Aurora awards design pact for Sunny Lake dam rebuild

Ken Lahmers
Aurora, Ohio

AURORA — The multi-phase Sunny Lake dam replacement project is moving on to its third phase after City Council on Dec. 14 awarded a contract to the GPD Group for design of the new dam and bidding services.

The contract cost is $107,706. City officials said proposals were solicited from several engineering firms, and the GPD Group was the only one to submit one. The dam is located on the northeast side of the lake.

City officials said the dam has gone through a systematic evaluation since its inspection by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 2014, and the city has commissioned studies to determine the most effective reconstruction.

The first phase created a model to evaluate the function of the lake and its outlets. The second phase included design concepts and provided recommendations for a reconstructed dam. ODNR has given its support to one of those concepts.

Once the design work is complete, the city can seek bids for construction in 2021.

Meanwhile, Council OK’d a final contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation for citywide traffic signalization upgrades. The city’s share of the estimated $3.1 million project is $633,440. Service Director Harry Stark said a contractor will be selected in late January.

The project involves upgrading signals along Aurora, Chillicothe and Garfield roads and Pioneer Trail, plus upgrading several flashing lights and installing some new ones in school zones, and includes installation of fiber optic cable and ethernet radio.

Easements were accepted from Linpac Acquisition Subsidary and J&M Holdings LLC for a forced main sanitary sewer project at Route 43 and Lena Drive. Stark said the line will run on the south side of Lena, cross Route 43 and continue to the south side of the McMaster Carr warehouse.


  • Council OK’d applying for a BRIC grant to purchase and demolish flood prone homes in the Geauga Lake neighborhood. The grant would be for $1.94 million, with the city to pay $485,366. If the grant is received from FEMA, the project would begin in fall 2021.
  • An agreement with ODOT for the city to plow snow on Route 43 was approved, with the state to pay up to $24,000. Previously, the state gave 400 tons of salt for city crews to do the plowing, but Stark said it has changed its reimbursement policy.
  • A contract was awarded to Gardiner for $17,150 of CARES Act money to purchase bipolar ionization technology units for HVAC systems at the parks building and library. That brings the total spent on the systems at various city buildings to $55,552.
  • Contracts were awarded for 2021 to Allied Corp. (up to $20,000) for bituminous hot mix, Shelly Co. (up to $25,000) for crush limestone, washed gravel and other materials and Pipelines Inc. (up to $20,000) for culvert pipe.
  • A new agreement with Jeffrey Skapin to provide plans review was OK’d at $80 an hour, $1 more than last year. He has been a city plans examiner for five years. Ralph Ware was appointed to the architectural board of review through Dec. 31, 2024.
  • Council accepted a donation of $1,800 from Aurora Boy Scout Troop 269 and then donated it back to the troop. The funds were raised as part of an Eagle Scout project for which the city was a beneficiary.
  • Heritage Capital Corp.’s request to place a rezoning issue on the May 2021 ballot for the Bertram Inn property was moved to second reading. A public hearing is set for Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. The firm seeks a change from I-1 industrial to M-1 mixed use to allow several rooms to be converted to condominiums.

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