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The Paris City Council not only scheduled a May 11 special election on a 10-year, $50 million capital improvement program, it also gave the go-ahead on $2.6 million worth of projects right away.
This year’s work is already in the 2012-2013 budget. The council decided last summer to set aside up to $5 million for work during 2013 – authorizing the manager to use up to $1 million in general fund reserves and up to $1.8 million in water and sewer reserves.
The council also made available $2.2 million that became available when the city paid off a water bond last year.
City manager John Godwin outlined to the council some 21 projects that the city staff has been working on since November with KSA Engineering in developing a list of projects to be completed this winter and spring.
Godwin designated them “Year Zero” projects since they will precede the long-range capital improvement plan KSA will complete this summer.
“We specifically looked at projects that were of a high need, of various types scattered about the city,” the city manager said.
On purpose, a lot of improvements will be made between now and the city elections in May, including the city-wide vote on the $50 million bond package.
Mayor AJ Hashmi said hopefully, citizens will notice the work and be even more inclined to vote for the whole 10-year package of work.
“In evaluating utility projects, we identified those that could be done in-house with a new construction crew we assembled. We have taken people from different departments and put them together for this work,” the manager said.
The council gave Godwin authority to proceed immediately, with a new in-house city crew, on 21 “Year Zero” projects that include 11 streets, five water projects, one sewer project, three sidewalk projects, and one parking lot:
Southeast 24th Street at the crossing of Big Sandy Creek, $15,000
Along the railroad near Turner Industries, $55,000
Belmont & Fairfax streets at Northeast 12th and Northeast 13th, $16,763
South of Jackson Street along the Trail de Paris, $45,000
Water line by the city health department (Southwest Sixth Street), $3,750
Oak Street from Eighth to Ninth (with some drainage), $11,025
In front of the YWCA on Lamar Avenue, between the Plaza and SE First Street; Bonham and Grand, between West First and West Second, $195,000
Southwest Seventh Street, from Bonham to Grand, $8,000
Grand, in front of the Salvation Army, $5,600
STREET IMPROVEMENTS; RECONSTRUCTION:
24th Street, from Polk to College, $416,000
Southeast Sixth Street, from Clarksville to Lamar, $104,000
Collegiate, from Clarksville Street to the creek, $940,000
STREET IMPROVEMENTS: RESURFACE:
Northeast 17th Street, from Lamar to Pine Bluff, $18,000
Northeast 17th Street, from Pine Bluff to Loop 286, $90,000
East Sherman, from South Church St. to Southeast Third Street, $10,000
Northwest Seventh Street, from Graham to Bonham, $34,000
Southwest Seventh Street, from Grand to Washington, $35,000
Graham Street, from Northwest First Street to Northwest 34th Street (sidewalks to 11th Street), $361,000
North Collegiate, from Lamar Avenue to Loop 286, $143,000
Trail de Paris parking lot on South Collegiate Drive, $70,000
“Because this is a significant investment in our city’s infrastructure – and hopefully the precursor of many more such projects – the council may want to consider having some sort of ground-breaking ceremony for one or more of these projects,” the city manager said.
The wastewater project on Eighth Street is an area where the city has had some drainage issues, Godwin said.
Three different sidewalk projects are included – the biggest being on either side of the Plaza on Lamar and Bonham streets. They were part of a grant application the city submitted in September but failed to win state approval.
The council had expressed particular concern last fall with the sidewalk on the north side of Bonham Street between Northwest First and Northwest Second streets, beside the old Capital One bank building.
“There is a trip hazard on Bonham, and I believe councilwoman Lancaster mentioned seeing a woman fall because of the difference in the level of the sidewalk. That’s a really bad spot, and that hazard will go away,” Godwin said.
Mayor AJ Hashmi asked if the sidewalk work will have to be redone at a later time when water and sewer lines are replaced, and Godwin said the street would have to be dug up, but not the sidewalks.
The YWCA on Lamar Avenue east of the Plaza also will get a new sidewalk, as will the Salvation Army on Grand.
The sewer work, on Oak between Southeast Eighth and Ninth streets include some drainage work where two residential properties suffer periodic flooding.
There are three street reconstruction projects – at Southeast 24th Street, Southeast Sixth Street, and Collegiate – plus eight road resurfacing projects.
“You may look at the list of 11 street projects on the list and say, those are not the worst 11 streets in the whole town. Why are you doing them first?” Godwin said.
“It’s because the worst streets in the entire town have water lines and sewer lines underneath them that we’re going to have to dig up. The streets on this list need to be done, and they’re projects we can do without having to worry about digging them up later on to replace water and sewer lines.”
Work on Collegiate will include paving a parking lot for the Trail de Paris, and work on Graham will include several blocks of replacement sidewalk.
The water and wastewater projects can begin immediately, the city manager said.
“We plan to bid concrete work almost as quickly and get work started in March. Asphalt work typically should not begin until April due to temperature concerns, so those projects will be at the end,” Godwin said.
Altogether, there will likely be five different construction contracts awarded.
by CHARLES RICHARDS