FORT JENNINGS — The Freedom Square project was the main topic of discussion at the Fort Jennings November council meeting. The committee submitted blueprint design drawings to the council for review. The new parking area will be the first part of the project to be completed. It would open up 16 new parking spots which could be used for other things as well.

The council discussed the option to submit an application for a Parks and Recreation Grant through the NatureWorks program of the ODNR. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers several grants to local governments and other groups wishing to increase recreational opportunities, but the grant applications don’t go in until June 2019.

“What we need to do, in my opinion, is not only try to get volunteers to do a lot of the work, but we need to get a good set of plans so everyone is on the same page,” stated Mayor Jim Smith. “If we are going to do it, we need to do it right, so we don’t have to change, fix or repair anything in five years or so.

“This is a great project that will be a huge improvement for the whole village. I love the Riverwalk sidewalk idea. There are a lot of ideas being considered at this time, including an unknown soldier area. Fundraising has begun and is an ongoing thing now. It is going to take a lot of donations from a lot of people to get this project off the ground.”

“I really do like the whole concept,” CouncilmanWalt Pitney said. “I especially like the sidewalk idea along the river’s edge.”

The Freedom Square project is next to Memorial Hall and will be dedicated to veterans. Plans include a grassy area with a shelterhouse with restrooms and seating, a grill, parking and commemorative monuments and plaques.

In other business, the police department reported several street lights that have gone out. Residents who notice any flickering lights are asked to report them to the maintenance department for replacement. Trick or treat went well with no incidents. All police department employees have completed their qualifications for the year, and a new police policy procedure has been completed and adopted.

The T. M. Menke property sewer extensions are halfway complete. Weather permitting, the project should be completed soon and the EPA mandated park water upgrades are in process. The park is currently closed, so no more water samples will be available until spring.

Council had to increase its commitment for the OPWC Second, Sixth and Oak streets grant project. The total estimated cost of the entire project is $120,000. In order for this project to be passed on to the next level, council had to increase their commitment by 10 percent. Council had asked for $96,000 with their commitment being 20 percent. Council now had to commit to 30 percent match in order for the project to stay in the pot.

The Fort Fest Committee has requested a member of council to sit on the committee. They meet the first Thursday of every month at the Rec Club at 7:30 p.m. Council member Walt Pitney volunteered to sit on the committee.

Insurance renewal has been processed and the new invoice has been received. Council was very impressed at the low dollar increase with higher limits of coverage.

Talk of a new corporation limit signs and street light fixtures has been tabled until further notice.

“I don’t want to create images of the corporation limits that might be different than the style of images at the square. Same with light fixtures. Once they choose their style of light fixture, I would like to expand that through the whole village,” Smith said.

Leaf collection continues even in the snow and rain. The maintenance department will continue to pick them up for as long as needed even though it has been muddy at the lagoon trying to get rid of them.

The next regular meeting of the Fort Jennings Village Council will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the village library.