Tipp City changes mind about pedestrian bridge over I-75

Credit: Cosette Gunter

Credit: Cosette Gunter

Council removes previously supported project near high school from spending plans

TIPP CITY — Members of Tipp City Council agree the city has a lot of needs, some of them with expensive price tags.

But one of those needs, they said, is not the pedestrian bridge that was proposed in the city’s 10-year capital improvement program for construction over Interstate 75.

Council members made that clear during the annual capital improvements budget review Sept. 26 and ended up asking city administrators to remove the project from the plan.

The 10-year plan was compiled by city staff and recommended by a citizens review committee before city voters were asked to OK funding for the plan in November 2020. The request was approved. The overall plan calls for nearly $32 million in projects over a 10-year period.

The pedestrian bridge proposal called for a bridge to connect the residential areas to the west of the I-75 to the area near Tippecanoe High School to the east.

The plan included a proposed $300,000 for project design followed by an estimated $3 million for construction.

Explore2020 story: Tipp City mulls how to pay for capital improvements

The plan also contained a notation that this bridge “was not an essential project,” but city staff believed it was a good project and would improve connectivity for bike riders and pedestrians.

The city intent was to apply for grants, possibly through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Ohio Department of Transportation, to help pay for the cost.

Council President Kathryn Huffman questioned having the pedestrian bridge in the plan, even if it wouldn’t be for a few years.

Huffman said the council has made the uptown area around the interstate and West Main Street a priority and is taking a close look at all spending.

“I think there are other ways we could spend our money,” Huffman said.

Others, including Mayor Mike McFarland, agreed.

“In the environment we are in, speaking for myself, this sounds like a project that doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Councilman Robert Schwab.

The bridge was targeted to extend from County Road 25A in the area of Knickerbocker Pools across I-75 to Donn Davis Way near the high school.

The city has received calls about safety of pedestrians and bicyclists along 25A, where there is a small span of bike lane near and over the interstate bridge, said Eric Mack, municipal services director.

City Manager Tim Eggleston reminded council the citizens’ committee supported the proposed project,. He said it could provide a safer route for those living west of the interstate and give people access to the high school and encourage them to go into the city, including its downtown.

Among major projects in the proposed capital budget is replacing the city’s automatic meter reading/advanced metering infrastructure system, commonly referred to as AMR/AMI. The system for water and electric meters was installed in 2011.

Because of issues with existing meters, lack of service and other issues, the city again has people who have to physically go out and read meters, said John Green, city finance director. The estimated cost of a new system is around $2 million.

The city continues to budget around $750,000 a year from the capital program for paving. New for 2023 will be $100,000 for a new alley maintenance program, Mack said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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