Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2007

4th Street plans sent back again

March 14, 2007

It's back to the drawing board for the third phase of Fourth Street's renovation project.

On Monday night, city officials rejected a new plan for Fourth Street that would shift power lines from the north side of the street to the south side.

This continues a long struggle between Fourth Street residents like Duane Nible, who don't want to give up any more property to the city, and those who see the safety benefits of a sidewalk in the area.

"This is emotional," said Brian Kingsley of BG Consultants, the city's engineering firm. "Anytime you start messing with someone's property it's emotional. I don't think anybody is trying to impact anybody intentionally."

The proposed design would add sidewalks on the south side of Fourth to Village Street. From Village east along the South Park subdivision, the walks would be on the north.

The plan would add nine new power poles and replace the older poles on the north side with newer poles. These new poles would then need a line to run over Fourth Street to connect with those on the south side.

Poles with service lines running across the street would need a 20- by-40- foot easement to anchor the poles securely to the ground, increasing the current number of guy and anchor points by 14.

Residents who live on the north side of Fourth Street say this would encroach too much on their properties.

Paula Crook, who lives on the north side of Fourth Street, said the new easements and guy anchors would virtually take out her driveway.

"The impact on my yard is that I'm going to have to start parking on the dang street," she said. "When you buy your property you buy it as it is. You don't expect someone to come it in and do some renovation so my neighbors can feel safe walking down the street."

But there was a possible silver lining in all of this.

When Kingsley requested the estimate from Westar to relocate the poles to the south side of the street, a Westar technician wrote a letter saying Westar would replace the existing T-shaped poles with taller poles. These taller poles would help put the power lines above the tree line and the poles would not extend into the property as much as the T-shaped poles.

Kingsley said he planned to look into better alignment of the utility poles, but noted this would help the tree situation.

"If they stay on the north side and they are higher (the trees) will need to be trimmed, but they will need to be trimmed less," Kingsley said.

The new plan would also include gas and telephone lines on the south side and fiber optic, water and electrical lines on the north.

Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, said she wants to keep moving forward with the project, but foresees the next delay may come from safety issues with a crosswalk on Village Street.

"If it gets delayed too much longer there won't be a project this year," she said.

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