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Legislation continuing efforts to transform Defiance’s downtown alleys into pedestrian walkways was approved by city council Tuesday night.

A related ordinance was one of two handled by council during its regular meeting. But an item not on the agenda — sidewalk improvements — was again a topic of considerable discussion (see related story on page A2).

According to the first ordinance approved by council Tuesday, J&N Builders, Defiance, will be employed at a cost of $25,064.10 for the downtown improvements.

These will include extending curbs and stamped concrete in four Clinton Street locations — one each in the 200 and 400 blocks, and two in the 300 block — thus blocking vehicular traffic from entering the alleys. Some time ago, the city installed small black posts in the four alleys.

An additional parking space will be added in each location. Resident Ron Posey, 1917 Darbyshire Drive, suggested that each space be used for handicap accessible parking.

The project is part of the city’s initiative in recent years to increase pedestrian walking opportunities in the downtown.

The ordinance contains an emergency clause, meaning it becomes law upon the mayor’s signature rather than after the regular 30-day waiting period.

Also Tuesday, council approved an emergency ordinance allowing payment of $15,100 to the Ohio EPA (OEPA) for a permit to install a new ultraviolet light treatment system at the city’s wastewater plant on Ohio 281.

Once installed, the system will treat the plant’s effluent, which is then discharged into the Maumee River. It will replace a chlorine treatment system, which is deemed more dangerous by city officials.

Council approved legislation last week allowing the administration to apply for a loan of $3.5 million from OEPA for the new system.

In another matter, Defiance Community Cultural Council (DCCC) executive director Roger Fisher provided an update on his organizations activities and projects.

Among other things, Fisher noted that DCCC is working on securing bids to make the basement in the Stroede Center for the Arts, 319 Wayne Ave., handicap accessible. Too, the organization is planning to upgrade equipment and computers, and improve the outside of the building with tuckpointing.

DCCC has a performance series planned in 2019-20 consisting of more than 30 events. More information can be obtained by calling 419-784-3401 or visiting the website www.defiancearts.org.

Fisher thanked council and the administration for its support.

DCCC activities, which include the recording and televising of council meetings on DCTV channel 5, are funded with cable TV franchise fees.

In other business:

• council unanimously approved a motion directing Law Director Sean O’Donnell to draw up an ordinance allowing the city to lease vehicles from Enterprise Fleet Management. An Enterprise representative made a presentation to council on May 28, proposing that the city replace 53 vehicles it owns with new vehicles leased through the company.

• council discussed raising the threshold for expenditures requiring legislative approval from $15,000. No decisions were made with councilmen offering mixed views on the idea.

• At-large Councilman Steve Waxler asked the administration about addressing the poor condition of a property at 1021 Wilhelm St. as well as a trailer on Rulf Street. Mayor Mike McCann said something is “in the works” with the Wilhelm Street property, while McCann said the city had tried to receive demolition funds through a county program for the Rulf Street trailer, but was turned down.

• Waxler commented on the Maumee Valley Car Club’s Cruise-in held downtown on Friday. The event was moved from Pontiac Park due to the Clinton Street bridge project. Waxler called it a “very nice event.” Another cruise-in is scheduled for July 5.

• Ward 3 Councilman Dave Plant remarked that the Ohio Chautauqua presentation — held June 4-8 in the Defiance Public Library — was a “great event” and also made mention of the Ohio Women’s Open golf tournament held Monday and Tuesday at Eagle Rock Golf Club.

• resident Joshua Earl, 103 Timothy St., suggested that the city use drone technology to take an inventory of the condition of its streets. Leonard said the city now has two licensed drone operators.

• At-large Councilman Jill Krutsch noted that the first Music in the Parks event (held Thursday) was “very well attended.”

• Ward 2 Councilman John Hancock requested a streets and sidewalks committee meeting during council’s regular session at 7 p.m. July 9.

• City Administrator Jeff Leonard informed council that contract negotiations have begun with the city’s AFSCME union. The old contract expires July 31, he said.

• council met in executive session to discuss pending litigation.

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