Central City Council decides to widen Gregory while Lawrence Street project continues
By David Josselyn
The Central City Council met for a special session on Thursday, October 3rd, to decide once and for all whether Gregory Street should be widened for two-way traffic for the duration of the Lawrence Street Water Line Project. Mayor Ron Engels was absent, so Mayor Pro-tem Bob Spain conducted the meeting. Staff present included City Manager Alan Lanning, Finance Director Shannon Flowers, City Planner Robert Fejeran, Streets & Facilities Superintendent Joe Braccio, and others.
City Manager Lanning reviewed the information collected about the project with the council. After reviewing the time and materials estimate from the contractor, Lanning believes that a reasonable projection of the cost will range from $30,000 to $50,000. This cost would include a city staffer onsite for the duration of the project. The widening of Gregory would include the relocation of one Xcel Energy power pole, capping a fire hydrant, prepping the creek side of the street, excavation of three points on the hillside, and adding signage on both ends indicating that businesses remain open during the project. Lanning would like the cost for the Black Hawk Central City Sanitation District to be less than they originally offered since they have no specific benefit from this widening project. This is a temporary widening and not intended to be permanent.
Alderman Kathy Heider commented that the reason to make this project change is due to the flood damage resulting in increased traffic through Central. Mayor Pro-tem Spain agreed with this assessment.
Alderman Gloria Gaines stated for the record that she “will not go back on a decision Council has made when challenged by an entity,” and therefore this change is “not an indicator of precedence.” Alderman Gaines also stated that communication (with the council) needs to be better. “We have held several meetings on this and we gave public notice on all those meetings and if someone would like more information, they can call city staff,” continued Gaines. The council voted on this since it was perceived as an “immediate threat” and did not want to go through the winter with this water line problem. Alderman Gaines concluded saying “As a council, we are tasked to do what is best for the city as a whole.” Spain supported Gaines commentary saying, “We need more input from the businesses on a project such as this.”
Alderman Shirley Voorhies communicated her agreement that it is not okay to have the council change their mind on decisions already made.
Motion to widen carries
Alderman Heider moved to approve option 3 to widen Gregory Street to two-way traffic and have staff “babysit the project” to keep costs down. Alderman Voorhies seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously. Having no further business, Spain adjourned the meeting. The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be Tuesday, October 15th.