GREEN As the city prepares to undertake the largest road improvement project in its history, City Council has hired a public relations firm to keep motorists updated throughout the project.

Council members approved a contract with Akhia Communications Feb. 25 to provide “specialized public relations services” in relation to the upcoming Massillon Road roundabout project.

City Council President Barbara Babbitt said the communications contract is being paid for through funds earmarked in the overall road project for this purpose. She said the size of the project requires the specialized communications to continuously update both residents and those who use Massillon Road on a regular basis on the status of the project throughout its duration.

“And also to educate them on how to use roundabouts and the corridor when it’s completed,” Babbitt said.

The $14.5 million project will include making a portion of Massillon Road in the city a four-lane boulevard with three roundabouts, a center median, a multipurpose trail, and sidewalks. The project is expected to begin this year and continue through the fall of 2021.

Other actions

• Council approved an extension of the city’s agreement with Enviro Science to provide previously approved professional services to oversee the final stages of the NEXUS pipeline restoration process. The legislation also authorized the appropriation of up to $25,000 from the unappropriated balance of the city’s Nexus settlement fund.

• Council also approved several resolutions to purchase a 2019 Kubota tractor for $103,952, approximately $17,000 less than what had been budgeted; a 2019 Caterpillar wheel loader for $185,691, approximately $14,000 under budget; two 2020 F-250 pickup trucks for $60,668, $9,332 under budget; and a 2020 Caterpillar mini hydraulic excavator for $119,801.

• Service Director Valerie Wax Carr said the final item was not expected to be purchased until next year, but was able to be purchased due to the cost savings on the other items.

• A planning and zoning recommendation to allow a replat of a 17.5 acre parcel off Liberty Green Drive to be split into three lots as part of a construction project by Nagy’s Collision was also approved.

• Council also approved a street lighting district for the first phase of the Spring Hill Business Park subdivision.