Archive for Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Citizens not keen about road projects

June 14, 2006

One group of residents is displeased with how construction has altered its neighborhood, while residents on another street are concerned about what renovations could do to their property.

Village Terrace and East Fourth Street residents spoke extensively during open session at Monday's City Council meeting.

Residents on Village Terrace voiced concern about how crews were restoring their lawns near the street's new curb and sidewalk. The project included a total rebuild, substantially altering the street and adding a sidewalk on the west side.

But residents, such as William Mikijanis, complained about the replanting of their lawns.

"I'm not really happy with the dirt work there," Mikijanis said. "We were told there would be black dirt on top of the original dirt."

Mikijanis also said city workers told residents the grass would be watered twice a week, which he said wouldn't be an ample amount this time of year.

City superintendent Butch Rodgers said the timing is such because construction season falls in the summer months.

Rodgers also mentioned that the city would reseed the grass, if it needed to be done, in the fall.

Resident Mike Larson said his issue centered on rocks being kicked into the reseeded areas.

"The dirt I'm not so worried about as the rocks pushed down into the lawn area," Larson said.

Rodgers said he would inspect the lawns and work to remove the rocks.

Mayor Dave Taylor said the council would work with the residents to ensure the issues are taken care of.

"We're here to help you," Taylor said.

Improvements on East Fourth Street, meanwhile, haven't started. But some residents who live in that neighborhood stressed two things as the city continues plans for renovating the road: they don't want their mature trees taken down and they prefer to not have any sidewalks.

Brian Kingsley, with BG Consultants, the city's engineering firm, showed the council and residents two modified scenarios.

One would involve installation of a 12-inch water main on the north side of the street with gas and telephone lines redirected to the south side with a 31-foot wide street. An additional 8 feet of right of way would be needed on the north side and 5 feet of utility easement on the south side for utilities.

The second scenario includes the same water, street and utility configuration with the addition of a 5-foot sidewalk on the north side. This would require an additional 7 feet of right of way on the north compared to the first scenario and the same 5-foot utility easement on the south side.

"It's not a scenario in which we're trying to impact anyone adversely," Kingsley said.

Paula Crook, who lives in the 1400 block of Fourth Street, said when her family moved to their current residence, they planted trees and had to move them back once. She doesn't want that to happen again.

"I don't want them trimmed, Crook said. "If they're trimmed, we trim them.

"We didn't plant those trees so they could be chopped away."

Crook also said the trees act as an energy saver during the summer months.

"Shade is a valuable commodity, especially these times of the year," Crook said. "When you go cutting down people's shade, it makes a difference."

City Administrator Mike Yanez said some residents are in favor of the project, more specifically the possibility of having a sidewalk along the road.

But residents at the meeting balked at Yanez's comments.

"I don't see them here," someone in the crowd muttered.

Kingsley said he planned to have another public meeting with citizens about the project, but a date wasn't set at Monday's meeting.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.