Orion prepares for future capital improvements

Mindy Carls

The Village of Orion is hiring Hutchison Engineering for $9,989 to prepare a capital improvement plan.

Board members want the firm to work with three full-time superintendents who are retiring in the next two years. They are Neil Dahl, streets; Arnie Sandberg, parks and water, and Chris Lundburg, sewers.

The board wants to avoid having new employees who have no clue about what needs to happen, now and in the future, Village President Jim Cooper said.

For example, Hutchison will develop a procedure for assessing residential drainage complaints, Cooper said.

Gas spill cleanup

Jeff Wienhoff of Green Wave Company spoke to the board about options for finishing the cleanup of a 1995 fuel spill at what is now Orion Mart. The original amount of the spill has been reduced by 85 to 90 percent, and getting rid of the remaining is very difficult and expensive.

Some of the fuel is under the street behind the station, Wienhoff said.

The first step is having the village acknowledge the fuel is there, he said. Second, ensuring the neighbors stay on village water and do not drill their own wells. Third, reducing the current setback around the village’s wet well from 1,000 feet to 400 feet.

The state only requires a buffer zone of 400 feet around water wells, Wienhoff said . No one can build a gas station within that zone.

He said no one knows when or why the decision was made to have a 1,000-foot setback for the west water well at BankORION. Some of the fuel remaining in the soil at Orion Mart is just within the 1,000 zone.

Options are to change the setback to 900 feet or less, so that the remaining fuel is outside the zone, Wienhoff said.

Orion could abandon the well and drill a new one a little farther away, he said. The state would pay for the $75,000 to $100,000 work, but the village would bear the cost of the engineering plans.

The other option is to remove every last drop of fuel from the soil, Wienhoff said.

Trustee Mike Hickerson said the fuel is no threat to anyone now. Wienhoff said the easiest, cheapest option is to reduce the buffer zone.

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Drainage issues

Anne and Phillip Randall, Ron Belton and Ralph Rohrbaugh spoke to the board about drainage issues on their properties. Cooper said the village will have Hutchison Engineering look at the problems the Randalls and Belton are having, and Dahl will look at whether Dahl can correct Rohrbaugh’s problem.

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On a voice vote, the board decided not to help Jason West install a 48-inch pipe across his property in the 100 block of 10th Avenue to help with drainage.

Trustee Steve Newman suggested using TIFF money to cover the costs, but Trustee Mel Drucker said TIFF money should be used for infrastructure costs only. Trustee Jim Hickerson said he doesn’t see how West’s project benefits the village, and the money could be used for other drainage projects.

Fall Fest liquor request

Orion Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 143 and Orion American Legion Post 255 asked for a one-day liquor license so they could sell beer and food during the Sunday car show during Orion Fall Festival, Cooper said.

Jim DeBaillie, chairman of the car show, said the festival would not like to have anyone selling liquor during the event. The festival would have to hire extra police officers, and liquor would detract from the family-friendly atmosphere.

Cooper, who volunteers with the event, said owners keep their cars in mint condition and do not want someone leaning over the car to spill beer accidentally.

The board will vote on the request at its next meeting on Wednesday, July 6.

In other business

• Because Independence Day falls on a Monday, the next village board meeting will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 6.

• The board approved closing Fourth Street from 11th to 12th Avenues for Main Street Orion’s O’Mazing Race from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 23. Also, a four-way stop sign will be placed at the intersection of Fourth Street and 12th Avenue.

• Board members approved spending $62,500 in motor fuel tax revenue on street projects this year.

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