Residents learn more about First Street project

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A public hearing hosted by the Cassville City Council to discuss proposed improvements to First Street drew a small crowd of about nine local residents to City Hall on Monday night.

Roger Berg, of Scott Consulting, was present at the hearing to provide an overview of the project, which included preliminary drawings of improvements that are being proposed.

"Right now the street is a hodge podge," said Berg. "There is curb and guttering off of Main Street and other portions of the road, and the idea is to duplicate that and be consistent from Main Street to First Christian Church on both sides of the street."

The street will also be widened in places so that the entire roadway is 30 feet wide from back of curb to back of curb. Plans also call for putting in storm sewers to help with water run-off, overlaying the entire street with two inches of asphalt and adding a turn lane at the intersection of First and Main streets.

Bob Mizer, a resident who lives along First Street, asked if the project also included adding a stoplight at that intersection.

"That's not part of the project right now," said City Administrator Mike Hayslip. "That would be very expensive. We think adding a turn lane will improve the traffic flow."

Berg explained that driveways and property affected by the street improvements would be returned to pre-construction condition.

"Embankments and slopes won't be made any steeper," said Berg. He also is suggesting that concrete aprons be constructed on each driveway entrance along First Street, which would be an improvement for many property owners.

City officials will not be constructing a sidewalk along First Street, because of cost, but there has been discussion about striping off a bike lane on the north side of the street.

"It's our goal to look within our resources and determine the best we can get for the money we have available," said Hayslip. "I think this project will be a huge improvement over what we have now."

Area residents were also cautioned by Berg that there would some inconvenience associated with the project.

"For a short period of time, maybe a half a day, people may have trouble getting in and out," said Berg. "But we will try to maintain access to all areas at all times."

If the project proceeds as planned, work would begin near the middle of September and end in mid-November. The city is planning to open bids on Aug. 28 with the bid award to be made at the Sept. 1 council meeting.

As of Monday night, Berg estimates the total project cost, including 10 percent contingency, at $466,238.50. This amount includes an anticipated increase in asphalt prices.

"Do it right has been the theme of this whole project," said Hayslip. "My goal is not to exceed $500,000. If we get over that, we need to back off somewhere."

At the conclusion of the public hearing, Berg said he would be finalizing the project plans over the next two to three weeks and have the project ready to bid by Aug. 6.

Monday night's public hearing was followed by a regularly scheduled city council meeting.

One item of business included the council's approval of a mid-year budget adjustment. Based on new budget figures presented by Darelyn Cooper, city finance officer, the city will end the year with $329,922 in its general revenue fund and $540,227 in its water and sewer fund.

These end-of-year revenue projections leave the city with at least three months of operating expenses in reserve for both funds.

"The general fund will be pretty tight with the First Street project this year," said Hayslip. "It's still my goal to replenish the reserves and get them up to $500,000 in the next year so we can do other projects."

In other business, the council:

* Paid bills totalling $114,496.13.

* Reviewed the Cassville Municipal Court Audit, which was conducted by the State Auditor's Office. Mayor Tracy Holle thanked Cooper for all her hard work and effort in cooperating with the state auditors. Cooper noted that the city had records that were easily accessible and complete all the way back to 1995. "This is a very well run operation," Cooper said.

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  • I think improvements to 1st Street is very much needed. I would like to see a side walk, but the bike lane does sound like a good compromise. The turn lane is a good idea, but I would also like to see a stop light. When turning off onto main street in a car that sets low, it is very difficult to see other small vehicles that are southbound. I don't know if it is the slope of the road, or just the plants at Fastrip that causes the blind spot. I admire the beauty of the plants, they add to the cleanliness and beauty of the town, but they can be hazardous too.

    -- Posted by k-n-m on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 1:24 AM
  • k-n-m: Thank you for your comments. While the city would like to buy the 'Cadillac' version of First Street/Old Exeter Road improvements, unfortunately, we can only afford improvements at a 'Buick' level.. Since I own two Buicks, it isn't all bad.

    As far as a light at the intersection, this is a significant cost ($1.2M plus) and this is just 50% of the overall cost. MoDOT would be responsible for the other half. Hopefully, as the city grows, we will develop the resources to be able to afford projects like this.

    We are working with Mr. Carr regarding the visibility at the First and Main intersection. Hopefully, when the project is complete, much will be improved along this area.

    -- Posted by mikehayslip on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 11:09 AM
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