Some on Oregon City Council at a meeting on July 23 said they were disappointed that some areas of the city were unkempt and needed improvements.
“I’m a little disappointed at the corner of Navarre Avenue and Wheeling Street, right across from St. Charles Hospital,” Councilman Mike Sheehy said of the city owned property. The city in the past improved the small area with a mound and plantings, but it has not been kept up. “I think we can do much better. We do have water there.”
Public Service Director Paul Roman said an irrigation system has been installed to maintain mounding on the property.
“They haven’t been using the sprinklers, I know, said Mayor Mike Seferian.
“Obviously,” said Sheehy. “I think we can green that corner up and make it look a lot better. It’s Oregon water. Let’s use it. We can make that corner look a lot better.”
In the past, the city considered a Maumee Bay theme or other form of landscaping at the site.
“We put in mounding and plantings, and irrigation for those things. But we didn’t put irrigation in everywhere because we thought there would be other improvements added,” Roman said after the meeting. “We’re going to try and make sure we improve the grass, keep it mowed and keep it looking good.”
Councilman Sandy Bihn also brought up the unsightly appearance of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) right of way at the I-280 exit ramp on Navarre Avenue.
“It’s getting awful, said Bihn. “It’s pretty weedy and unkempt. Who is supposed to take care of that? Is the city supposed to be doing something or ODOT? Let’s get it done right. It was good for a while, and now it’s going backwards again. For a while, in the spring, it looked wonderful. So many people come into our community and that’s their first impression. It could be improved.”
The city received a grant from ODOT to install landscape mounding at the site, which has been completed. The city also received a Navarre Avenue beautification grant to install a “Welcome to Oregon” sign in the same location, with lighting and irrigation.
“That money won’t be received until 2014,” Roman said of the beautification grant. “It is state funding, and there is a question of whether or not it will be available.”
The city is responsible for maintaining the site, he said.
“We will do a better job of that,” he said.
Councilman James Seaman called the project “very admirable,” but noted that trees and other plantings are obscuring a nearby lumber company.
“It’s a good project, but we need balance there,” said Seaman. “The person who took over 84 Lumber is very concerned about the absolute blockage of the vision of his business. It’s like covering his business up and it bothers him very much. He’s not complaining because he wants to do everything to get along with the city. But when people get off of there, he had a view of that place, and now it’s being covered. It’s just one person, you might say, but he’s an Oregon resident, it’s an Oregon business. You know how it is - any business wants to be seen. So it’s a very big concern for him. Beautifying is important, too. All I’m saying is there’s a balance that’s needed because he’s just being blocked out completely.”
“Cleaning up the area will do nothing but enhance his business,” said Council President Tom Susor.
“But massive amounts of trees are there,” said Seaman.
“Trim them up and make them look neat,” said Susor.
“But as those trees get mature, it’s tough to deal with and tough for the city to keep up with that,” said Seaman.
“You’re not fostering tearing the trees down, are you?” asked Susor.
“I’m just saying not to plant anymore,” said Seaman.
“I don’t think anyone is looking at adding anything, they just want to clean up what’s there, cut the grass, trim - like you do around your house,” said Susor.
“I’m just saying you have to balance the positive appearance with visibility,” said Seaman.
On another matter, Susor asked about upgrading the signage at the municipal complex on Seaman Road.
“Have we made any headway to the signage out front?”
“We’re taking a look at that and making some changes to it,” said Administrator Mike Beazley.
“We definitely want to improve it, that’s for sure. No matter what we do, we’ll draft it up and share it with council,” said Roman.
“Are we trimming and cleaning up at all?” asked Susor.
“That’s what we also need to take a look at,” said Roman.
“It’s in pretty sad shape, guys,” said Susor.
“We actually had a plan last year to totally revamp that,” said Seferian. “But with the money situation, we decided to just kind of ride with it. It could be better, but it’s not terrible. It can get cleaned up.”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” said Susor.
“Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder,” said Roman. “I do put public safety first and aesthetics second. I think that’s something we’re very careful about - how we spend money. That ‘doesn’t mean we can’t try and improve things where we can.”