Sunday, October 19, 2014

Summer street repairs expected to top $1M

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 5/26/2014

In what would be the most ambitious street-improvement schedule in perhaps decades, the City of Ottawa has released a list of 28 projects slated for completion this summer and fall as it looks to spend $1.1 million to upgrade trafficways and sidewalks.

Refinancing a pair of Kansas Department of Health and Environment street revolving loan funds is helping pave the way for more street and sidewalk improvements this year in Ottawa.

In what would be the most ambitious street-improvement schedule in perhaps decades, the City of Ottawa has released a list of 28 projects slated for completion this summer and fall as it looks to spend $1.1 million to upgrade trafficways and sidewalks.

Refinancing a pair of Kansas Department of Health and Environment street revolving loan funds is helping pave the way for more street and sidewalk improvements this year in Ottawa.

Ottawa city commissioners have authorized the public sale of about $8.2 million in general obligation refunding and improvement bonds. The city is refinancing 2001 and 2008 KDHE loans to take advantage of more favorable interest rates. At the same time, the city also is issuing about $900,000 in street improvement bonds, Scott Bird, the city’s finance director, said.

Combining the refinancing of the street revolving loan funds with the new bonds for street improvements — which would include about $250,000 for sidewalk upgrades — would save the city the expense of paying issuance costs for two separate bond issues, Bird said.

The $900,000 improvement bond issue — coupled with what already was budgeted for street repairs in 2014 — would give the city an opportunity to complete $1.1 million in street improvements this year, city officials said.

“That’s $1.1 million that we are looking at putting into streets and sidewalks,” Sara Caylor, city commissioner, said. “That’s a huge number that we’re looking at improving the streets that all of our citizens drive up and down every single day.”

The city has partnered with the Kansas Department of Transportation on some large road projects in recent years, Bird said.

“This [$1.1 million] is the biggest amount I can remember for city [financed] street work — I won’t say since I’ve worked here because my memory doesn’t go back that far,” Bird said, laughing. Bird has worked for the city for 33 years — the past 21 as finance director. “It’s the largest in many years.”

Richard Nienstedt, city manager, and Bird have told city commissioners at recent study sessions the $1.1 million would equate to more than four years worth of street improvement projects.

“This is probably more than four times as much work that we would normally get done in a year’s time, so we’re very much looking forward to these improvements,” Bird told the city commission at its meeting Wednesday.

Mike Skidmore, city commissioner and a banker, pointed out funding costs are at an all-time low.

“This is one of the reasons why we’re moving ahead several years with our project to take advantage of lower priced monies we can borrow through the bonds,” Skidmore said.

Bird agreed lower interest rates are what facilitated the $8.2 million bond sale.

“The majority of that is refinancing two state revolving loans, and if the rates stay down through June 4 [bond sale] then we should be able to save several thousand dollars for the community in the lifetime of those two issues,” Bird said. “While we’re doing that, we ponied this particular [street improvement] project on so that we don’t have to incur the issuance fees two times. We can just incur that one time this year.”

If the bond sale goes forward as planned June 4, the city should receive delivery of funds June 19, Bird said. He estimated the street improvements would begin in July.

“The work couldn’t start until after we get the funds [June 19],” Bird said. “I know we are eager to get started.”

Improvements authorized by city commissioners Wednesday would include streets or portions of streets designated as main trafficways or trafficway connections — one of the requirements for the bond issue — including asphalt mill and overlay or concrete rehabilitation, upgrading intersections to be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, as well as related curb and gutter and sidewalk improvements.

The following locations are targeted for improvements this summer:

• South Ash Street from West Seventh Street to West Eighth Street.

• South Ash Street from West Ninth Street to West Eighth Street;

• South Ash Street from West Ninth Street to West 10th Street;

• South Ash Street from West Sixth Street to West Fourth Street;

• South Ash Street from West Second Street to West Third Street;

• South Ash Street from West Third Street to West Fourth Street;

• South Ash Street from West Sixth Street to West Seventh Street;

• South Cedar Street from East Ninth Street to East Eighth Street;

• South Cedar Street from East 11th Street to East Ninth Street;

• South Cedar Street from East 15th Street to East 11th Street;

• North Cherry Street from Powhattan Street to Massasoit Street;

• North Cherry Street from Massasoit Street to Red Jacket Street;

• North Cherry Street from Red Jacket Street to Blackhawk Street;

• South Walnut Street from West Sixth Street to West Fifth Street;

• South Walnut Street from West Sixth Street to West Seventh Street;

• South Willow Street from West Seventh Street to West Ninth Street;

• South Willow Street from West 14th Street to 13th Street;

• South Willow Street from West 12th Street to 11th Street;

• South Willow Street from West 11th Street to 10th Street;

• South Willow Street from West 10th Street to Ninth Street;

• East Wilson Street from North Birch Street to North Cherry Street;

• East Wilson Street from North Cherry Street to North Mulberry Street;

• East Wilson Street from North Mulberry Street to North Cedar Street;

• East First Street from South Cedar Street to South Hickory Street;

• East 11th Street from South Cedar Street to South Hickory Street;

• East 11th Street from South Hickory Street to South Main Street;

• West 13th Street from South Ash Street to South Pine Street;

• East 23rd Street from Montana Road to South Cedar Street.

“Some of those will be asphalt improvements, some of those will be concrete improvements,” Bird said, “but again, we’re going to see four times the improvements we would normally see in any given year.”

comments powered by Disqus