Woodlawn Ave. RR tracks to be upgraded

Cary Ashby • May 24, 2019 at 2:00 PM

The Woodlawn Avenue railroad tracks will receive an upgrade in the coming weeks.

A railroad company will replace the tie system while about the same time, AJ Riley Inc. will pour concrete on Woodlawn Avenue between Bank and Madison streets. The project is expected to start next week or early June.

While the work is happening, that section of Woodlawn will be closed.

“It’s going to be a little bit of an inconvenience, but based on how those tracks are, it should be worth it,” said Wally Ritchie, Norwalk interim public works director. “It will look just like Old State Road.”

The construction project also will include new sidewalks and road on Woodlawn Avenue between Bank and Madison streets.

Ritchie said the aim is for the work to be done in 10 days or less. Upon hearing the announcement during Tuesday’s city council meeting, Councilwoman Samantha Wilhelm said the news deserved a Tiger Woods-esque “fist pump” since many residents have been looking forward to the tracks being improved.

Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan, after the meeting, said he has spoken to several residents in the area and they were happy to hear about the project.

Sometime next year, the tracks at the Benedict Avenue crossing will be upgraded, Ritchie said.

Also, council adopted two ordinances Tuesday authorizing the sale of two city properties that are no longer needed for municipal purposes. Those two properties are the site of the former foundry, 53 Newton St., and the old DeForest house, 80 E. Seminary St.

The Newton Street site has been appraised at $64,270, has four parcels and is on 2.45 acres. The property is zoned for manufacturing business. Zoning officer Mitch Loughton has said after brownfield work was completed at 53 Newton St., it was given to Norwalk in 2009. A brownfield project is an industrial or commercial site that may need environmental remediation and where there may be some environmental contamination. Often the properties are unused and/or vacant.

About 2015 or 2016, the East Seminary Street home was taken off the National Register of Historical Places. Appraised at $51,790 by the Huron County Auditor’s Office, it has three parcels and is on .65 acres. Norwalk has owned the property since 2000.

Also Tuesday, safety-service director Ellen Heinz provided council with an update on the tornado siren system. City administrators met with a technical adviser last week.

“The meeting went well,” said Heinz, who expects to bring a resolution to council in the next three or four weeks about the cost to repair or replace the sirens. “We expect a quote in the next five to 10 days.”

Five of the 10 sirens were working during the most recent test. At the very minimum, the siren at Veterans Memorial Lake Park will need to be replaced, Heinz told council earlier this month.

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