Mansfield Building

City of Mansfield Municipal Building.

MANSFIELD -- Debate over a $15.5 million proposed dry dam proposal is scheduled to resume with Mansfield City Council on Tuesday, three years after the idea was formally introduced.

Council is scheduled to discuss during a public utilities meeting legislation that would allow the city to enter into a contract for design and engineering services for the Touby Run Flood Mitigation Hazard Project.

"It would authorize the city to enter into a final, complete design of the dry dam and would provide construction project drawings that the city could use in bidding out the work," city engineer Bob Bianchi said Monday.

He estimated the design and engineering work would cost about $1.5 million.

The project is a proposed dry dam in North Lake Park aimed at protecting homes and businesses in the city's north end floodplain. The proposed legislation says payment for the engineering contract would come from the sewer fund.

When council last met June 15, before taking a mid-summer break, 5th Ward representative Jason Lawrence requested an updated version of the proposal be written for local legislators to consider when they next met on July 20.

Lawrence made the request after disagreeing with 3rd Ward council member Jon Van Harlingen, chair of the public utilities committee, regarding the scheduling of a committee meeting on the proposal.

Van Harlingen, also chair of council's finance committee, had said he preferred to wait until more is known about the city's sewer and water funds.

"I want to see a stabilization of these funds (before moving forward)," Van Harlingen said June 1. "If we had a committee meeting tomorrow, I would say the same thing."

Lawrence said in June his goal was to have an engineered and designed "shovel ready" proposal ready in two years as funding options are developed for the project itself.

At-large council representative Stephanie Zader said in June she supports the dry dam idea, saying north end businesses and residents should not continue to suffer.

"We need to have this discussion," Zader said. "We can no longer tell these (north end businesses and residents) that they don't matter."

Introduced in 2018 after several years of study, the dry dam issue was put on the back burner in 2019 until anticipated revenue from the $17 million water meter program was realized. 

The replacement program was expected to be completed in 2020, but the ongoing installation program has been slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Increased water revenue from the new meter is expected to pay for the replacement program.

Van Harlingen said Tuesday he was one of the dry dam's biggest supporters when the issue was introduced.

Since then, he said, the city has taken on an additional $50.6 million in water and sewer fund bond debt, including $10 million for state-mandated improvements at the wastewater treatment plant and $35 million for state-mandated improvements at the water treatment plant.

Properties and easements were acquired for the project and preliminary engineering for the work was done before the dry dam issue was put on hold.

According to the legislation, it will undergo readings by City Council on Aug. 3 and Aug. 17 before a third read and final vote on Sept. 7.

Also scheduled on Tuesday, City Council is expected to:

-- vote on a contract with Getz Builders for a design-build project to construct a training facility for the police department at 310 Miller Parkway, near Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport. The city's Board of Control approved the $303,400 project in May.

-- vote on a resolution honoring Capt. Daniel Krizan, who retired from the Mansfield Fire Dept. on June 20 after more than 44 years of service. Krizen, who joined the department in 1977, received the department's Legion of Merit Award in 1981, 1990 and 2014. He was also selected as the department's Firefighter of the Year in 2002. Krizan received the department's Bronze Star in 1994, 1996, 2007 and 2011 and the department's Purple Heart Award in 1999 and twice in 2006. Krizan was presented the State of Ohio Medal of Valor in 1991.

-- vote on the appointments of Maura Teynor, Jennifer Kime, Lee Tasseff, Braxton Daniels, Jennifer Pennel, Susan Gentile and Patrick Clinage to the new Mansfield Arts Commission.

-- vote on the planned demolitions of structures at 85 W. Sixth St., 232 W. Sixth St., 234 Bowman St. and 518 King St.

-- vote on a proposal allowing the city to trade in 18 older police department shotguns to offset some of the cost of 15 Sig Sauer P320 duty pistols. The shotguns have a trade-in value of $3,275 and the new pistols will cost $6,878.85, meaning the final cost to the city would be $3,603.85.

-- discuss during caucus accepting grants from the Richland County Foundation, the Mansfield Law Director's Office and others to purchase, install and implement a Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives (MILO) simulator to train officers in de-escalation techniques and appropriate use of force.

-- discuss during caucus spending $100,000 from the Downtown Improvement Find for a joint parking lot improvement project with First English Lutheran Church.

-- discuss during caucus the acceptance of a $28,800 grant from the National Association of Police Athletics/Activities Leagues to be used by the Mansfield Police Athletic League.

-- discuss during caucus the acceptance of a $118,421.87 grant from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services for METRICH drug task force operations.

-- discuss during caucus the acceptance of funding in the amount of $329,280 from the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Corrections for the probation improvement and incentive program.

--  discuss during caucus the acceptance of a $3,000 grant from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources Division of Forestry to be used to help cover about half the costs of a new drone for the Mansfield Fire Dept.

-- vote on legislation authorizing payment of $45,579.10 to the Ohio Dept. of Transportation to help pay for repaving work done on Ohio 39 between Taylortown Road and the city limits.

-- discuss during caucus proposed changes to the city's ordinances regulating private alarm businesses.

There are five committee meetings planned Tuesday: public utilities at 5:50 p.m., finance at 6 p.m., parks at 6:15, streets at 6:30 and claims at 6:40. Caucus is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. with the legislation following immediately after.

Support Our Journalism

Our content is free and always will be - but we rely on your support to sustain it. Become a member starting at $5 per month.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"