Current Construction Projects

Johnston Path Improvements

Update (8/17/22): The site has finally dried up enough to allow for the base installation and the asphalt is being placed today. RMH will return to the site next week to begin berm installation, concrete sidewalk replacement, and ultimately site restoration. We anticipate the project being wrapped up early September; the path will remain closed until then.

On January 18th, City Council awarded a $189,929.50 contract to RMH Concrete to re-build and improve Johnston Path from Wright Park upstream along Plum Creek to the intersection of Morgan and South Professor streets.  The path is named for Adelia Field Johnston who founded the Oberlin Village Improvement Society in 1903 based on the principles of the City Beautiful movement.  For more information please see the Department’s recommendation:

Johnston Path Recommendation

The existing path will be replaced with a new 6’ wide asphalt trail from the Morgan/S. Professor intersection to Wright Park, including the connections to West Vine St. and to South Main St.  A new lighting system similar to the path lighting systems in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and in Park St. Park will be installed.  The new path has been positioned to limit tree removal.  Due to its deteriorated condition, the existing pedestrian bridge over Plum Creek near the Soldiers’ Monument will be removed and replaced with a new aluminum pedestrian bridge.  Work on the Johnston Path is expected to begin in early April and to be substantially complete by Memorial Day.


Morgan St. Reservoir & Wetland Project

Update (8/11/22):

During the last month, Big Trees Inc. has substantially turned the job site over to their sub-contractor, Schirmer Construction.  To facilitate construction, Big Trees had pumped down the wetland – and this, not surprisingly, delayed wetland planting and seeding.  Schirmer has also been delayed by larger economic forces including materials and labor shortages that have pushed them behind schedule.

We are pleased to report that as of this morning, Schirmer’s crew has now completed the boardwalk, the observation deck, the stairs on either side of the wetland spillway and the handrails for the historic stone stairs on the southwest corner of the reservoir.


 Boardwalk between upper and lower wetlands


Wetland Observation Deck

After considerable discussion and research, Public Works has worked out a plan with Big Trees to re-furbish the historic stone stairs at the southwest corner of the reservoir, connecting into the Oberlin College Arboretum.  Rather than construction of an adjoining set of wood stairs, Big Trees will be re-purposing donated sandstone curb to create an intermediate tread at each step on the existing stone stairs.  While this is expected to coincide with other work on site, they are blocking out one week to cut, fit and install the new treads.

Stairs at Wetland Spillway, Outer Loop Trail                              

Handrails on either side of historic stone stairs

Just this week, Big Trees personnel are back on site working on the remaining project items.  This includes finish grading in the immediate vicinity of Schirmer’s work and planting the additional trees and shrubs that could have been damaged by construction.  Big Trees will be working on finish grading and construction of the accessible wetland interior loop trail and top-dressing the existing perimeter trails with limestone screenings.   As the water level in the wetland comes up, Big Trees will be placing the wetland plugs – 360 starter plants including Dark Green Bulrush, Soft Rush, Broadleaf Arrowhead and Great Blue Lobelia.  The wetlands will also be seeded with a mix of (20) different native species.

Last fall the Public Works General Maintenance Division had to construct repairs under the bike path near Sumner St.  This required partial dismantling of an historic sandstone box culvert.  GMD hauled these large sandstone blocks to Morgan St. for re-use.  Big Trees is going to place them at the edges of the shoreline access points in the southeast and southwest corners of the reservoir.  GMD is also using its new sewer Vactor truck to clear the discharge line from the new catch basin on the east side of the reservoir, southeast to its outlet at Plum Creek.

As Big Trees works their way off site, they will be removing the access drives for their construction equipment, restoring the finish grade in these areas and re-seeding with the specified seed mixes.  Big Trees is planning to construct the circular paver ‘gathering area’ at the north intersection of the wetland and reservoir trails near the end of August.  Unfortunately they do not yet have delivery dates for certain site furnishings including the specified picnic tables and benches.  Big Trees is looking towards final seeding and site clean-up during the first two weeks of September.  If their schedule holds, the City should be able to re-open the new Morgan St. Reservoir & Wetland to the public in mid-September.

Looking south beyond the wetland observation deck to the new stairs on either side of the wetland spillway


Due to weather, materials and labor shortages, Big Trees is admittedly behind schedule but they continue to work towards project completion.  The Oberlin College arboretum is accessible through Ladies Grove (south of the Prospect/Morgan St. intersection) or from South Professor St.  We apologize for the delay and for the temporary inconvenience even as we look forward to sharing the City’s newest park improvements with you.

Big Trees Recommendation


Please drive safely through all work zones!

Thank you for your continued patience!

For questions regarding any City construction project, please contact the Public Works Department at 440-775-7218.

Oberlin College Sustainable Infrastructure Project (SIP)

Oberlin College has begun this project to convert the campus heating system from an antiquated steam system to hot water delivery. This new system will lower resource use on campus and increase comfort all year around with expanded cooling to more campus buildings.  Please see the items below for more information: