SYCAMORE — Sycamore village officials will meet with representatives from Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway next week to discuss the possibility of adding gates at the railroad crossing on Ohio 67.
“The whole topic is about the (lack of) crossing gates,” Sycamore Village Administrator Chuck Clark said during Tuesday night’s council meeting. “They are going to give us some information about what they’re going to do and what (the village’s) part in that is. … It stems from the fatality that they had down there. They did do a crossing gate on County Road 35.”
Shelly Cleveland, who lived in Republic, died July 24 when her car was hit by a train at the crossing. She was 41.
The meeting will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 7 in council chambers.
Also Tuesday, Mayor Matt Boucher announced the village will be hiring a new part-time police officer to replace Zach Stumpf, who resigned Aug. 7 after five months on the job.
The village’s finance committee decided in a meeting last Wednesday to recommend to council to hire an officer, but council never discussed or voted on the issue during Tuesday night’s meeting. After adjourning the meeting, Boucher was asked if council members should have taken a vote and he replied, “We should have mentioned that before we adjourned … but yeah, we are hiring.”
Village officials also announced the Sycamore Fire Department has formed a committee to look into the possibility of forming a fire district with McCutchenville and surrounding townships.
“We are forming a committee so we can just get information,” Councilman Anthony Flood explained. “It’s just an information-getting committee.”
Councilwoman Darcy Zimmerman volunteered to serve on the committee, with Councilman Ralph Decker as an alternate.
In other business, Decker reported on an investigation into alleged speeding drivers on South Sycamore and North Kilbourne streets recently conducted by himself, council President Vicki Weininger and Sycamore Police Chief Richard Blankenship. After receiving several complaints from village residents about speeding traffic on both streets, village officials used a radar gun to track how fast cars were going.
“Richard went down in Old Town (on North Kilbourne Street) and sat with one of the two residents that were here (at a previous council meeting),” Decker said. “He let them look at a car coming down the road and asked them, ‘How fast do you think they’re coming?’ and they told him and he shot them with the laser and he showed them how far off they were.”
Village officials found that traffic most often was not traveling as fast as the residents thought.
“It definitely showed their perception is not what you think it might be,” Blankenship said. “… I can’t say that it’s not happening, but there were several speeds that (the residents) guessed that were not correct.”
Blankenship tracked speeds on Kilbourne Street last week, while Weininger and Decker did the same on Kilbourne and Sycamore streets prior to Tuesday night’s council meeting.
“We clocked 21 vehicles — pickup trucks, vans, cars, semis — and we had an average of 29.9 miles an hour,” Decker said. “Thirty-five (mph) is the speed limit (on South Sycamore Street). We had one car that was doing 43 miles an hour.
“We did 28 (vehicles) in Old Town and they ended up averaging 42.5 miles an hour and the speed limit down there is 45 (mph),” Decker added. “We had one semi that was going 51 and we had a car that was going 55.”
The next council meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11.
The village’s water committee will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
By CHANDA NEELY