By Karen Cornelius
On Monday night, March 13, the Streets, Buildings, and Grounds Committee debated which streets would receive the city’s attention this year. Limited funding made choices even more difficult, but through the process of elimination a decision was finally made. The streets chosen were Birchview from Hollyview to West River, Woodside north of Liberty, and a section of Sailorway Drive.
Other streets in the running this year which did not make it for a variety of reasons were Rolling Meadows intersection with Mapleview, Hollyview, Highbridge Road, Lake, Washington, Sunnyside, and Larchmont. The Streets Committee seemed to make their spending limit circling $350,000. Hollyview was out due to the high price for paving. Lake and Washington were not in as poor condition as other streets on the lists. Highbridge Road was put off until after the replacement bridge was constructed. Putting some asphalt on Larchmont was considered a bandaid because the underlay was in terrible condition. Sunnyside was put off due to Brownhelm Township’s plan to apply for a grant to pave from the tracks south to the bridge stop.
As far as Rolling Meadows, city engineer Lynn Miggins explained to council members why that could be problematic this year. She said a Lorain County project to clean the Mapleview ditch would impact their plans. She said the deputy to the Lorain County Engineer’s Office told her this would be a special assessment project with the Brownhelm Township Trustees filing a petition to have the ditch cleaned. She said everyone in this water shed would pay for the cleaning with a portion of the ditch in the city. It would be a major project with trees, fences, sheds coming down, etc. Right now the plans are preliminary and there are no costs or start date. She said affected city residents would have to make their feelings known to Lorain County and the county commissioners would be holding public hearings. This is not a city project.
Additionally, the city engineer said Brownhelm Township has received a grant to replace a culvert on Mapleview near the intersection. Miggins explained because of these two pending projects there would have to be a lot of coordination with contractors to have the city do a paving project in that area as well. Councilman Fred Ostrander didn’t think it was fair to assess the city residents involved in the Mapleview ditch project. He said they pay taxes to Brownhelp Township and get nothing back. He said the township should pay their share. “I would vote against this,” said Ostrander. He was told city council can’t vote on a county project. It was decided due to the conflicts, that the city wouldn’t do Rolling Meadows intersection with Mapleview which was estimated at $210,344.44.
There was more debate about Sailorway and Larchmont because they weren’t on the engineer’s original list the committee was looking at in February. They were added at the request of council members to have the city engineer bring them costs. A section of Sailorway going up to a portion of Douglas in front of the new school was estimated to cost $162,328.99. The city engineer said they would grind off three inches of concrete and replace it with three inches of asphalt to improve the surface of this section. She said that would be an effective fix for that street.
The cost to improve Larchmont was estimated at $184,432.27. Council-at-large Monica Stark asked if there was some way to help Larchmont that would be less expensive and stop the tar bleeding situation. Perhaps a thin layer of asphalt to patch it. The city engineer said the street would be a complete tearout with a deep undercut removing poor soils and there was a need for new curbs and gutters. Miggins said the bleeding was too much Dura-patching.
Streets chairman Jim Forthofer thought they should be considering the original list with Birchview, Rolling Meadows, and Hollyview, not Sailorway and Larchmont. “Valley View continues to have the worst roads,” said Forthofer. Councilman Ostrander said Sailorway was cheaper per foot than Rolling Meadows and others, and experienced more traffic. Councilwoman Brady said the streets Forthofer wanted were all in Ward III and they should spread the repairs around the city, not one ward. It was pointed out that one section of Hollyview was $506,100 and the other section was $623,700 which was way out of their budget.
Council president Steve Herron agreed with Ostrander than Sailorway was worth doing this year. He said it was foolish to do Mapleview this summer and they should wait for the culvert and ditch to be done. “Everybody travels Sailorway, it’s an important avenue for the city,” said Herron. He said it’s a first impression for visitors off Route 60 and visiting sports teams. Ostrander agreed Sailorway was a gateway. Forthofer said if he were paying taxes he would disagree with Herron if he lived on Hollyview. He wondered what was more important, impressing visitors or paving roads for the residents’ benefit. Herron responded if they had the money he would repave Hollyview, but they don’t.
Councilman Frank Loucka stated that he would like to see Birchview paved this year with the engineer’s estimate at $99,790.77. He agreed Sailorway could be in the running. Councilwoman Brady said Sailorway could be used as a sample street, a model for a technique to be used down the road to save some other streets such as those in Edison Estates. She stated to diamond cut a cement street such as Sailorway could be an experiment for them. City engineer Miggins said councilman Ostrander was corect because this could be done on Sailorway because there were few potholes and no tipped slabs. However, this technique would not work in Valley View. She said Edison Estate streets could be helped with joint repairs and catch basin replacements.
Service director Tony Valerius informed council members that he and Mayor Eileen Bulan discussed with Brownhelm Township what they could do. It was said the township was going to tar and chip Cooper Foster from Claus to Baumhart and submit a grant for work on Sunnyside. He said they were meeting the trustees again on March 31. With Sunnyside off the table, councilwoman Brady suggested doing Woodside which was in ugly condition and was estimated around $83,000. Councilman Brian Holmes brought up Nicholson Drive and wished they could do a portion to reach the Lucy Idol Center. The city engineer said the problem was all the heavy construction traffic using this drive so repairs wouldn’t hold up.
From the audience, Neal Norris representing Edison Estates homeowners made another pitch for this development’s streets, and urged council to do a long-range plan so residents would know where their streets fall on the list. He thanked councilwoman Brady, the city engineer, and Tony Valerius for walking the streets with him. Brady responded fixing the catch basins and using some M&R money to seal cracks would help now and later perhaps this diamond cutting technique.
Streets chairman Forthofer proposed a motion to choose Sailorway, Birchview, and Woodside north of Liberty for their 2017 street funding choices. The motion passed unanimously.