By CECILIA FOX
Record Herald Writer
Courtesy of the Record Herald; Printed 2.8.13
TIPP CITY – One of the biggest city construction projects of 2013 could be starting as early as next month.
The downtown reconstruction and streetscape project went out to bid on Feb. 4 and a contract should be awarded by early March. Construction is expected to begin in mid-to-late March and be completed by Oct. 15.
The project will completely reconstruct Main Street, adding new curbs, gutters, and sidewalks; new trees, trash cans, and benches; as well as new streetlights and traffic signals.
“This is not your typical street reconstruction project,” City Manager Jon Crusey said.
The renovations under the street include the replacement of aging water and sewer lines.
A revised estimate from Choice One Engineering puts the cost of the project at approximately $3,345,200. The city’s budget for the project is $3,380,000.
“It’s a very conservative estimate,” Crusey said. “Most of the project had been coming in well under the engineer’s estimate, as we saw on South Third Street and some of the other projects Choice One has done.”
One of the major challenges of the project is expected to be the 10 days when the intersection of Main Street and First Street and part of State Route 571 are closed. The excavation required to replace utilities deep underground means that the area will be closed to traffic.
Incentives and penalties have been included in the contract to limit the amount of time that State Route 571 and the intersection are closed. An incentive of $1,000 will be offered to the contractor for each day under the 10 scheduled days that the intersection is closed.
Conversely, a penalty of $1,500 will be imposed for each day beyond the deadline that the construction is not complete.
“So if they can do it in seven days, we’d be more than happy to pay them $3,000 for getting in and out as fast as they can,” Crusey said.
Likewise, a $1,000 incentive will be offered for each day that the entire streetscape project is completed ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline up to $30,000. A $1,500 penalty will be imposed for every day the project is not completed past the deadline.
“We would love for them to be done a month ahead of time, but we seriously doubt that’s going to happen,” Crusey said. “But there is the potential for them to make some money if they can get done a couple weeks early.”
Detours will be set up around Main Street during the construction, including a four-way stop at East Broadway and South First. The detour for the closing of Main Street between First and the railroad tracks will be Hyatt to Broadway to First.
Downtown parking will also be a challenge during construction. According to Crusey, some downtown residents are concerned that on-street parking spaces, which are already limited, will become even harder to find. One suggested solution was designated permit-only parking for residents, which Crusey said would be very difficult to regulate and enforce.
“From the other standpoint, this is a good problem to have. If there were not any parking issues downtown it would be because nobody was downtown,” Crusey said. “So the fact that there are parking issues downtown really means that you’ve got a healthy, vibrant downtown.”
Council also discussed the possibility of increasing the number of parking spaces by making West Dow Street one way during the construction. This would allow residents to park on both sides of the street.
During the meeting, Council gave their final approval to the ordinance that revises and codifies the city’s income tax ordinances which they have been discussing since December. In addition to adding the tax regulations to the code, the revisions include correcting some of the language to make the regulations easier to read, increasing the maximum fine for noncompliance from $500 to $1,000, and allowing the City to pass the extra costs of pursuing compliance (collection agency, court fees, and certified letters) on to the delinquent tax filer.
Two other approved ordinances for first included amendments to the sign and parking codes. The first, an amendment to the sign code, would allow commercial and industrial buildings larger than 150,000 square feet—like Meijer, Menards and Abbott—to use a maximum of 5 percent of the facade for attached signage. The current sign code allows for attached signs no larger than 80 square feet regardless of the size of the building.
The second ordinance would establish off-street parking requirements for the Fire/EMS Station. This amendment to the parking regulations would require one space per employee on the largest EMS shift and one space per employee based on the average emergency response for volunteer firefighters.
Council also set a date for the official dedication ceremony for the new ladder truck. The ceremony will be be held on March 9 at 11 a.m. at the fire station. Construction on the fire station is scheduled to begin on April 1.