Main Street improvement

A Main Street improvement plan, between First Street and Fifth Street, will be discussed by Mansfield City Council on Tuesday.

MANSFIELD -- Mansfield City Council, which has approved the two-way conversion of Mulberry Street and Diamond Street in the downtown in the past two years, is expected to discuss improvements to Main Street on Tuesday.

Council will discuss two pieces of legislation related to the project, which could lead to "major, significant improvements" in the Main Street corridor from First Street to Fifth Street, according to city engineer Bob Bianchi.

He said the effort is part of the overall Mansfield Rising downtown reinvestment plan.

"This would be a major, significant improvement to the downtown corridor," Bianchi said. "It's aimed at beautifying the corridor, making it pedestrian friendly, adding placemaking features, new lighting fixtures, new sidewalks and brick crosswalks.

"We will be speaking to shareholders, business owners and the public for their input all the way through the process," Bianchi said.

He said the current Main Street "streetscape" is 40 years old and officials have heard "a great deal" from the public and business owners about the need for improvements.

The first step would be a $1,005,000, two-year engineering and design study -- 90 percent of which will be paid for with federal dollars through the Richland County Regional Planning Commission. The remaining 10 percent, or about $100,500, would be paid by the city using non-general funds, Bianchi said.

The acceptance of the grant and approval to seek engineering/design proposals is what council will be discussing during a streets committee meeting at 6 p.m.

When the engineering work is done, the construction project itself would cost about $7.5 million, Bianchi said, with federal and state grants hopefully covering about 75 percent of the costs. He said the city would also seek funds from the Richland County Foundation for "some of the more decorative" portions of the project.

Main Street 2

A plan to improve Main Street between First and Fifth streets is on the agenda for Mansfield City Council on Tuesday.

Bianchi said the administration would go back to City Council for approval of the project when the engineering/design work is complete.

The city's portion, including replacing century-old waterlines under Main Street, would be about $1.8 million. Bianchi said it would again be paid with non-general revenue funds, including water funds, sewer funds, permissive sales tax, the Downtown Improvement Fund and street resurfacing funds.

The design/engineering project is scheduled to receive three readings by City Council, with a vote planned Feb. 16.

According to the plan, its four primary goals are:

-- maximize positive economic impact for all stakeholders.

-- create a safe, walkable user-friendly environment.

-- ensure durability, maintainability and sustainability.

-- celebrate the history and culture of Mansfield.

The overall plan also considers possible improvements to Central Park "as a result of its relationship and its importance to the historic public open space of downtown."

In other action on Tuesday, City Council is expected to:

-- vote on a resolution declaring 2021 to "be a year of growth, diversity, education and community cooperation."

-- vote on the acceptance of a $2,000 grant from FM Global to be used for the purchase of fire investigation equipment.

-- discuss during caucus the acceptance of a $8,514.38 grant from the Ohio Attorney General's Office to purchase five fast-attack tactical platform vests. The total price for the vests is $11,352 with the city contributing $2,838.12 from its drug law enforcement fund and law enforcement fund.

-- discuss during caucus amending city ordinances regarding fees for various lab services provided by the Mansfield Police Division Crime Laboratory.

-- discuss during caucus the acceptance of a $28,205.62 grant from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services to defray the costs of forensic science overtime, training, travel and equipment with $25,636.19 designated for the opioid drug crisis.

-- vote on a community reinvestment area agreement with Niss Aviation Fixed Base Operator, LLC, to provide tax incentives for a $2.2 million project at Mansfield Lahm Air Regional Airport, including a 15,000-square foot hanger at 1990 Harrington Memorial Road.

An economic development committee is scheduled at 6:45 p.m. to discuss the airport project. City Council caucus is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. with its legislation session immediately afterward.

Due to COVID-19, City Council continues to meet online. The public can view committee meetings, caucus and legislative sessions on the livestream on the City of Mansfield’s Facebook page or the city's website.

Members of the public with questions or comments should email them before the meetings begin at citycouncil@ci.mansfield.oh.us.

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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?"