A contract for a new wetland in Defiance has been approved by city council.

A related ordinance was one of five legislative items handled by council, and clears the way for construction of a wetland on East River Drive, just west of Domersville Road, on the north bank of the Maumee River.

Council also received a brief update on the city administration’s efforts to repurpose the former 1918 school building on Arabella Street in downtown Defiance (see related story).

The aforementioned ordinance authorizes a contract with Biohabitats, Inc., Cleveland, to design the wetland on East River Drive, just south of Kettenring Hills Subdivision.

According to the ordinance, Biohabitats will be paid a fee of $220,255.41 for “successful design and preconstruction services.”

But this is only one aspect of the project. Later, Biohabitats will build the wetland after an additional contract is extended.

Funding for the project is being provided by an Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) grant through the H2Ohio program aimed at improving water quality in the Lake Erie watershed. The grant totals $1,554,797.According to Finance Director John Lehner, the project is expected to get underway in 2022, but won’t be completed until 2023.

Last year, council approved legislation allowing the expenditure of $222,700 for the property’s purchase. According to a previous ordinance passed by council concerning the ODNR grant, up to $250,000 of the money was to be used to purchase 40.146 acres from property owner Daniel Hefflinger of Liberty Center.

That ordinance stated that the wetland would be bounded by East River Drive, Domersville Road, Heatherdowns Drive and Burning Tree Drive.

The agreement had noted that $1,279,797 of the grant would be used to “restore the property in a manner consistent with Exhibit A.” An “environmental deed restriction” added that when “restored” to a wetland, the property “shall be maintained, in perpetuity, in a condition consistent with Exhibit A.”

“Exhibit A” describes the project’s scope of work as well as the property, and requires the city to follow a number of stipulations.

In other legislative business Tuesday, council:

• passed an ordinance allowing the purchase of 450 tons of rock salt from Morton Salt, Inc. The cost is $31,117.50. This is part of an existing contract with Morton and represents a second delivery, according to Lehner.

• approved an ordinance amending an ordinance concerning application for a state grant to assist with the purchase of playground equipment for Kingsbury Park. The change was needed due to a clerical error noting the correct grant amount as $49,839 instead of $48,839 which appeared in the earlier ordinance approved by council. Lehner said the state wanted the correct amount on the legislation approved by council.

• passed an ordinance authorizing monthly transfers of $550,597 among various city funds from January-September. Lehner said transfers in October, November and December will be added later in separate ordinances in case changes in the amounts are needed. The largest monthly amount from January-September is $347,250 from the general fund to the police and fire fund, which also relies on a dedicated 0.3% income tax portion approved some years ago by city voters.

• let lie an ordinance vacating public right-of-way between lots 21 and 22 of the North Defiance Addition. This concerns an undeveloped “paper alley” — so-called because it appears on a document but does not actually exist — on West High Street near the railroad crossing there. Mayor Mike McCann told council the city’s planning commission unanimously recommended the alley vacation during a recent meeting. He said no utilities will be impacted.

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