Boston road decisions postponed again
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Cuyahoga Falls officials have offered to maintain one of two Boston Township roads that the township wishes to close due to financial constraints.
The offer regarding Wetmore Road was revealed during Summit County Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting Dec. 3, at which two pieces of legislation dealing with requested road vacations were discussed but once again put on time until April 8.
There is no formal agreement in place for Falls crews to deal with winter snow and ice on Wetmore, but Service Director Valerie Wax Carr said she verbally made the offer to Boston trustees Amy Anderson and Jerry Ritch at the end of last week.
“We will maintain the road until April 15,” she said. “If we can keep that road open, we will handle that for them.”
Cuyahoga Falls residents who live in the area of Wetmore Road are concerned about the potential closure of the road because it provides a second way to access their homes for safety forces, according to area resident Stephan Kremer, who provided a petition with 75 signatures from residents.
“We ask that the issue be put off so that the entities can get together,” Kremer said.
He added he helped coordinate meetings earlier this year with residents and city, county and Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) officials, but Boston Township was not included, which was an oversight for which he apologized.
“We do recognize they have a dilemma,” he said of the township, whose officials have said they have no money to maintain Wetmore and a portion of Oak Hill Road.
CVNP Deputy Superintendent Paul Stoehr said the park is one of only two of the National Park Service’s more than 400 units that can pass road maintenance funds to local communities in which parklands are located. To date, he said Boston has received $1 million, with $200,000 for Wetmore.
Anderson confirmed the township has received funding over the years but stressed that it is not for snow and ice removal.
Councilman John Schmidt (D-District 2) asked Anderson if she would accept the Falls’ offer of help or move to close the road without Council’s approval. She said she could not make that determination outside of an official trustees’ meeting.
Schmidt raised concerns that the city could take the township to court if it did close the road without approval.
Wax Carr said a letter regarding the city’s offer to maintain Wetmore was sent to the trustees but she had not received any kind of confirmation yet that the township is interested in the proposal. Anderson said it would be discussed at the next trustees’ meeting, which is set for Dec. 12.
There was little discussion on Oak Hill Road during the meeting, although two residents appeared before Council to ask that they be informed of meetings and decisions.
Earlier this year, Boston Township officials appealed to Council to vacate Wetmore, Oak Hill and Stanford roads, which would effectively close them to traffic within the township’s boundaries, due to a lack of funds for maintenance. After two public hearings on the matter, Council approved the Stanford Road vacation and put legislation regarding Wetmore and Oak Hill on time for 90 days so local communities and entities can try to find some common ground on solutions to the problem. When the 90 days was up, Council again placed the legislation on time for 90 days, which ended this week.
Also Monday, two pieces of legislation regarding the county’s 2013 budget were recommended for Council adoption at its next meeting. The total proposed 2013 budget is $471,287,390, a 4.6 percent decrease from the adjusted 2012 budget.
County officials also are predicting a 4 percent increase in revenues in the coming year, thanks in part to casino revenues.
Council also conducted its final budget hearings of the year for the Human Resource Commission, Common Pleas Court, Sheriff’s Office, Board of Elections, Executive’s Office and Council.
County Council will meet for its final scheduled meeting of the year Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. for caucus and 5:05 p.m. for the regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.
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