Marietta council looks to replace fire department gear

Marietta City Council is moving forward on replacement gear for the city fire department.

“Ten years is all they’re allowed to wear their turnout gear,” explained Fire Chief C.W. Durham Tuesday.

Durham approached council’s Police and Fire Committee Tuesday to request support for the $27,890 purchase.

“It’s actually below our projected estimate for the budget this year,” Durham told council. “We projected $36,000 for 12 sets so this request will be a savings.”

For $2,789 per set of gear including helmets, gloves and hoods with a 10-year warranty, the request for 10 sets saw the support of all council members present.

Council also met Tuesday to discuss within the Lands, Buildings and Parks Committee support of renovations and restoration plans of the Start Westward Monument and East Muskingum Park.

City Engineer Joe Tucker presented a proposed contract with Woolpert, an engineering consultant out of Columbus, for engineering services for the Start Westward Monument upgrade and restoration.

But questions of how to pay for local matching requirements for phase one of preservation would be sourced paused the support from several council members Tuesday.

“The Start Westward project has a mayor’s committee that’s been very active in this process; we are now at a point to get input from the administration and council on how we want to proceed,” said Joe Tucker, city engineer. “The bottom line is we have a proposal from them for a contract for $274,818.”

Tucker explained that if the city were to move forward with the contract, the city would have to pay up front the engineering cost with then an available state reimbursement grant of $183,212.

This would leave the city on the hook for the remaining balance of $91,606, Tucker said.

“We’re looking to lay it out first, and then put in the lights that will be hooked in at some point in the future,” said Tony Durm of the Ohio Department of Transportation, District 10 and a member of the Start Westward Monument committee. “There’s a number of planning parts added at this point that we then wouldn’t be paying for at some point in the future.”

Tucker said then future construction fund award dates are estimated to land in summer 2021 with construction anticipated to be complete in 2022 with estimates of $2.5 million among construction, engineering and right of way costs.

But one wrench in the restoration plans in recent months was the question of ownership for the national monument.

City Law Director Paul Bertram explained that a gap in legal control over the monument is currently being researched.

“The National Park Service, through the Department of the Interior should be the responsible party,” said Bertram, referring to an opinion he has penned and sent to the NPS.

Tucker said he is recommending to council to come to an agreement with the park service on the monument.

“The park service is focused on specifically the monument while Woolpert is focused on everything but the monument,” said Tucker. “Woolpert has agreed to absorb the additional surveys as a deliverable to the city that we will then give to the park service.”

Jean Yost, chairman of the committee pursuing the restoration and renovation of the park, explained some of the local match for the engineering portion of this project can be completed with in-kind services and with donations.

Chairwoman Cindy Oxender said she will continue the conversation at a later committee meeting on Sept. 24 at 4:30 p.m.

“Please send your questions to me; hopefully we can get them answered,” she said.

All city council member emails are available on the city website: mariettaoh.net.

The committee also discussed repair needs of the harbor and noted priorities including roof replacement and physical/structural safety issues and aesthetics.

Council will next meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday for a committee of the whole to discuss census counting efforts.


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