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home : news : news Friday, April 29, 2016

2/22/2014 Email this articlePrint this article 
Bids ready for DeWitt's Eighth Street reconstruction

By Mary Rueter
Managing editor

The DeWitt City Council Monday, Feb. 17, took the first steps in the Eighth Street reconstruction project, slated to get under way in late April.

The project calls for reconstruction of the street from approximately 400 feet west of East Fourth Avenue to Third Avenue, including the installation of new water main and sanitary sewer; and sidewalks, where necessary. Most of the existing storm sewer is in good shape and will be reused.

The project will be completed in two phases at the discretion of the contractor. Either portion may be done first; however, the eastern portion must be open to thru traffic during the Clinton County Fair, July 16-20.

The original estimate for the work was $800,000. Bids on the 200-day project will be opened March 12 at 2 p.m. The council is expected to award the contract at the March 17 meeting.

A public meeting about the project will be held the following week.

The only member of the public to attend Monday's public hearing was Alan Kagemann, who complained about the 31-foot width of the new street.

"It's a disaster on 10th Street," he said. "It's so narrow, it stops traffic when cars are parked on both sides."

City administrator Steve Lindner explained the rationale for narrower streets is safety. "Discomfort results in safer driving," he said. "Wider streets make people think they can drive faster."

City councilman Kurt Ketelsen commented it also costs more money to make streets wider - and eventually to replace them.

Kagemann characterized Eighth Street as a main thoroughfare to the school, but Linder corrected him, saying it is a residential street and although traffic on Eighth, 10th and 11th streets all leads to the school, the parking area at the high school is on the east side, which sends more traffic down 11th Street.

"I'm against narrowing the street," Kagemann reiterated. "Can it still be changed?"

Because it is a residential street, the state standard calls for it to be 31 feet wide, he was told.

Later in the meeting, the council approved the plans, specifications and form of contract for the project and also set a public hearing for Monday, March 3, during the regular council meeting on the sale of not more than $4 million in general obligation bonds. The bonds will fund the project and also refinance callable bonds in the amount of $2.45 million, which will save the city about $250,000 over 10 years.

Band shell update

The council continued discussion of the proposed band shell for Lincoln Park. Organizer Jerry Jackson has placed cones in the park to outline the proposed placement of the structure. He said he still is soliciting donations for the band shell.

Lindner said there are concerns about the location and visibility into the park as well as the presence of an ash tree that may need to be removed. Jackson replied he has contacted Guardian Glass about the use of tempered glass on the sides of the band shell to improve visibility.

The city administrator commented about feeling rushed to make decisions and suggested the council take time to consider all the things that are necessary, including ADA accessibility, in order to do the project correctly.

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