Paving won’t start before new year

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Downtown streets may finally see some new paving, but a cityboard desire to not inconvenience holiday shoppers means the workstill will not be done for several more months.

Aldermen voted Tuesday night to seek bids for the paving projectbut stipulated that the work should not start before the first ofthe year. If possible, related handicap accessibility sidewalk workcould be done before then.

“We don’t want this to be done right during the merchants’Christmas season,” Mayor Bob Massengill said in initiating Tuesdaynight’s discussion. “We also don’t want to put off something wefeel should have been done long ago.”

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Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes recalled the Whitworth fireloop water project a few years ago that resulted in some discomfortas the street and water line work was done. Wanting to avoid arepeat of that situation, she indicated it was too late to startthe project now.

“We’re already in the shopping season,” Estes said

For the paving project, the city has accumulated more than$500,000 on federal funding, which must be matched by 20 percentlocal funds.

Later in the meeting, Massengill said the local match was notbudgeted this year because the project was expected to be done lastyear. The city has set aside $125,000 for paving in this year’sbudget.

Massengill said the required local match could take asignificant portion of those funds. He said the board would have todiscuss what other paving could be done this year.

“We’ve got to look at what we can do financially,” the mayorsaid.

In a related matter, Alderman at large Les Bumgarner requestedthe city put in new temporary parking striping where needed indowntown.

“A lot of lines, you can’t tell if it’s angle parking orparallel parking,” Bumgarner said.

The board approved the alderman’s request.

“We’ll get started on that just as quickly as we can,”Massengill said.

Regarding another slow-developing city project, Ward OneAlderman Dorsey Cameron questioned the status of the proposedMulti-Modal Transportation Facility. He indicated some citizens hadinquired about whether the project was moving forward.

“If we’re not going to have one, I’m ready to tell them we’renot,” Cameron said.

For the project, the city has been allocated $4 million infederal funds which must be matched with 20 percent local funds.Aldermen have approved a scaled-back $2 million version of thefacility for which the city’s match would be the donation of theland site on North Railroad Avenue.

Massengill said the update on the facility would involve alengthy discussion. With Tuesday night’s meeting already havinglasted more than two hours, he requested the board wait until theNov. 16 board meeting to discuss the facility.

“We’ll lay out the entire plan and where we are with that,”Massengill said.

Questioned after meeting, Massengill said he was expecting tolearn more about the facility status within the next month. He saidhe could then relay more information to the board and provide aclearer picture of the situation then.

Also in the facility area, aldermen approved a request fromCellular South to place an antenna on the old smokestack. Phonecompany officials said the antenna would help improve coverage inits service area.

The city will be paid $18,000 a year for the space. Massengillsaid other companies also may locate antennae on the stack if theychoose.

“If we could get several more, we’d be doing well,” the mayorsaid.

Prior to Tuesday night’s meeting, the city held a public hearingon its 2005 application for a Community Development Block Grant.The city is applying for a $425,000 grant to help repair a stormdrain in Ward Three.

Planner Roy Geoghegan said the more matching funds the city cancontribute, the better its chances of getting the grant. The citylast year committed up to $51,000 for the estimated $501,000project, which did not receive a grant.

Geoghegan said new estimates needed to be finalized. He hoped tohave those in early November in order for the application to besubmitted in December.

“We do need to start fine-tuning this application,” Geoghegansaid.