Xenia's tunnel going nowhere?

Xenia, Ohio - On August 26, 2010, The City of Xenia Council voted on an emergency resolution, approving a $21,744 increase in project cost to design a tunnel. The Title of the Ordinance was

“An Emergency Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to enter into a Change Order with LJB, Inc. for the Jamestown Connector Tunnel Design and establish a new Not-to-Exceed Amount.”

The ordinance raised the cost of the tunnel design by $21,744.  The project is to construct a tunnel, under the US-35 By-Pass, connecting the Bike Trail between Xenia and Jamestown. The total expense of this project, according to the minutes from the Council meeting, is now set at $168,744.00. The funds are being provided by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), not by the City of Xenia directly. The MVRPC website states that the bulk of their funding comes from Federal and State Grants, along with members, like the City of Xenia, paying dues to join.

Xenia City Manager Jim Percival has stated that “Once the tunnel is designed, they will not move forward with construction until adequate funding is available to pay the costs.” The construction project will cost a little more than $2 million, but since the City cannot come up with its local share of $450,000, they are not prepared to move forward.

There was no discussion between City Council members before they voted to approve the increase, so tax payers are left with one question. Where does the City of Xenia think or is planning to get, their share totaling $450,000.00, of the $2 Million dollars needed to construct the tunnel? The City Manager was quoted at the council meeting to say:

“They hope others will step up to the plate with additional funding so the tunnel can be completed.”

Local residents asked this week about the project; did not understand why the City of Xenia was taking part in spending Tax Payers money on this, specially in this economy. One was quoted as saying “Tax Payer cost to design this tunnel alone, would double the City of Xenia's road repair budget for 2010” and he wondered “why the City is not working to improve current commuter road-ways, rather then recreation bike trails.” With an overall estimate of $2 Million to complete it, many are left to wonder if this tunnel is going anywhere?

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