Butterfield street project will be delayed

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Although Butterfield residents approved a $200,000 general bond issue on April 8, the city's street improvement project may not begin until sometime next year.

Last month, Algeier, Martin and Associates, of Joplin, completed a cost estimate for the street improvement project. The company determined that the project will cost the city over $500,000. The estimate includes repair and improvements to First, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Walnut, Main, Maple and Chestnut streets.

"The estimate was based on repairing and paving the roads with double chip and seal," said Georgia Wenell, Butterfield city clerk. "With the prices of gas skyrocketing, the bid is probably already considered outdated, but it will give us a rough idea of how much money we need to have."

Wenell added that the project cost could also increase because additional streets could need to be added to the plan.

"We could do the plan in parts, but the conditions of our streets are so bad that it would be very difficult to select certain streets that need to be fixed worse than others," said Wenell. "We hope to be able to do all of the streets together."

In order to complete all of the street improvements at the same time, the city has researched possible alternative funding options.

"Voters approved the $200,000 general bond issue, but we can only finance around $100,000 with our current revenue," said Wenell. "We plan to apply for rural development assistance, which can give us a 55 percent match."

The city also plans to apply for a Missouri Department of Economic Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which could provide up to $400,000 in grant funds.

"The CDBG grant dispersal period was over in May," said Wenell. "So, any funding we might receive from that we will not see until next spring."

Wenell plans to submit grant applications for the CDBG program and the Department of Agriculture Rural Development program later this year. After the city receives approval for grant monies, an engineer will be hired to complete the street improvement project plan.

"If we receive the $55,000 from Rural Development and $400,000 from CDBG, we will have enough to repair and improve all of the streets, and the city will only pay around 20 percent of the project costs," said Wenell.

Although city residents will not see the comprehensive street improvement project begin until sometime next year, city officials have pursued options to repair street damage that occurred during recent flooding.

"Our streets were never properly repaired after the sewer system was installed," said Wenell. "When it rains, we get sink holes on the streets over the areas were the sewer was installed.

"We are applying for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)," said Wenell. "We should be able to make temporary repairs with that assistance. We hope those repairs will hold until next year when we can start the improvement project."

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