At last week’s regularly scheduled meeting, Grand Rapids City Councilors listened to a presentation on the Fifth St. and Eighth Ave. construction improvements, then approved assessments as presented.
City Engineer Matt Wegwerth said the Fifth St. project extended from Sixth Avenue Northwest to Eighth Ave. Northeast. Improvements along Fifth St. include the installation of ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps, a full mill and overlay, replacement of cracked sidewalks and red stamped concrete at the intersection of First Ave. Northwest.
A segment of Eighth Ave. extending from Highway 169 to Seventh St. received a mill and overlay as well as sidewalk along the east portion of the road. Wegwerth noted that the sidewalk construction was funded by a grant from Safe Routes To Schools. He added that a pedestrian island was incorporated at the intersection of Fifth St. to help improve safety.
The third portion of the project extends along Eighth Ave. between highways 2 and 169. That segment of Eighth Avenue received a full reconstruction. A center turn lane and dedicated right turn lane at U.S. 169 were added to this portion of Eighth Ave.
The final leg of construction along Eighth Ave. extends from Highway 2 to the Horn Bridge. Wegwerth said that portion of Eighth Ave. had received a partial reconstruction, consisting of a reclaim and overlay. Improvements also included curb and gutter as well as the replacement of the sidewalk on the east side of the road. The cost of the sidewalk replacement was also funded by a grant from Safe Routes To Schools.
Wegwerth said the total cost of the project was $4,233,870. Of that cost, about $1.7 million was funded by grants or state and federal money. Assessments will fund $381,436 of the cost. Public Utilities and storm water funds also were tapped for the construction leaving about $1,907,102 to be funded by general obligation bonds.
In describing the assessment portion of the project, Wegwerth said that the city would use a 32’ wide residential street project as a model and then assess 40 percent of the cost to those residents within the project benefit area. He defined the benefit area as being one-half block wide on either side of the affected road centerline. On non-residential overlay projects, Wegwerth said 60 percent of the total cost of the project would be assessed to properties in the benefit area. On the reconstruction portion of the project, 40 percent of the total cost would be assessed to those non-residential properties in the project’s benefit area.
Residents living along the portion of the project that received a mill and overlay would be assessed at a rate of $8.20 per foot. The shorter dimension of a corner lot would be used to calculate the assessments of corner lots.
The city engineer concluded his remarks by discussing the remaining steps in the special assessment process. He said that special assessment notices had been sent to all affected residents. Those residents have 30 days to prepay all or a portion of the assessment with no penalty. Residents electing not to prepay will have their assessments spread over 15 years at an approximate interest rate of 1.88 percent. The council voted unanimously to levy the assessments as presented.
In other business, the council:
• Accepted the low bid of $4,400 from Keller Fence Company to construct a small dog enclosure at the Veteran’s Park dog park.
• Voted to purchase a Polaris Brutus sidewalk and trail maintenance vehicle from Ray’s Sport & Cycle at a cost of $43,707.58
• Approved the vacation of a portion of Houghton Avenue right-of-way adjacent to block 65 in the plat of Grand Rapids.
• Approved distribution of a draft environmental worksheet on a 140-acre parcel located at the southeast corner of the intersection between Highways 38 and 61. Hawkinson Construction who initiated the study wishes to mine non-metallic aggregate at the site.
• Adopted a variance for sewer connections along a portion of Third St. Northwest.
• Voted to enter into a professional services agreement with Springsted & Associates not to exceed $6,500 for the purpose of evaluating employee compensation.