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Gambier Mayor Looks to Finish Park, Conserve Water

By Erin Mershon

Gambier Mayor Kirk Emmert will lead a series of initiatives in the Village to improve water loss, sidewalks and the waste-water system this year. The Village will also work to complete a new park near the Community Center.

Water loss was a major issue for the Village in 2011. The village lost a quarterly average of 36 percent of its water last year, compared with only 22 percent in 2010. The Village detected and repaired nine leaks over the course of the year, and loss fell considerably by the end of 2011.

“The level of water loss we experienced this year was simply unacceptable,” Emmert said in a report to the Gambier Village Council. He also said that minimizing loss is his first priority in 2012.

To keep loss low, Emmert plans to closely monitor the levels of water usage in the Village. Should those efforts fail to detect leaks, the Village will call in outside detectors with more sophisticated equipment.

Emmert’s second priority for Gambier is to connect sidewalks. There are plans to build a sidewalk on Acland St. from Brooklyn St. to Wiggin St. and to build another on Brooklyn St. from the fire station to E. Woodside St., though the Village may not have funds to complete both projects.

Construction will also continue this year on Gambier’s Community Center Park. The project began last year with the paving of a trail, landscaping and the installation of signs and a crosswalk. The Village also paved two paths from the trail, first to the entrance of the dog park and second to the Meadow Lane entrance to the Community Center.

Though the Village had planned to pave a parking lot for the park last fall, it will not do so until this spring.

“We found out we needed to do a study of [the water loss], and by that time it was too late to get started before winter,” Emmert said. “Maybe it’s going to be better because we’ve waited. We have some new ideas about what we can do.”

This summer, the Village will eliminate one of its three baseball fields to make room for a regulation-size soccer field. The Village also hopes to relocate the children’s playground and purchase new equipment, and the Parks Committee is developing a campaign for donations to that end.

Emmert said he is optimistic that 2012 will match 2011’s success for Gambier. The Village’s finances are in good shape, especially since the weather this winter has required less salt and plowing. Despite the recession, the Village was able to grant its employees a 3 percent raise in 2011, and the Village did not have to reduce spending significantly due to insufficient funds.

Emmert is most proud of the efforts of the Woodside Project, which combined repaving, altering storm water diversion and installing a new sidewalk between Allan Drive and Brooklyn St. on E. Woodside Rd. Residents said the work made the road safer, cleaner and more visually appealing, according to Emmert’s report to the Village Council.

“It was a fairly big project for us, and I think it came out very well,” Emmert said. “It was something that needed to be done, and it came out about as well as it could. Most of the people who live around the road are very pleased with it.”

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