City of Mansfield engineer Bob Bianchi explains a $45,000 mid-block Fourth Street crosswalk project Tuesday evening to City Council, which voted unanimously to appropriate the money from the Downtown Improvement Fund.

MANSFIELD -- Bricks successfully salvaged four years ago when Mansfield eliminated its last brick road will be used in a new Fourth Street mid-block crosswalk.

Mansfield City Council on Tuesday evening unanimously approved the permanent crosswalk, originally created as part of a pop-up project created and studied by the Richland County Regional Planning Commission in early August.

The project, between Main and Diamond streets, was recommended by the Downtown Improvement Advisory Board as a way to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

The funds will come from the city's downtown improvements fund created when voters approved a $5 license increase in 2018.

It's the second significant idea found in the Mansfield Rising plan to be approved by City Council. Mulberry Street was converted to two-way traffic between Second and Fifth streets in August.

City engineer Bob Bianchi detailed the crosswalk plan to City Council, which decided to proceed with the project after originally scheduling it for only discussion in committee and caucus.

With bipartisan approval apparent during a Finance Committee meeting, legislators decided to move forward, a decision Bianchi said would allow for the project to be completed this fall.

Bianchi said the crosswalk will be 10 feet wide, eight feet of which will be bricks salvaged from Columbia Avenue in 2015.


Above is one of the former bricks salvaged from Columbia Avenue in 2015, the last brick road in the City of Mansfield. The brick road was built in 1921 and the city salvaged about 90,000 bricks and stored them in the City Service Complex on Park Avenue West when it paved the street. About 1,040 of the bricks will be used on a new Fourth Street mid-block crosswalk between Main and Diamond streets.

The brick road was built in 1921 and the city salvaged about 90,000 bricks and stored them in the City Service Complex on Park Avenue West when it paved the street. 

"But it's more than bricks," Bianchi said. "There will be a concrete base, concrete boarder and a concrete bumpout (extending the sidewalk) on the south side of Fourth Street to encourage and help with visibility between pedestrians and cars."

Bianchi said the ramps leading to the crosswalk will be ADA-compliant and connected to the Municipal Parking lot on the south side of Fourth Street. Parking meters will be removed on the south side and replaced as two hours of free parking, a move Bianchi said was desired by merchants in the area.

The engineer said the crosswalk will connect directly to an alley that connects to the Brickyard, a decision hailed by council. A 42-inch "yield to pedestrian" sign will be placed in the center of the street.

He said the bricks will be level with the road surface. "I think it will be very nice," Bianchi said.


Above are the details for a permanent Fourth Street mid-block crosswalk project presented by engineer Bob Bianchi to Mansfield City Council on Tuesday evening.

During the Finance Committee, every council member who spoke endorsed the project.

"This is the direction I hoped the city would go towards," said At-Large Councilman Don Bryant. "This is a great project. I look forward to seeing this be further developed."

Finance Committee chairman Jon Van Harlingen, who represents the 3rd Ward, said it was a reasonably priced project that will show residents how the license plate funds are being spent.

"I am a frequent flyer of downtown activities and it's kind of crazy in that area to get across from the Municipal Parking lot to get to the north side of Fourth Street and the Brickyard. I think this is a very worthwhile project and will show the downtown area very quickly what can be done with these funds that benefits everyone," Van Harlingen said.

In other action Tuesday, Council:

-- approved an amended change to the city's demolition laws, differentiating requirements between residential and commercial demolition projects.

-- approved a resolution honoring Det. Richard Miller, who recently retired after 28 years with the Mansfield Police Department.

-- approved a request to transfer $17,000 for the purchase of a plotter and two computers in the engineering operations department.

--approved the acceptance of $50,000 from the Ohio Attorney General's Office to assist with the Opiate Response Team Project.

-- approved four pieces of legislation related to the dry dam project in North Lake Park. Council placed the overall project on hold earlier this year, but has allowed the administration to continue acquiring land and easements the project would eventually require. Bills approved Tuesday will pay for two families to relocate and also acquire easements on two properties.

-- approved one-year leases for Richland County Children Services and the North End Community Improvement Collaborative for space at the Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center, 445 Bowman St.

-- approved a new, three-year collective bargaining agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local #266, which represents the city's firefighters. The vote came after Council discussed the contract in executive session. The new contract includes 2 percent pay increases each year, which Public Works Director David Remy said is in keeping with state averages. 4th Ward Councilman Walden "Butch" Jefferson voted against the agreement.

-- approved acceptance of ODOT bridge inspection services for the next three years. Bianchi told Council that ODOT will inspect and rate all city-owned and operated bridges at no cost to the city.

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