By Karen Cornelius
Vermilion City Council met on Monday, May 1, and heard about a project from Main Street Vermilion to install new bike racks in the downtown area and the city parks. While this additional convenience for residents and visitors was welcome, council members were concerned about installation and placement on state and city right-of-ways.
Main Street Vermilion spokesman Ron Cicerchi explained the bike rack project and said it was funded through a grant from the Vermilion Foundation. He said adding bike racks was discussed and planned for about one year. Now they are being fabricated by a Clyde, Ohio business using three different design forms. A model with a Lake Erie “Wave” pattern is now at Main Street Beach. He said another pattern will have Vermilion’s “FRIENDSHIP schooner” on it. Some will be three dimentional for 4-9 bikes, and some smaller two dimentional, mostly for two bikes.
He said probably seven will be installed downtown at locations on Liberty Avenue at the Main Street Soda Grill, Granny Joe’s, Route 6 Restaurant, and Rudy’s. More would be on Route 60 at the Main Street Vermilion Office, Woodstock, and Brummer’s. There could also be one at Huggy’s and Martino’s as well as Showse and Sherod parks. Cicerchi expected all the bike racks to be finished within one month. He said Parks and Rec chairman Betsy Wakefield and parks supervisor Dana Corogin will be working out the installation. They did not plan on putting them near the buildings, but by the curbs, more inline with the lightposts and trees.
Council president Steve Herron said he is all for it, but he wondered about any prohibitions placing items in the right-of-ways. He said they have to make sure they are placed legally. Mayor Eileen Bulan said they would not be allowed along Liberty Avenue’s right-of-ways because it’s a state route and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) would not like it. Service director Tony Valerius agreed and said ODOT doesn’t want any items in the Route 6 right-of-ways. He said it would take council approval for any city right-of-ways. Council president Herron suggested the topic go to the Legislative Committee meeting on Monday, May 8, so they could fashion something within the law. Herron stated they didn’t want anyone to get hurt and the city would have the liability.
Service director Valerius asked Cicerchi to make a placement sketch for the new bike racks and if any will be in the right-of-way to need approval. Cicerchi said he would return May 8.