2013: The View From Athens City Hall

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What is your biggest challenge in the coming year?

That’s the question WOUB News is asking in a series called “2013: The View from City Hall.

We are talking with mayors in Southeast Ohio.

In part two of our series we talk with Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl, who said revenue “is always a challenge” and what happens at the Statehouse will be factor.

“We’ve been getting a reduction of funds quite regularly and at the same time they pretty much try and control some of the things,” Wiehl said. “They talk about local control but it seems to be going towards a uniform tax process that is getting underway.”

Infrastructure projects will also keep Wiehl busy in 2013. The city will undertake two major road projects in the New Year.

“We will be doing the Oxbow bridge, which is the bridge closest to Baker Center, he said. “We were supposed to do it this year but because of the constraints of quarter to semester we decided to hold off until next year. We will be working on Richland Avenue, pretty much impeding traffic at the Oxbow bridge level. We are also scheduled the rework and repaving of Columbus road and North Lancaster from the city limits all the way down to Johnny Appleseed Park, so two of our major avenues will be closed so coordination will take a little bit of doing.”

A third major capital project to contend with is the upgrade of the waste water treatment plant.

“We are talking about all three of these probably come close to 20 million dollars when you think about it,” Wiehl said. “I think it is about three or four [million dollars] for the Oxbow, 1.1 [million dollars] for the Columbus road project and about 14 [million dollars] for the waste water treatment plant. So coordinating all of these projects is going to be a little bit of a feat. “

In part three, we'll talk with leaders from Ironton.