The City of Willard is one step closer to safety improvements along US 224 (East Walton Avenue). Council has adopted a resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the US 224 Corridor Sidewalk Project.  This project is a 100% grant, according to city manager James Pomerich, and will address signalization issues, install sidewalks where there are none and correct issues with the sidewalks that are currently in place.

Pomerich updated council on the city’s standings within the coronavirus pandemic. Huron County is at the Red Level citing very high exposure.

“We do have one employee that has it now,” Pomerich noted. “We do have another one who went home to be tested today. The good news that the levels that I see from the state are going down. They are trending down, so that’s a good sign.”

Huron County hits on two of the seven indicators which determine the warning level for a county.

“It used to be that you had to hit four to hit red,” Pomerich explained. “But now we’re hitting red at two.”

Huron County had 298 new or probable cases during the first week of this new year. Pomerich said Willard accounted for 41 of those cases.

“Our incident rate is at 3.63 cases per 1,000 persons,” he said. “The county is averaging five cases per 1,000 persons. The governor’s mask mandate and curfew restrictions are in effect.”

Pomerich pointed out that Huron County Public Health has received a very limited supply of vaccines, at 100 doses per week, from the Ohio Department of Health.

“There is currently a high demand from our area to get the vaccine,” he noted. “In conjunction with Ohio’s statewide efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to Ohioans in Phase 1B, Huron County Emergency Management Agency and Huron County Public Health would like to provide Huron County residents with an update on COVID-19 vaccine availability. Following Ohio’s phased approach, they will begin to distribute vaccine to those residents most at rick.”

Pomerich cited the following schedule for those in 1B:

• Week of Jan. 19 - Ohioans 80+’

• Week of Jan. 25 - Ohioans 75+ and those with severe congenital developmental or early onset medical disorders that make them particularly vulnerable;

• Week of Feb. 1 - Ohioans aged 70+ and employees of K-12 school districts, and

• Week of Feb. 8 - Ohioans aged 65+.

The information is available in a number of ways, including the WENS emergency system.

“We are also having it translated into Spanish,” Pomerich explained. “We will have that put on our website as well. We also have it on our digital sign at the park.”

Council member Joe Daniel pointed out the police department employees have not received the vaccine.

Pomerich said law enforcement officials were supposed to be included on the second or third wave of vaccinations. The police department has not received any of the vaccines.

“Are they going to be on the list?” Daniel asked. “I see EMS and fire.”

Daniel asked if the police department would be receiving the vaccines in February.

“I think it is just as important that they receive it,” he said, “as well as anybody in our city, which is almost everybody that comes in contact with the general public.”

Pomerich said the vaccines have not yet been scheduled for the police department.

In other city matters, Pomerich said the water department has pumped in 125 million gallons of water into the reservoir. This has raised the water level in the reservoir to approximately 1.8-feet.

“Overall, they will try to raise the water level an additional five feet,” Pomerich noted. “In all, they will pump approximately 700 to 800 million gallons into the reservoir.”

Pomerich said the park and Recreation Department has partnered with the united Fund to apply for a Campbell’s Soup Foundation Grant. They are seeking $25,000 to construct a six-foot wide concrete walking path that will eventually connect to the existing nature trails.

“If awarded,” Pomerich explained, “the grant will cover the cost of material as city forces will help with construction. Once completed, it will create a 1.2-mile looping trail around the park for the community to enjoy.”

Members of city council accepted a $200 donation from Sherry Schaffer for the Clock Tower Project.

Council went into executive session for 12 minutes to discuss collective bargaining. No action was taken.

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