New Sign In Works

MINSTER — On Tuesday, Minster Village Councilors agreed to craft an ordinance for a four-way stop at the intersection of Garfield and Third streets.

Minster Village Administrator Don Harrod said during a recent traffic survey, 342 cars passed through the intersection in a four-hour period on a Thursday morning.

“So there’s a lot of traffic down through there,” Harrod said.

Despite the amount of traffic, Harrod said the intersection does not meet the requirements for the uniformed traffic control code that the state of Ohio follows to determine the need for a four-way traffic stop.

However, Harrod said that would not prevent the village from taking action. Councilors also realized residents may not like the idea of having to stop at an additional stop sign.

“Me personally, I hate to have to put a stop sign there. People don’t like stop signs,” Councilor Steve Kitzmiller said. “Then on the other hand, it’s warranted when you look at it — more than warranted.”

The first of three ordinances regarding this four-way stop will be read at the next council meeting on Sept. 20. Before the start of the meeting, councilors were given a tour of the new waste water treatment plant.

“That was impressive — very, very neat,” Kitzmiller.

Also before the council meeting, a public hearing was held on the potential vacation of the alley located to the east of St. Augustine Church and the former Minster Elementary School building.

Most of the citizens who voiced their opinions were people who live near the alley.

One of the problems with the alley is that it wraps around one person’s garage. That person’s garage blocks the right-of-way in the alley.

“One of the options the council has is to narrow the alley,” Harrod said. “You narrow it whatever width you want as long as you can still have access through there. The right-of-way right now is an existing 16 feet. So if you would look to narrow it four foot, which would take care of the (garage)  … that would still allow 12 feet of right-of-way access.”

Following the public hearing, councilors had their own discussion about the proposed alley vacation.

Harrod said St. Augustine Church’s the Rev. Rick Nieberding had some concerns about the alley being opened as a public street because, despite the closure of the elementary building, there will still be children near the alley who are participating in church activities.

“The school won’t be using it for anything that is scheduled. People may rent out the gym,” Minster Superintendent Brenda Boeke said. “I know that the religious program does … so that would be the only concern, that kids may be using the building.”

Harrod said that Nieberding was also concerned for the safety of senior citizens who would be driving down the alley, which contains blind spots near the elementary building.

Councilor Rick Schwartz suggested a trial opening of the alley should take place next year during the second phase of the Fourth Street Construction Project.

“The street in front of the post office is like the street in front of (the) Eagles,” Schwartz said. “Next year, somebody’s going to need extra access. Opening that alley may be the right thing to do on a trial basis.”

Kitzmiller agreed the trial basis may be a good idea. Councilor Nicole Clune was adamant that if the alley is eventually opened, the word of this must be publicized. She also said that street lines should be painted on the alley.

“I’m very concerned about the change when kids that are used to running through there (and) people are used to walking through there won’t be able to do that anymore and they’re not expecting that,” Clune said.

They alley has been closed as a public road since 1998, but it is open every year during Oktoberfest.

In his administrator’s report, Harrod said Tumbusch Construction recently finished work on the canal between Fourth and Fifth streets.

Harrod said that the parks department has started closing the pool and preparing it for winter, noting that a new set of steps will be installed for the high dive and that several sections of concrete decking will be replaced.

Harrod also mentioned he was recently approached about making the town’s recycling plant a 24-hour drop-off location, similar to that in New Bremen. Currently, recycling can only be dropped off at the Minster recycling plant on Saturday mornings.

“I like the idea of 24-hour recycling,” Kitzmiller said, noting he has things to recycle in his garage, but puts them down in his basement if he can’t make it to the recycling plant on Saturday morning.

The councilors also approved $775,134.05 in invoices.

The next Minster Village Council meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20.’