Posted 9/29/15 (Tue)
By Cecile Krimm
Planning is underway to make 2016 a construction year unlike any Crosby has seen in 50 years.
According to Mayor Bert Anderson, 50 to 60 blocks of paving, new sidewalks, curb and gutter, plus new water lines, will be installed at virtually no cost to taxpayers -- but it isn’t going to be pretty.
“It is going to be an inconvenience for the business people,” said Anderson, but “in the long term, it’s going to be a terrific benefit.”
If the hit to accessibility is hard to take, at least it’s not expected to cost taxpayers.
“The surge funding is what is going to be used for this,” said Anderson, referencing the $8.4 million earmarked by the legislature for Crosby’s use on infrastructure projects.
“It basically will be entirely used for water and sewer line, sidewalk, curb and paving,” he said.
Last week a Montana firm began the process of “televising” the city’s water and sewer lines to determine their condition. Much of the area downtown and a block to the east or west still has the original cast iron line and must be replaced, said Anderson.
Earlier this year, a smaller project televised six blocks of line and all six blocks were found in need of replacement.
The city council, at its September meeting, approved a task order to begin the process of designing next summer’s project.
“I hope there’s enough for all of it,” he added, but for sure, the city has not had the funds to do such a large-scale project since a 60-block paving project in 1966. According to Journal archives, that project cost the city just $200,000.
Anderson believes many of the sidewalks needing work in 2016 date back to that era.
The city also conducted major paving projects in 1995 and a widespread overlay in 2006.
The 2006 project, pegged at a cost of just over $1 million, elicited vehement protest on the part of property owners, many of whom are just now finishing up the payment of special assessments, which were spread out over 10 years. No such special assessment district will be created for the 2016 project.
Another difference is that this time, said Anderson, it will be new pavement. Multiple past overlays have created crowning on streets, with the center “humped up” to the point it is actually higher than the curbs.
That’s led to poor drainage and the collection of garbage in the gutters.
“The street sweeper can’t get into them to clean that as well as you should,” so debris is left behind. The accumulated debris then contributes to plugging of storm drains.
The 2016 project will take the streets down to the proper level and replace sagging, cracked and generally corroded sidewalks.
Main Street, from the funeral home to the courthouse, will be among the blocks replaced, and a block on either side. The balance of the work is strewn, two or three blocks in a row, all over the city, with one of the larger continuous areas located along 9th Street in Crosby Acres.