on the property of the neighbor to the south and there is the obvious bad placement of the port-a-john. Gordon volunteered to deal with the storm water management. Hamor will look into getting new brackets for poles for US flag and Riverlea flag to be flown at the two front entrances.

The Planning Commissioner reported two applications for a Certificate of Appropriateness. One was approved for a change in a window and a new patio at 250 W. Riverglen. The second for an addition of a dormer at 5814 Westchester was rescheduled; one member could not vote due to a conflict of interest.

The Marshal reported that the police report was routine with 249 checks and 5 complaints. He is contacting the builder on Pioneers to discuss the problems of mud run off and the port-a-john issue. The Street Commissioner reported that Radico has already checked out the lift station and the check valves need replacing, approx. $400. He and Louis MacFarland (Burgess & Niple) will walk through the streets.

The Web Manager reported that the Web site has been revised. Due to requests from users, she has created programs for applying for an email list online and a public records request. She has also created a privacy policy. The Solicitor will review these before they are presented to Council for approval.

Cut-though discussion
The Mayor explained the financial position of the Village. It is mandatory that the Village update and maintain the infrastructure due to an EPA order. There is also the need and cost of street and curb replacement. Ultimately, the Village will need to pass a levy to pay for these. Because of these issues, the Village does not have money to spend on other matters. She spoke with the property holders about selling a strip of land and they are unwilling to do so. Worthington can put up a fence that would block the cut-through. Student busing can also be stopped. Other issues include insurance, maintenance, liability and ADA compliance.

To take the land needed for a cut-through under eminent domain, the land must be necessary for public use, which is questionable. This includes not only the compensation for the land, but also for the loss of use, which may require us to be responsible for the full value of the properties. Other costs include appraisals, legal fees, and construction. The 1989 tax levy was defeated by 222 to 97. At that time costs were estimated at $64,000; residents were unwilling to pay for the pathway.

Resident comments. Laura Bischoff presented a petition about the cut-though. She feels High Street is unsafe; sidewalks may be snow covered. South Street has no sidewalks. She wants a permanent solution. If the Village loses busing, then the cut-through would be necessary. Eminent domain can be expensive.

Some agreed. Some pointed out that busing was only for elementary students. The main concerns were for safety. Others believe property values have dropped since the cut-through was closed and the Village is no longer pedestrian friendly. Residents encouraged Council to move forward on this issue. If a pathway is created, then the Village must maintain it. They expressed sympathy for the property owners but believe it is time to make this permanent.

Others disagreed. This is private property. The property owners at the cut-through have lost privacy. The property owners are tired of the harassment, which has been increasing. Children can be taught about safety

The MIG Properties attorney pointed out that eminent domain is a lawsuit and will be vigorously defended. He could also file a counter claim against the Village. This is private property. The plans have been approved by the Planning Commission. It might be hard for the Village to prove that the cut-though is a necessity, not a convenience.

Comments from Council on cut-through issue
The Mayor thanked everyone for being courteous. Hamor asked if anything needed to be done regarding the Bischoff petition. The Mayor responded no. It is only advisory. Other Council actions Council went into Executive Session pursuant to Section 121.22(G)(3) ORC to discuss an insurance proposal. The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 pm.

Meet new neighbor Jan Williams

For years Jan Williams drove through Riverlea, admiring the homes and the community and thought that someday she might be so fortunate to live here. Guess what? Here she is (5816 Pioneers Court) and the infatuation is intense. You who have lived here for years can identify with her feelings.

Jan is a retired elementary principal from the Columbus Schools. She earned her BS from Ohio University, a Master degree from Xavier University and Montessori Certifications from American Montessori Society in New York. She spends time at Overbrook Presbyterian Church where she has served on Session, Stephen Ministry, numerous committees, helped with the homeless, taught VBS and restructured the nursery. She also has tour guide responsibilities at the Thurber House. She has two grown daughters and recently adopted a rescue dog named Katy. Her pleasure activities include spending time with her daughters, enjoying Katy, walking, reading, having lunch with friends, antiquing and working on special projects, at home and away. She smiles a lot as she walks around this wonderful neighborhood and talks with new neighbors. She thanks you for welcoming her so warmly.

In memory of

Clara Bunk, age 84 former Riverlea resident who led a full and happy life passed away on April 16, quietly and peacefully at home in Powell, Ohio. She married Frank Bunk in 1946.She was a long time member of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, where she made a large quilt celebrating Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She also made 20 or 30 other quilts, led the Gethsemane Quilt Program for many years, and displayed quilts from Kansas City to Maine. Clara was a devoted educator and taught English and second language students. She created a program to use typing as a means of reading development. She was honored with a Columbus Mayor's award in 1990. Contributions will be welcomed at Gethsemane Lutheran Church (Remembrance Fund), or to a charity of your choice. Clara led a busy and loving life and was always ready to help when needed.

2010 Trash Collection Schedule

Regular Riverlea collection day is Monday. Local Waste Services observes six holidays. If the holiday falls on Monday, collection is the next day of that week. The holiday schedule follows:

2010 Trash Collection Day

New Years Day
Memorial Day
July 4
Labor Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day
Monday, 1-4-2010
Tuesday, 5-25-2010 (Note Day Change)
Monday, 7-5-2010
Tuesday, 9-7-2010 (Note Day Change)
Monday, 11-29-2010
Monday, 12-27-2010

Mark your 2010 calendar for our Village Council Meetings

All scheduled 2010 Village Council meeting dates and locations are available on the Council Meeting Schedule

See Residents Home page for more calendar items

Villagers may place classified ads. Professional services ads are not accepted. Ads must be of reasonable length; they are edited as needed to fit the space. Letters should be no more than about 200 words and must be signed. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Please submit electronically or by mail to News Editor, 263 Melbourne, or RiverleaNews@riverleaohio.com
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