Council to discuss Baines Park shelter replacement, third taxicab franchise

Cary Ashby • Apr 11, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Norwalk City Council, during tonight’s work session, will hear proposed legislation about a grant to replace the Baines Park shelter and for the city to have its third taxicab franchise.

Before council is a resolution for the mayor to authorize a NatureWorks grant agreement with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the Baines Park shelter replacement project. The grant is worth $18,586.48. 

Joe Lindenberger, superintendent of the city parks and recreation department, said it’s a 75-percent ODNR grant and the remaining 25 percent from Norwalk covers the labor for the installation.

“We applied for the ODNR grant last year, but we did not get it,” he said.

“It’s one of the biggest needs in the park system,” added Lindenberger, noting the shelter is “a bit undersized,” is heavily used and “leaning a bit.”

The project includes several components: Replacing the shelter with a slightly larger one, creating a handicapped-accessible sidewalk to run from the structure to the parking lot and adding a wheelchair-accessible picnic table. Lindenberger estimates the new shelter would be “maybe 20 percent larger” than the current one.

“The shelter is original from when the park was built in the 1980s,” he added.

Also before council tonight will be an ordinance to grant a taxicab franchise to the second version of Tijuana Taxi, LLC. The original incarnation, owned by Norwalk resident Ishmael Martinez, operated from February 2009 through August 2016.

Martinez’s brother-in-law, Francisco Carrillo, of Norwalk, will be the new owner.

“He wanted to retire. I want to keep him in as a partner,” Carrillo said, referring to Martinez. 

Currently, Carrillo has one vehicle in the fleet. But if council approves his business, he said he wants to use the three vehicles used by his brother-in-law for a total of four taxis.

In the future, Carrillo envisions Tijuana Taxi handling “medical routes” in the Cleveland and Toledo area, meaning taxis would take clients to the hospital.

“That would (add) four more jobs. We are bringing the people from Norwalk,” he said. “We want to stay in Norwalk.”

Tijuana Taxi would be the third Norwalk-based taxi company, including Paco’s Taxi and GT Cab. Co.

Council will not be addressing Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan’s proposed veto to the amended legislation that would have welcomed a medical-marijuana cultivation facility to the city. The earliest that would happen is April 18, the next regular meeting.

Norwalk Law Director Stuart O’Hara explained the veto process. He said the mayor has 10 days from the day the legislation was handed to him to submit his veto along with his written reasons for opposing it and council has to take action during its next regular meeting. If legislation goes unsigned after 10 days, it becomes law. 

O’Hara was asked Monday if Duncan had filed his veto with the council clerk.

“As far as I know he has not,” the law director said. “If they override the veto with five votes, he cannot veto the override.” 

O’Hara also was asked if he ever had heard of a Norwalk mayor vetoing legislation passed by council.

“In the time I’ve been here — 15 years — it’s not happened,” he said. “Nobody recalls it happening.”

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