Mayor Ann Bradshaw and Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen recently spoke to The Brazil Times about plans to start repaving roads later this month.
"We've spoken with Water Superintendent Jake Raubuch in order to double check for any leaks in water lines under the roads we are currently looking at so we don't pave the road and immediately have to tear it back up to replace or repair a line," McQueen said. "Once we are good to go on that, the only other variable will be the schedule of Wabash Valley Asphalt, which has the equipment to do the repaving."
Bradshaw said the ice storm in early February only worsened city streets, causing officials to add more streets to the priority list, which was created last year.
"All along, the goal has been to start repaving streets once the sidewalk project was finished," she said. "Unfortunately, the ice caused more damage to the streets, but the residents have been so helpful by calling in and letting us know about the trouble areas."
A few of the streets added to the list were East Lenox, East Olive and North Davis, which McQueen said were important cogs for the city and county.
"All those streets are used to either get to East Side Elementary or the hospital, so they are definitely high on the list," McQueen told The Brazil Times. "Other areas that are priorities are Lambert, Grant and Morgan streets."
A couple of the other aspects the city is looking into before starting to repave is how much money is available, and how far will it stretch.
"We are going to see what is in the Rainy Day and Cumulative Capital Development (CCD) funds for the work," McQueen said. "Our goal is to get a few streets done later this month, then a few more in late summer after the city receives its property tax distribution, some of which is allocated for the CCD Fund."
Bradshaw added, "It's going to take some time to get it all done, but we are looking at each street carefully to determine the best way to maximize the funding we have. Yes, some streets are really bad, but it's not a good use of taxpayer money to repave a half-mile of a specific road when only a couple hundred feet is in bad shape."
A reason for Bradshaw's logic to repave sections is to get as many areas fixed as they possibly can.
"Right now, the street department has been patching, which is only a stopgap until we can get things in line," she said. "If I could repave all the roads, I would, but the city simply does not have that amount of funding, but what we can do is repave several smaller sections to eliminate as many of the worst sections as we can."
Within the next week to 10 days, city officials anticipate having all the information they need to choose which roads they will start on first.
"Once we get everything in line, we should be able to start in the following couple of weeks," McQueen said. "When we, with the help of the county, repaved Pinckley Street, the process was pretty quick when everything was lined up and organized."
McQueen added the city will advertise what streets will be repaved as residents will have to be notified to remove their vehicles from the street to accommodate the work.
"Like Pinckley Street, the streets will be milled first then repaved," she said. "Although the sidewalk project is done, we are still setting aside some funding for maintenance, but when it comes to repaving streets, we are going to focus on the worst areas first, especially with the weather finally starting to break."