By JIM MAURER
CAREY — One major project will continue and a second one will get started in Carey this year with construction of a medical clinic and the upgrade of the village’s wastewater treatment plant.
A long-discussed automated meter reading installation was approved by Village Council and will move ahead this year, too.
Blanchard Valley Health System is constructing a medical center to replace a building it owns on West South Street.
Groundbreaking was held in June and work continues. The new Carey Medical Center will feature a 15,800-square-foot building near the U.S. 23 interchange.
The estimated $7 million project is expected to be open this year. It will replace a 1,600-square-foot office the health system owns on West South Street. Plans for the existing building have not been made public.
Carey natives Dr. Troy Puckett, and his brother, Robert, will serve the medical center, along with nurse practitioner Alyson Kinley and a second nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
The center also will offer X-ray, imaging and laboratory services.
The health system plans to have specialists available for more regular visits to Carey. Cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, pain management and urology are among the specialties being considered for visits at the site.
It’s the first building in a planned multi-use development.
Groundbreaking is expected in early spring for construction of a Casey’s General Store. The Iowa-based company plans an 8-12 pump gas station/convenience store. The company has a store in Ottawa and a planned store in Findlay.
Bids for the estimated $11 million upgrade of the Carey wastewater treatment plant were opened earlier this month and work will begin this spring. It will take up to two years to complete.
Design work was done by Jones and Henry, a Toledo engineering company. The work will meet state Environmental Protection Agency mandates for wastewater.
Some of the equipment to be replaced was installed in the 1980s.
The upgrade will allow the plant to handle increased flows from sanitary sewers and storm sewers during wet weather.
Another sanitary sewer project is underway with replacement of the South Vance Street lift station in the area of the planned medical clinic.
In September, council approved B Hill’z Construction, Wayne, to replace the lift station. The company’s bid of about $278,000 was the lowest of four bids received.
Separately, Van Horn Hoover and Associates, a Findlay company, is designing a storm water drainage project to reduce flooding in the downtown area during heavy rains.
The work will include West South Street, where a sinkhole was repaired last year and a fence was installed; the West Street bridge area; behind John Carey Park; and East Findlay Street to Carey Senior Depot.
The work will be done as a whole or as separate projects depending on cost and available funds. No cost estimate has been made public.
The development of Arrowhead Commerce Park continues.
Hanon Systems, an automotive parts manufacturer in its second year of production, is expanding its building and plans to add additional equipment and 240 jobs.
There are about 140 workers at the heating/ventilating and air conditioning supplier.
Village Council approved the purchase and installation of an automated meter information system, which involves replacing electric and water meters throughout the village.
American Municipal Power was awarded the contract for $895,000. The village was approved for a $950,000 loan, which will cover contingency expenses.
About half the cost is for replacement of about 1,925 electric and 1,450 water meters. The new electric meters will have a computer chip which will read the water meter at each address, too. The information will be sent to the utility office for bill preparation.
The system will save employees time, as they will not walk the village to read the meters and will not prepare bills by hand. As a result, employees will be available for other tasks.
The projected labor cost savings is $150,000-$160,000 annually for the two departments. The savings will be used to pay for the system, the administration has said.
Safe Routes to School
Carey has been awarded a $306,000 “Safe Routes to School” grant, through the Ohio Department of Transportation, and work will continue into 2020.
The project will include road, sidewalk, sign and lighting improvements near the school.
The village will do some “pre-grant” construction work with the extension of Crabapple Drive and construction of a portion of a drive through Memorial Park with curbs and gutters. The work is being done in cooperation with the village schools.
Work will continue in 2020 on a multi-use path being constructed along Memorial Park Boulevard to the school parking lot, estimated at $131,779; lighting for the boulevard and the path, estimated at $85,798; connecting the sidewalk along the east side of Glenn Avenue to East South Street with a new sidewalk and curb, estimated at $39,878; connecting the west and east sections of Crabapple Drive with a new sidewalk, estimated at $13,600; signs, pavement marking and curb ramps at four intersections along South Vance Street, estimated at $35,166.
Another portion of the project was not funded by the state grant: extension of a sidewalk south of Memorial Park Boulevard to nearby streets, estimated at $167,573.
The school district has been told it can seek additional funds through the grant program in the future.
Village Council approved placing two barricades in a portion of the park to keep traffic from traveling the entire length of the narrow drive, and to improve safety for students walking to the school.
Council on several occasions has heard from residents upset with the road closure, which requires motorists to exit the park by turning around in parking lots at each end of the barricades.
Council has suggested removing the road in the closed section and planting grass to increase available play space.
Discussions continue, but council decided to wait and see what concerns may develop during increased park activities in the spring and summer.
The village’s voluntary curbside recycling program grew in 2018 for the first time in four years with more than 352,000 pounds of recyclables collected last year.
In 2017, more than 324,000 pounds of recyclables were collected.
In November, the village also had a drop-off trailer located on village-owned property behind the library.
Residents recycled an additional 11,335 pounds at the site, for a 2018 total of more than 363,000 pounds. Village personnel then delivered the trailer’s contents to the county recycling center.