By ANDY MCCAMMON
The Brazil Board of Public Works and Safety awarded a contract Thursday that will complete last year's portion of a court-ordered overhaul of the city's sidewalks.
The board accepted a bid of $65,965 from Brazil-based Artistic Construction to finish the slate of sidewalk repairs scheduled for 2005. The city council has appropriated $140,000 for sidewalk repairs over the next year, which will cover the Artistic contract and a portion of the rehabilitation scheduled for 2006.
Mayor Tom Arthur said the bid was lower than expected, meaning the city will be able to dig into the 2006 repair schedule sooner than expected.
"There were several streets that didn't get done (last year) due to lack of funds," Arthur said. "(Now) instead of being a year behind, we'll only be six months behind."
A federal court order stemming from a 2001 lawsuit filed by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union prompted the city to undertake the sidewalk project. City officials were given until the end of 2005 to bring Brazil sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, though the deadline was later extended to 2008.
The initiative was divided into two phases: Phase I would address sidewalks along major traffic arteries -- including Pinckley, Hendrix and Jackson streets -- while Phase II tackled walkways on smaller streets.
With Phase I complete, Phase II -- with projects scheduled over a four-year span from 2005 to 2008 -- is now in full swing.
More than 4,000 feet of the sidewalks lining Vandalia, Lambert and Illinois streets were rehabilitated last year, but the city still fell considerably short of its goal -- 10 of the 13 streets scheduled for repair in 2005 fell through the cracks.
Sidewalks on Coal, Compton, Halbert and Oak streets were among those whose 2005 repairs were scratched when funds for the project dried up.
"Lambert and Vandalia were such large projects, it ate up pretty much everything we anticipated spending," Arthur said.
The biggest jobs on the 2006 repair schedule include portions of Robinson, Colfax, North and Washington streets. A total of 5,745 feet of sidewalk were originally slated for this year.
"We'll just continue to go down the list until we're out of money," Arthur said.