Hiram – At the next council meeting on April 12th, council will discuss proposed funding for sidewalk repairs and improvements. Council is currently considering amending an ordinance to the sidewalk code. In the proposed amendment, the village would pay a portion of the cost, while residents would be required to pay the balance, up to 50% of the total cost. Residents are encouraged to attend this meeting.

In other news, Village Administrator James McGee reported that a new sketch of the proposed Municipal Building expansion was made, based on input from the Police and Fire Departments as well as Councilman Dave Smith. Among the modifications, the new sketch reflects an addition of man doors, modifications to the former mezzanine area, and additional drainage. Mr. McGee is currently requesting estimates for the changes, and will present project information to the Finance Committee for consideration.

Next, Mr. McGee reported that the sewer project, which Village Engineer CT Consultants are managing, is due to start in late April with an estimated completion date in June. If all goes well, the Hike and Bike Trail project will begin in April, as well, as long as several trees are removed prior to the April 1st deadline provided by the EPA. If the trees aren’t removed in spring, the project start date will be moved to after September 1st to accommodate a bat colony-nesting site. In related news, council approved a resolution entering into an agreement to acquire a parcel of property from Ohio Edison, and to grant Ohio Edison an easement on the same property, which is part of the proposed trail. Mr. McGee is working to procure the deeds from Hiram College for the parcels of college-owned land that is also part of the trail.

In his report, Fire Chief Bill Byers shared that his department responded to 36 calls in the month of February. Chief Byers also mentioned a potential grant opportunity to update and consolidate communications among five localities: Hiram, Ravenna Township and City, Garrettsville and Community EMS. Council approved the chief’s actions to move forward with the grant application, which is valued at $100,000. If received, the grant would provide new mobile and base radios and communications equipment, and consolidate communications between the five communities and the rest of the county. “It’s an important grant,” Chief Byers stated. “The upgrade will make it easier to communicate, regardless of where dispatching occurs,” he concluded. In related news, council approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with Hiram College to provide Police, Fire and EMS services to the school.

In his Police report, Chief Ed Samec shared that his department has received a grant of $32,788 from the Ohio Local Government Safety Capital Grant. These funds will be used for the purchase of a police cruiser. Chief Samec received council’s approval to apply for funds for the ‘Shop with a Cop’ program from the Hiram Trust, as well. In similar news, the chief reported that several officers received training in ALICE active shooter response, Crime Victims’ Rights, and Building Searches, which was a Department-Wide training program. Chief Samec announced that his department would once again be holding their annual pancake breakfast fundraiser, which benefits their ‘Shop with a Cop’ program. This year, the breakfast will be held on Saturday, April 9th from 9 am until 1 pm at the Dix Dining Room in the Kennedy Center at Hiram College.

Lastly, Chris Szell, on behalf of the Park Board, shared that the village has received a $2,200 Nature Works grant that will be used for development of the School Park. Matching funds for the grant were supplied through in-kind labor.

The next village council meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 12th at 7 pm. The Beautification Commission will meet on Thursday, April 28th at 8:30 am.