Street projects move forward

Wapakoneta city administrators moved three street projects closer to realization Monday when three ordinances received their first reading during the Wapakoneta City Council meeting.

Safety-Service Director Bill Rains can advertise for bids, negotiate a contract for design plans and develop specifications for repaving West Mechanic Street from South Blackhoof Street to West Auglaize Street as well as a section of Short Road from newly constructed Progress Drive to County Road 25A, if the two ordinances gain council approval on its third reading.

The third piece of legislation is a resolution declaring a necessity to construct curbs, gutters and sidewalks for the East Benton Street project from Water Street to the CSX railroad tracks and for that portion of the street improvement to be paid through special assessment.

Mayor Rodney Metz explained Short Road will continue to use state funds for widening and paving a section of the road. A longer section of the street will be reopened if funds are available. He noted Issue 1 funds are being used on the East Benton Street project.

“If it were not for the grants, we wouldn’t be able to do these street projects,” Metz told the Wapakoneta Daily News after Monday’s council meeting. “The way the city’s finances are set up right now and the time periods they all happen — at this point in time since they fall at different times — we should not have any problem since they are to be completed in the next two to three years.”

The East Benton Street project, with an engineer’s estimated cost of $810,000, is a full-depth reconstruction project with replacement of water, sanitary and stormwater sewer systems. Sanitary and stormwater sewer systems will be separated.

Legislation read for the first time Monday will provide an estimate for assessments for curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Sidewalks will be reviewed by Engineering Department personnel to see if it needs replaced.

A change in the process includes a public hearing earlier in the process in order to receive public input on the project.

“They want to have an East Benton Street project meeting for the first part of January to go over street layout, sidewalk assessments and driveway approaches as well as to inform residents about possible replacement of their utilities, especially natural gas,” Metz said. “The natural gas company will replace the main line but they will replace the lateral to the property if they request it and we, as the city, will do the same with the main lines and laterals for water and sanitary.”

4th Ward Councilor Dan Graf announced a meeting is scheduled for Jan. 10, but no time has been set yet.

Metz said the East Benton Street project will be completed in 2012 as well as the West Mechanic Street overlay project. The city is bidding out the paving portion, but city crews will replace curb and gutter.

During Monday’s meeting, councilors continued to debate if curbs and gutters should be the financial responsibility of the city and not assessed to the property owner.

1st Ward Councilor Jim Neumeier argued  curbs and gutters should be considered part of the street and thus the city’s responsibility.

Councilors-at-large Tom Finkelmeier Jr. and Steve Walter explained federal money would not permit assessments on a couple state-funded projects and defended the assessment process.

Metz also explained the city will use money in the Job Ready Sites fund created to help with improvements to gain state certification for the 471-acre West Central Ohio Industrial Center. The money are state funds to improve the park.

Since the Progress Drive project came under budget, JRS money is still available for another project and Short Road was selected.

The third project for 2012 is to repave Rauthland, Wagner and Douglas streets using Scrap Tire Amnesty Grant, through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to use recycled tires for a repaving project. The grant requires a 50 percent match from the city.

Metz explained the East Auglaize Street project is scheduled for 2013 and the West Auglaize Street project is for 2014 or later. Both will use state grant money.