By DENISE GRANT
Findlay administrators want a citywide study of street conditions to be put on the “to do” list in 2017. However, at least one council member is questioning the cost.
The study, which would cost about $100,000, would evaluate all public streets within city limits. Each street would be given a score based on its condition, which could be compared to an “average condition” score for the city.
City engineers say the study would help develop a five-year plan for improving streets.
However, 1st Ward Councilwoman Holly Frische questioned the expense of the study during a council committee meeting Tuesday.
“Will the evaluation really be that different than what our guys can do?” Frische said.
Both Paul Schmelzer, Findlay’s service-safety director, and Mayor Lydia Mihalik said the study needs to be done, and the price is actually very good.
“We have never done a street study,” Mihalik said.
Mihalik said it’s a logical approach to street improvement.
However, Frische said money spent on the study could be spent on paving a street, where residents may have been waiting for the improvements for years.
Schmelzer said about $2.5 million is spent to improve city streets each year. The study, he said, could help make sure the money is well spent. The goal is to manage street improvements with the expectation that new pavement should last about 15 years, he said.
Schmelzer said city officials expected some push-back from council members on the expense of the study. He agreed to pull the item from the city’s proposed $4.7 million capital improvement budget for 2017, until it can be discussed further.
Findlay Council’s Appropriation Committee met Tuesday to review the 70-page budget proposal. About 20 people, including committee members, city administrators and department heads attended the committee meeting.
For the first time, the budget includes a map with links in its digital version, designed to allow the public to move through the proposal online.
The map allows users to explore infrastructure improvements being recommended throughout the city, complete with a description of the project and cost estimates.
Findlay’s downtown revitalization plan is also back on the city’s “to do” list. First proposed in 2014, the construction drawings are nearly complete. The city has appropriated $850,000 for the project, and has received a $3.3 million state grant for improvements to Main Street.
The project is expected to include curb “bump outs” at intersections, and installation of crosswalks in some mid-blocks along Main Street.
Separately, money for the cleaning of the Dalzell, Oil and Howard Run ditches, which has been budgeted by the city since 2014, is back in the capital budget proposal this year.
Schmelzer said this is the year Dalzell Ditch gets cleaned.
The city has agreed to pay $300,000, which would pay for about half of the project cost. The clogged ditch is partially to blame for flash-flooding problems in Findlay’s north end, but cleaning it has been an ongoing issue for decades.
Ditches, even those located within the city, are the responsibility of the county to clean. City officials blamed the Hancock County commissioners for the continued delay in clearing the ditches. They said all three projects are still tied up in the ditch petition process which is managed by the commissioners.
Other projects identified in the city’s 2017 capital improvements proposal include:
- Rehabilitation of Park Street, from Lima Street to Hancock Street. Park Street is a brick street and the soil underneath the street is giving way. It will cost an estimated $250,000 to remove the brick, repair the sub-grade and pave the street. Replacing the brick would be twice as expensive.
- A feasibility study of adding a second sheet of ice at the Cube, 3430 N. Main St. The study, expected to cost about $25,000, would determine if there is a need for a second ice rink, identify potential users and funding sources. The project was first included in the city’s capital plan for 2016.
- Rehabilitation of the runway at Findlay Airport at a cost of about $2.5 million. A $2.2 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration is paying for the bulk of the work.
- Complete the link with Findlay City Schools’ fiber optic ring at a cost of $500,000. The project was first budgeted in the city’s capital plan for 2016. The city’s share of the fiber optic ring will directly connect the Findlay Municipal Building, 318 Dorney Plaza, with all outlying city offices.
- Set a base layer and drainage for a new parking lot at Swale Park, 500 N. West St. Additional parking is needed to accommodate increased use of the park for baseball and softball games. It will cost about $70,000 to put down the base layer of the new parking lot.
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