Jul. 3—NORWALK — With the Fourth of July Parade and fireworks still fresh in everybody's minds, Norwalk Mayor Dave Light said bigger and better things are ahead for the city.
Big projects have been in the works — some of them for years — and many are ready to see the light of day.
"On the north side by Bob Evans they are putting in the signal pole foundations today," Light said on July 1. "At the same intersection, Smith Paving is improving the right turn lanes ... widening the west approach."
Public Works Director Aaron Osborn said the right turn lane heading north on U.S. 250 will be about 100 feet long, beginning just shy of the Tractor Supply Co. north driveway. Heading south on U.S. 250, the approach to Modern Builders and Taco Bell will be widened.
"It will be a regular intersection. That center lane will be turned into a left-turn lane," Osborn said.
When will all of the work be done on the intersection?
"Best-case scenario I would say maybe the end of October," Light said.
Work has been completed on the Parsons Street and Grove Ave. intersection water main.
"Those two spots were problem areas with main breaks," Osborn said.
Moving uptown, there is a lot of work going on in and around Suhr Family Park.
"The splash pad is ready for inspection," Light said. "As soon as the inspection is done, D.L. Smith will pour the concrete. He is donating a lot of his work. He has been fantastic to work with. The infrastructure is is. All of it is coming together."
The splash pad is the work of Restore Norwalk.
"They raised all of the money for it," Light said. "The last I heard it was $70,000. We reduced the size of it. I told them earlier this year if they wanted it done this year they would need to downsize it. We wanted to save some of the green space in the park still."
"It is not a high splash pad," he added. "It is 30 by 30 (feet), with the interior 20 by 20 where the kids will play. The cement pad around the interior will be for chairs. It will be a very nice addition to the park."
Light also said the city is working to get permission to paint a mural on the side of the Frontier building, but that's "still in the early stages."
"Suhr (the splash pad) will be free for the whole community," Light said. "It will all fit in with the restrooms and Berry's reopening. This is something that fits in. We have Westcott's Shaved Ice down there doing really well, and then we also have the markets in the park."
Work is also coming along on the public restrooms at Suhr Family Park.
"They are setting the forms (on July 1) for the foundation and the inspection will be the same day as well," Light said. "They will pour the concrete today for the base. The crane to set the building will come in the next two weeks.
"John Lendrum and Jeff Malcom (of Norwalk Concrete Industries) have really, really helped us out with the price of those restrooms," he added. "I would venture to say with the way prices have gone up with COVID, they probably lost money on the deal."
Light talked about Berry's Restaurant, which has been closed for a couple of years.
Will it be open before Christmas?
"I am told yes," Light said. "One of the things holding them was the outcome of the lawsuit (with the former owner). Once that was settled a few weeks ago, that gave the family some direction. They can move forward at a much faster speed. They are moving forward at a good speed, and the Dinky still has liquor license and will reopen as a bar."
Light also talked about all of the beautiful flowers uptown. The Master Gardeners along with Brian Krupp and other part-time workers from General Services worked together.
"I think there are more flowers and brighter than ever," Light said. "We have some very unique businesses down here. And everybody is excited about the Painted Cowgirl."
The Western store on E. Main St. had a soft store opening on July 1, and will have its grand opening on July 8.
Owner Amy Bond was was on hand to greet customers at the new store.
"The work they have done inside of that placed is amazing," Light said. "Everything is coming together at one time."
The Mayor also noted the recent success of the Paul Brown Birthplace Committee, which recently received a grant from the Ohio History Connection for $3,585. The cost will be used to erect a historical marker noting the city as the football pioneer's birthplace, also in front of Suhr Park on West Main St.
Also in the works is the new amphitheater at Veteran's Memorial Lake Park at the Norwalk Reservoir.
"Just waiting for the paper work and grant money to come through," Light said. "You will see them out in the fall pushing back some brush and moving trees ... preliminary work our city crews are doing. Then we will put it out to bid.
"It will be like an amphitheater kit. All of the blueprints are approved. We will get that into the fall and next spring we should see the amphitheater."
The amphitheater will be located in the back of the reservoir, facing the restrooms with the playground, water and canoes behind it.