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U-TURN: Council to follow street plan
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This illustration depicts the citys 2013 street reconstruction project. The shaded sections of street are slated for reconstruction. A total of 1,298 linear feet of sanitary sewer will be replaced, as indicated by the red lines. - photo by Robert Callahan photo

Upon further review, the Fennimore Common Council has made a U-turn  and is returning to its original route in regards to the city’s 2013 street reconstruction plans.

The council approved a five-year street reconstruction plan last January. Per the plan, 11th Street – Coolidge Street to Adams Street, Coolidge Street – 10th Street to 12th Street, Cleveland Street – 10th to 11th Street, and Adams Street – 11th to 12th Street, were scheduled to be reconstructed later this year.

During a discussion of engineering work related to the city’s 2013 street reconstruction projects on Jan. 14, the council was advised a change to the plan may be in order.

Video surveillance showed a collapse of a portion of the clay tile on 11th Street, the council learned. Rather than reconstruct Adams Street – 11th Street to 12th Street, Biddick suggested work on 11th Street extend beyond Coolidge Street westward toward Garfield Street.

Fennimore’s Interim Director of Public Works Barry Belstra and Dennis Biddick of KD Engineering Consultants asked the council to reconsider during a meeting Monday evening, Feb. 11.

“Barry and I looked at the street and both agree,” Biddick said. “It was just chip-sealed recently and we really would rather not tear up that westerly block of 11th Street from Coolidge to Garfield.

“But there is a sanitary collapse about 60 feet into that line, so we should go in and replace the first 80 feet. We recommend just patching that street until it is time for that street to be fully reconstructed.

“Last month we looked at deleting Adams Street from this year’s project and replacing it with that westerly block off 11th Street. We are asking you to reconsider that and go back to the original proposal of reconstructing Adams Street and leaving that westerly block of 11th Street.”

City Clerk Margaret Sprague asked Biddick if he had crunched preliminary budget numbers for the street reconstruction project.

Biddick noted his preliminary numbers include $205,000 for the project, but cautioned that estimate does not include excavation costs.

At the conclusion of the discussion the Council unanimously approved the reconstruction of 11th Street – Coolidge Street to Adams Street, Coolidge Street – 10th Street to 12th Street, Cleveland Street – 10th to 11th Street, and Adams Street – 11th to 12th Street later this year.

The first item on the meeting’s agenda included time for public comments of residents who live in the neighborhood of this year’s street reconstruction projects.

Belstra provided a summary of the project for the three residents in attendance, Steve and Christy Cooley, and Dan Bender.
“Basically, we are just looking at reconstruction and replacement of underground,” Belstra said. “It would be water main on Coolidge Street and sanitary sewer on 11th Street.

“We’ll be pulling the blacktop off and starting the underground first. Once the underground is completed we would grade, finish grade and then install curb and blacktop.

“The project is going to be a few months long, but we won’t keep people out of their houses that long. We will do part of it and try to make access available.”

The Cooleys spoke with Belstra earlier in the day on Monday and voiced no objections to the project. Steve addressed the possible removal of a partial sidewalk near his home.

 “I don’t care if that disappears,” he said. “That is less to shovel.”

LED bulbs for Christmas decorations

The potential purchase of colored LED bulbs for the city’s Christmas decorations has been put on hold.

“The place we were talking with are out of the colored bulbs,” Mayor Charles Stenner said.

The LED lights would replace bulbs in the garland that wraps Lincoln Avenue street lights during the holidays, as well as the wreaths that hang from the lights.

Each length of garland includes 25 bulbs, and each wreath includes 20 bulbs and three flame bulbs.

Forty-four Lincoln Avenue street lights are decorated each holiday season.

Alderpson David Streif noted he has received three calls from constituents regarding the LED bulbs.

“One said they wanted white, one said they wanted colored and one didn’t care and wanted to know why we were buying LED lights anyway,” he said with a laugh.

Stenner said the debate of colored versus white LED bulbs has become a topic of conversation throughout the city.

“We brought this up to you not to be a serious thing, and it hasn’t been, but it has created a lot of controversy” he said. “It has been fun walking downtown and everything because everybody has a comment on it.”

Sprague said colored LED bulbs may not be available until July.

The council, along with a multitude of boy scouts who attended the meeting, ventured to the former fire station in the Memorial Building and viewed two wreaths with sample LED bulbs.