On Monday night, the Gambier Village Council met to discuss traffic and speeding concerns, the impact of food trucks on local commerce and plans for the upcoming Gambier Village Lights event.
The meeting was first open for Gambier residents to express their general questions and concerns. One resident was upset with the lack of action the Village has taken to address speeding, specifically near Wiggin Street Elementary. To emphasize how fast they perceived cars to be traveling, the resident said, “If they had wings, they’d fly.” Council member Alison Furlong pointed to data from a temporary meter put up by the Village, which clocked one vehicle going 52 mph. The resident claimed that many people who drop their kids off at the school are not Gambier residents and do not care about the Village. The same resident requested that speed cameras be put up to capture offenders’ license plates. However, the Council responded that this would not be possible, as it is illegal in Ohio to issue traffic law violations from cameras without an officer present.
In addition, the resident requested that more deputies be stationed at the elementary school, but the Council said that the Sheriff’s department is currently short staffed. However, Mayor Leeman Kessler ’04 noted that a new deputy is currently in training and should be ready to work by the start of 2024. According to Village Administrator R.C. Wise, the Village has already approved the implementation of new speed bumps and raised crosswalks to address the speeding problem. Wise added that construction of these safety measures should be complete within the next few weeks.
The same resident complained of cars idling in pick-up and drop-off lines at the elementary school, citing worries about the carbon dioxide the cars produce. The problem was significant enough that one morning, Kessler knocked on car windows to tell parents to stop idling their vehicles. “There has to be some solution,” the resident said. He proposed a few possibilities, such as requiring elementary students be dropped off farther down the street. Although the Council reached the consensus that there are few short-term solutions to the idling problem, council member Kaitlin Sockman says traffic and idling on East Brooklyn Street is an ongoing conversation for Gambier residents.
The discussion of food trucks and their impact on the Village resurfaced this month, as council member Rakia Faber suggested that revising the food truck ordinance may resolve recent concerns from residents. The main complaints regarding the trucks surrounded the noise of the generators, the brightness of the lights, the smell of the food and the impact on local businesses such as The Village Market. The Council discussed potential solutions such as raising the fee for trucks, as well as making sure trucks are in compliance with the Village’s noise and light ordinances. In response to concerns about the local economy, council member Liz Forman voiced her support for local businesses, but also stated her belief that a variety of food options for residents is generally a good thing. Faber also commented that banning food trucks is a poor idea, arguing that they have done more good than bad for the community.
Toward the end of the meeting, Sockman updated the Council on plans for the Gambier Village Lights event, which is scheduled for Dec. 3. The Council voted to close Gaskin Avenue for the entire day in order to set up for the show. Hot chocolate and kettle corn will be served and live music will be played.
The next Village Council meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 4.