Updated Mon, Apr 28, 2014 10:00 am
Athens City Council filed court actions Wednesday against three Richland Avenue businesses to obtain construction easements for the major street improvement project that will take place this year.
Cases were filed in Athens County Common Pleas Court against Chase Bank, SuperAmerica (Speedway) and Wendy’s.
At the time, City Law Director Pat Lang said the resolutions were a “cautionary measure” in case the city was unable to reach agreement with the businesses. Up to that point it hadn’t happened, which Lang indicated might be due to the corporate structures or timetables of the businesses. He said the resolutions would allow the city to proceed with court cases if it became necessary.
“The city has reached out over the last several months to all of the property owners along Richland Avenue to try to work out an amicable agreement in which we give them a certain amount of money in return for them voluntarily giving us permission to go on their property to conduct these improvements,” Lang said at the April 7 meeting.
As part of the court cases, the city deposited with the Athens County Clerk of Courts the amounts of money the city believes the easements are worth.
The amounts are: SuperAmerica, $3,093; Wendy’s, $358; and Chase Bank, $3,983.
According to court documents, the SuperAmerica and Wendy’s easements are needed for driveway construction, and the Chase Bank easement is needed for driveway and parking lot work.
Andy Stone, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said the Richland Avenue project is expected to go out to bid in mid-May, and he hopes to have it under contract by June 10.
The approximate $4 million project is being funded primarily with federal highway funds coming through the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The project includes the widening of Richland Avenue from Dairy Lane to Canterbury Drive to allow for bike lanes; new curbs and sidewalks; replacing water lines, storm drains and natural gas lines; some sanitary sewer work; resurfacing the street; decorative street lighting like that on the Richland Avenue bridges; modifying some business driveways to improve safety; and updating the traffic signals at Carriage Hill Drive.