By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MARIEMONT - Village leaders are considering options to the Wooster Pike sewer project, but Mayor Dan Policastro said the path along the main thoroughfare likely will be the best alternative.
The project will require replacement of some of the old, tall, lace bark elm trees in the center median along Wooster Pike.
Village Council is expected to move forward with the project by voting Monday to authorize an archeological study to ensure there aren't any Indian artifacts where a new sewer pipe will go.
At Sunday's 63rd annual town meeting, there will be a second public forum on the project.
The mayor called for a speedy resolution, noting that raw sewage is leaking into Dogwood Park and Whiskey Run Creek, which runs through the village and park before emptying into the Little Miami River.
"The creek is getting polluted because of broken sewer pipes," Policastro said. "Children have a right to go into that park and play in that creek. That creek is so polluted, we need to give attention to our kids and not just trees. The trees will grow back. I think most people understand we are trying to do the best thing."
The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati is required by a federal order to install a 5,800-foot-long sewer pipe in the area to fix leaks by July 31, 2006.
But Councilman Doug Adams said the sewer district must come up with another alternative.
"It's not about the sewers. Everybody realizes we need new sewers. It's about not being presented with any alternatives," he said. "We do not want to lose our median trees. It ruins the gateway to our village."
Bob Campbell, deputy director of the sewer district, says running the pipe down Wooster Pike is the best option. The sewer district, he said, will give Mariemont money for tree replacement.
The agency will try to make some concessions and has time to retool the project a bit, he said. But a major realignment cannot be done in time to make a June start deadline.
The project is expected to last a little over two years.
"Whether or not some minor realignment can happen, we still have time for that," he said. "If that provides some benefit, we will do some minor realignment of the pipe in Wooster Pike. We can be flexible."
Most council members appear willing to go along with the proposal. The village's attorney, Edward McTigue, has urged council to comply with the sewer district's plan, saying the sewer district can eventually force the project through the courts.
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