Osborn Avenue bridge set to reopen Dec. 15

The Osborn Avenue bridge over the Blanchard River near Riverside Park is scheduled to reopen Dec. 15, Hancock County Engineer Chris Long told the county commissioners during the board’s regular meeting today.

The bridge has been closed for months as crews have worked on replacement of the structure near the park in Findlay. The new bridge will be a 252-foot structure and will include sight improvements for motorists at the bridge approaches. The county will pay more than $106,000 and the state will pay more than $2 million.

In September 2016, a truck accident forced the closure of the portion of East Main Cross Street beneath the bridge.

As a result, the underpass was permanently closed.

The weight limit on the bridge was reduced to 15 tons at the same time as a precaution.

The bridge, which is maintained by the county, was scheduled to be replaced this year. The underpass was scheduled to be closed permanently following the completion of the new bridge, but the closure was moved up following the accident.

Separately, Tim Schulte, of Schulte Put-Han Farm Operations LLC, Ottawa, was the high bidder to lease about 190 acres on Hancock County 140 behind various county buildings. The three-year lease will provide about $33,250 annually for the county. Payment will be made in three installments.

Schulte submitted an initial bid of $150 per acre and the only other bidder was Kevin Keefe, of Five Star Farms, Fostoria, with an initial bid of $152.50 per acre.

After the initial bids were made public, the two sides went back-and-forth with bids until Schulte’s final amount. The previous three-year contract was for $270 per acre, Commissioner Brian Robertson said.

Additionally:

  • A resolution for refinancing of bonds for Bluffton hospital, part of Blanchard Valley Health System, was approved by Hancock County commissioners.

    Assistant County Prosecutor Cindy Land said the original bonds approved years ago were for $122 million for renovations/expansion of the hospital. Now, the refinance amount is for $108 million and will be an agreement with the village of Bluffton, not the county.

  • Work continues on the probate/juvenile court building, Commissioner Tim Bechtol said, with the lobby area being shifted so work can be done in the building entrance. The back stairway is reconstructed, but lacks handrails.
  • The 2018 county budget will be available for public review in the county auditor’s office in the courthouse beginning Thursday. The commissioners are expected to discuss and take action on the annual document at the board’s regular meeting Dec. 21.
  • Bids are being reviewed for interior painting of the public areas of the county courthouse, Bechtol said, excluding the offices.
  • Robertson said bids are also being reviewed for the material baler to be installed at Litter Landing.


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