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Improved rail crossing by Pilkington planned
By Beth Church
The bumpy entrance into downtown Rossford may soon become a smooth ride over the railroad crossing by Pilkington.
Rex Huffman of the Wood County Port Authority announced Monday that he has secured nearly a half-million dollars in state and regional funding for the improvement.
“It’s not a great crossing for 3 million cars a year traveling on that road,” he said at the Rossford City Council meeting on Monday evening.
“For 40 years in Rossford, that’s been a sore subject– that’s the entryway into our community,” he noted.
Minor repairs were made to the rail crossing in the past, but “obviously that doesn’t last long,” he noted.
Mr. Huffman and the port authority have been working to entice state officials from JobsOhio, the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio Rail Commission and the Ohio Department of Transportation to commit funds to the project.
In 2012, the port authority tried to obtain state funding but was not successful.
At that time, they estimated a major improvement of the crossing, including new track, would cost about $230,000–compared to repairs that typically cost about $80,000.
When the port authority recently approached state officials about the project, they were encouraged by Pilkington’s re-investment of $40 million into a new furnace for the glass factory this year.
JobsOhio asked for an engineer’s estimate on a complete replacement, which would include “more concrete and an approach that is double the size–a 40-year repair,” Mr. Huffman explained.
That estimate was calculated at nearly $500,000, he said, and JobsOhio responded by offering a grant for half of that amount.
Mr. Huffman then spoke with contacts at ODOT and the Ohio Rail Commission, and “we have just about all of that project funded.”
He cautioned council that there is “still lots to do” because of all the arrangements to be made among numerous state officials and the glass manufacturer.
The attorney also noted that the work must be done quickly because Pilkington officials can only operate for two days without rail service.
City Administrator Mike Scott explained that the glass company’s “just-in-time” supply process and the composition of the glass-making materials don’t allow them to be stockpiled.
The rail crossing improvement will take place this fall, Mr. Huffman told council.
“Our new gateway to the community is going to be awesome,” he said. “We want a first class entrance into our town.”
Council members and Mayor Neil MacKinnon III thanked the port authority and Mr. Huffman for their successful efforts.
“You are a true contributor–thank you,” the mayor said.
Mr. Huffman is pleased with the positive response of state officials.
“We’re doing our job– that’s why the port authority exists,” he said. “Others believe in this city. These state and regional [agencies] want to invest in Rossford.”
Mr. Scott said the city will not be required to financially contribute to the improvement, but public works employees will assist with work such as curb removal.
Other Business
In other business, council:
•Heard from Mayor MacKinnon that Halloween trick-or-treating has been scheduled for 6 to 8:30 p.m., on Monday, October 31.
•Authorized the installation of seven backflow preventers in city buildings at a cost of $11,914.
Mr. Scott said the work will be done by Perrysburg Plumbing, Heating and AC.
The devices need to be installed before winter weather, he said, and they “prevent bad water from getting into the good water system.”
•Heard a question from Councilman Staczek about the elevation of the filled-in pond near Buck Road along the exit ramp of southbound I-75.
Mr. Scott responded, “We’re looking into it at this point,” and added that the Ohio EPA is being consulted.
•Heard an update on the Colony Road pump station abandonment project from Mr. Scott.
He reported that engineers are marking elevations this week, followed by curb removal and replacement the following week, and then “mill and fill” pavement work will be the week of October 10.
“Hopefully by mid-October we’ll have that street opened up,” the city administrator added.
At a special meeting on September 19, council accepted a bid from Smith Paving and Excavating Inc. of Norwalk to replace curbing along Colony Road.
“It will be built to last,” Mr. Scott said, noting that the asphalt curbs will be replaced with concrete.
The entire length of the street will not have curbs, since they are not needed for drainage.
Council member Caroline Zuchowski Eckel, who is a civil engineer, explained that the hill aids water drainage which runs off the road into the adjacent trees.
“Adding curbing would actually cause more drainage problems,” she said. “There would be more water on the road.”
The work is not to exceed $40,730.
Council’s next meeting is 7 p.m., Monday, October 10, at the municipal building, 133 Osborn Street, and is open to the public.


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Rossford lies at the heart of the Crossroads of America, an area experiencing tremendous economic growth, located at the crossroads of Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike. The city's population of approximately 6,000 is primarily a mix of descendants of Polish, Czechoslovakian, German and Ukrainian workers who came from Pennsylvania to work at the glass plant, now Pilkington.

Rossford was incorporated as a village in 1939 and as a city in 1971. The City is a municipal corporation which operates under its own charter and is governed by a mayor and seven-member City Council. Rossford is served by full-time police and part-time fire departments, dispatched from the neighboring Village of Walbridge.

The City maintains a Community Recreation Center and three parks, one of which,Veterans Memorial Park, features a seasonal marina along with picnic areas and diamonds and courts for baseball, tennis, basketball and volleyball.

Rossford has three elementary schools, Glenwood, Indian Hills and Eagle Point, a junior high and high school and All Saints parochial school for grades pre-kindergarten through eight.

The city boasts a public library and many service and community organizations such as the Rossford Business Association, Lions Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Its Rossford Community Service League sponsors annual activities such as a Valentine's Day Dance, Easter egg hunt, Halloween, Memorial Day parades and their Christmas tree lighting.

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