Civic Association wants bicentennial committee

July 16, 2014

By Lenny C. Lepola

The Village of Sunbury was platted by Lawrence and William Myers in 1816, and on more than one occasion during the past year Sunbury’s rapidly approaching bicentennial has been mentioned in village council chambers. Council members have been urged to put money aside for the bicentennial, but to date no formal action has taken place.

Cindy Erndt, representing the Big Walnut Civic Association and the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce, was in chambers during council meeting July 9 to ask council members to finally take action to prepare for the 200th birthday celebration

“We would like to set up a committee for the 2016 Bicentennial, but that needs to start now,” Erndt said.

Parks Committee chair Joe Gochenour recommend holding a special meeting to brainstorm events to mark the village bicentennial, and involve members of the Big Walnut Area Historical Society.

No formal action was taken.

While she had the floor, Erndt asked council members to approve the August 23 date for the popular Sunbury Sizzle & Sounds food and music festival.

Erndt said the event, in its fourth year, will be held from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“The outdoor beer garden will open at 4:30 p.m. after the Kids Zone closes at 4,” Erndt said. “Keynote music acts will be McGuffey Lane and SouthWynd.”

Council members approved Erndt’s request.

As Parks Committee Chair, Gochenour reported that the lightning damaged Elm tree on the northeast corner of Village Square was removed. Six additional Elm trees are infected with Emerald Ash Borer, he said; two arborists have recommended their removal.

Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield said the need had been established to remove the trees, but he also has said recently that he would prefer the trees come down in stages to avoid denuding the square.

“We need a risk management plan, then a tree replacement schedule,” Hatfield said. “We’ll have a blank canvas, so to speak.”

Sunbury Village Administrator Dave Martin said members of the Village of Sunbury Tree & Landscape Commission would meet on Tuesday.

“We’ll talk about which trees we can hang onto for a few years,” Martin said. “To save money, some of the trees that have to come down we can take down in-house.”

Council member Dave Miller said he believes all trees on Village Square that arborists have said need to be removed should be taken down immediately.

“Those trees are dangerous,” Miller said. “They could come down during the next storm. We need to expedite this.”

No formal action was taken.

Martin reported that the sinkhole at the Evening Street and Cherry Street intersection was caused by directional boring under the roadway the disturbed the road gravel base.

To repair the sinkhole a 15-foot wide by 15-foot long by 6-foot deep area was excavated, filled with flash fill and concrete, then paved over.

Martin said Zimmerman Excavating charged $14,000 to complete the job; Martin said he would file a claim with the village’s property and liability insurance broker, Rinehart, Walters, Danner and Associates Insurance Agency.

Sunbury’s consulting engineer Wes Hall, CT Consultants, shared conceptual drawings of 2014 street improvements around village square; Hatfield said drainage in the alley behind Vernon Street needs addressed; and point repairs for several streets were discussed, including South Columbus Street and Burrer Drive.

Council members suspended the rules, approved emergency language, and approved Ordinance 2014-13, the final plat for Sunbury Meadows Section 6; and suspended the rules, approved emergency language, and approved Ordinance 2014-16 that updates village ordinances to bring them in line with state statutes.

Sunbury’s website is located at

Sunbury Village Council meets 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month in the third floor council chambers, Sunbury Town Hall. Because of the July 4 holiday the second July Sunbury Village Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 23. Council committees meet one hour before regularly scheduled council sessions. All village council and council committee meetings are open to the public.