Park Project Phase 1 Updates and EPA Information Shared

On Monday, April 8, the East Palestine Village Council convened at their bi-monthly public meeting where guest speakers Wendy Berrill, Director – Railway and Civil Design, Associate VP and Jason Wagner, Senior Civil Technical Specialist from Michael Baker International presented updated plans on the East Palestine Park project and monument sign. Andy Maguire from the U.S. EPA and Tim Fisher, Senior Geologist, Arcadis U.S., Inc. representing Norfolk Southern, were also on hand to report on stream mitigation, the recent heavy rains, fish kill and water drainage issues. 

Watch the video for the full recording of the East Palestine Village Council Meeting on April 8.

East Palestine Park – Phase 1 Updates
Park Project Manager Berrill and Project Designer Wagner shared the revised Park plan and explained Phase 1 initiatives at Monday’s meeting. These include: relocation of sport courts and new stage, grading the oval and improving the field area to alleviate drainage issues, extending the parking areas along both sides of the main loop, and adding parking and lighting to the dog park area.

The Village Council confirmed that all the current courts will remain in place for play while the new ones are constructed in their new locations. Also, the families have been contacted that have had trees planted in remembrance to family members if those trees are affected by the construction and the village will hold the dedication placards in safekeeping until rededication can occur. Also note that during the construction phase stone aggregate will be used in some places for parking as a temporary measure until the final paving process can be completed at the very end of the project.

After approvals, the plan is to start the bid process in May with the hopes to have selected a contractor and start construction in the park after the July 4th Celebration.

Pool Updates
Next, Berrill touched on the pool project which is Phase 2 and still in the early stages of development with a pool architect still to be consulted for final design details. Based on feedback, some changes have been made to the initial design plan of the pool house. These enhancements include a larger entry area, a separate locker room, a family restroom with accessible shower, an event space, mechanical room, electrical room, and some additional park storage space. A covered canopy facing the pool, and another facing the park have been added for shaded seating and a place to relax and eat after visiting the concession stand. There will also be two additional restrooms facing the park side. 

Monument Sign
The Council approved moving forward with a new monument sign paid for by Norfolk Southern at the entrance of the village to replace the current 50-year old sign at the north end of Market Street, where it intersects with the state route. Per ODOT regulations as the landowner, it fits the same footprint of the existing sign but will be in three sections for ease of access and maintenance. The village will determine the plantings, and the sign will be branded with the new logo and tagline to proudly welcome visitors and residents alike to East Palestine.   

EPA Update
Andy Maguire, U.S. EPA and Tim Fisher, Senior Geologist, Arcadis U.S., Inc. representing Norfolk Southern, shared the following update:

  • Recent heavy rains resulted in State Line Lake overflowing its banks and connection with the fire suppression pond just east of Brave Industries. Fish were displaced from the lake and pulled into bypass pumps into the pond that discharges into Sulphur Run. As a result, deceased fish were observed in Sulphur Run on Friday 4/5/24. The fish exhibited physical damage including missing heads and half bodies. ODNR was contacted on Friday and visited the site the same day. NS and EPA corresponded directly with ODNR and determined removal of the fish was appropriate. NS collected and removed 1,025 fish on 4/8/24 and screening solutions for the pumps are being evaluated to prevent a reoccurrence.
  • The ditch reopening has begun, and the first section is being released. This is one of, if not the largest producing sections and it is currently being discharged into Sulphur Run near Strohecker. We anticipate opening another two sections in the near future.
  • Culvert C1 cleaning activities are planned to resume on 4/9/24. C1 is the culvert that is approximately 800 ft. long and crosses Taggart.
  • Stream mitigation activities began in Sulphur Run, but were stopped due to sheen migrating past the collection points. A revised plan was submitted to EPA, and has since been approved pending a response to comments. It is anticipated that stream mitigation measures may resume in Sulphur Run as soon as next week.