Thursday, July 9, 2015

Under the Street and Across It

The Common Council had only a skeleton crew on hand for tonight's meeting about the City's 2015 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application. Henry Haddad (Third Ward) chaired the meeting, at which only Robert Donahue (Fifth Ward), Rick Rector (First Ward), and Alexis Keith (Fourth Ward) were present.

Photo: Scott Baldinger
This year's proposed CDBG project seems pretty straightforward. As explained by John Duchessi and Bill Roehr of TGW Consultants and Rich Andreassen of Morris Associates, 1,300 feet of ancient corroded 4-inch cast iron pipe, which carries pure, clean water from the water treatment plant, will be replaced with new 10-inch pipe on State Street from Fourth to Third and on Third Street from State to Columbia. The problems caused by the old pipe include diminished water pressure, which according to DPW superintendent Rob Perry was a problem for the Fire Department last winter when battling the fire at 336 and 338 State Street, higher bacteria counts in water delivered through those pipes, and the possibility of catastrophic failure, i.e., water main breaks. So far, so good.

Along with these critical infrastructure improvements, Andreassen et al. spoke of "streetscape enhancements": crosswalks and pedestrian crossing signals at State and Fourth streets. Although Duchessi stressed that the principal objective of this year's CDBG application was replacing the water mains, and no specific information was offered about the exact nature of the streetscape enhancements being proposed, the unfortunate image below (from the City's 2002 Comprehension Plan) or something equally harrowing popped into the minds of at least two of the people present at the meeting.


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