The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 1, 2013

Lots of big projects ahead in Conneaut

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT —  From slipping soil to a crumbling sewer, a handful of big-ticket capital improvement projects are on the docket for Conneaut in 2013, says City Manager Tim Eggleston.

Many of the upgrades have been in the works for months as administrators arranged and finalize government loans and funding, and will become a reality this year.  Two in particular have awaited attention for a few years: Replacement of the Chestnut Street aerial sewer line near Lake Road and a portion of Keefus Road weakened by erosion. Bids for both projects will be posted in the coming weeks, and construction should start this year, Eggleston said in a report.

The aerial sewer gets its name from the lofty perch it occupies along Chestnut as it approaches Lake Erie. The pipe sits atop pillars more than 30 feet tall and decades old.

The Keefus project, meanwhile, is designed to shore up a section of Keefus damaged after severe weather weakened a soil embankment that supports the road. Experts that have examined the site believe a technique called soil nailing — the insertion of rods into the earth to help stabilize the area — is the solution. A company that plans to bid on the Keefus project will also provide a quote to do the same work on Burrington Heights, where the Lake Erie bank has come within inches of the edge of the road.

Meanwhile, energy-efficiency upgrades at city-owned buildings begun last year are nearing completion, Eggleston said. Lighting and insulation improvements at City Hall and other municipal buildings are nearly complete, he said in a report. New boilers at City Hall, as well as digital controls, are also part of the program.

Johnson Control, a mechanical engineering firm, is doing the energy overhaul. The company guarantees the city will save more than $1 million on its energy bills over 15 years.

Energy work at City Hall also has a hand in a landscaping project set to start this year, Eggleston said. Tweaks in piping to accommodate the new boilers prompted plans to give the exterior a new look, he said. Shrubs that obscure windows will be removed, improving security, Eggleston said. Memorial trees planted on the property will be retained if possible, but could be replaced with more “appropriate” vegetation, he said.

A satellite dish on the southeast corner of the site, no longer needed, will be removed and the spot planted with grass. Plant work will be done has money allows, Eggleston said.