Home Environment Mayor Patterson addresses GoBus overturn, City Council discusses street closures and recycling bins

Mayor Patterson addresses GoBus overturn, City Council discusses street closures and recycling bins

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Athens City Council addressed the Athens GoBus that overturned in Akron over the weekend at Monday night’s meeting.

Councilman Jeffrey Risner, D-2nd Ward, brought up the accident, wondering what the cause could have been.

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around how a bus flips over like that,” he said. “I haven’t seen any type of an explanation to that yet.”

According to Mayor Steve Patterson, seven passengers were riding with the driver, but none of them were Ohio University students. Two passengers went to the hospital for minor injuries, and they have now been released. The bus was “going at a low rate of speed when the accident occurred,” Patterson said, and the “cause of the accident remains under investigation.”

Council also discussed Brew Week. The organization’s executive director Brandon Thompson explained to Athens City Council that Brew Week would be held from July 15 to July 23, and they are expecting close to 5,000 participants.

Thompson requested two street closures for the final event of Brew Week, the Last Call Street Festival, taking place on July 23.

The requested closures would be on Court Street from Washington Street to Carpenter Street, and on State Street from Congress Street to Mill Street. Streets would be closed from 8 a.m. to midnight, with the event taking place from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Patterson did not seem to have any objection to the requested closures, noting that they were the same as last year. Nothing was agreed upon.

Brew Week is set to occur close to many other events requesting street closures.

More timely street closures taking place include a closure of the Smith and Byard Street intersection as well as Cable Lane today from 8 a.m. to the completion of repairs. Additionally, South Shafer Street will be closed on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to the completion of water main repairs.

The Council also discussed Athens’ recycling because the city is considering accepting a grant from The Recycling Partnership. The Recycling Partnership would provide Athens with $80,000 for recycling carts, while Athens would contribute $155,000. The carts purchased would be either 48 or 64 gallon bins, differing from the current 10 gallon Athens recycling bins.

The grant hasn’t been accepted yet, however, because some councilmembers are concerned with some of the grants proposals. Patterson urged the Council to consider the partnership in a timely manner so the opportunity isn’t missed, but some councilmembers brought up concerns regarding the agreement.

Christine Fahl, D-4th Ward, questioned the move to larger recycling bins and wondered whether people would have the option to continue using 10 gallon carts.

“Ten to 48 is a big jump when ten seems to be working out fine,” Fahl said.

Risner disagreed with Fahl in that regard, saying, “In my neighborhood, 64 gallons would be ideal.”

He continued by saying that some of his neighbors use two or three recycling bins, and he still sees “trash cans full of recycling materials” because there isn’t enough space in the recycling bins.

Councilwoman Michelle Papai, D-3rd Ward, also questioned how often Athens would collect recycling under the new plan.

“I know some communities that only collect recycling every two weeks,” she said. She said that a weekly service would make smaller bins more viable.

Patterson was appreciative of all the questions but had immediate answers for a few. He said he would look into all of the expressed concerns with the contractor and try to reconstruct some of the partnership request.

Patterson continued to express his interest in the partnership, however.

“I will explore all of these options, but this is something that will appear before City Council again,” Patterson said.

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