Progress on the West Main Streetscape project, appointments to the Advertising and Promotion Commission and a Safe Routes to School grant were on the agenda of the combined Cabot city council committees meeting held Monday.
For information, Cabot mayor Bill Cypert told committee members that collection of debris from the Christmas 2012 storm would be extended.
The combined meeting joins the Budget and Personnel, Public Works and Police and Fire committees in a single meeting rather than three on separate dates.
Cypert said that condemnation of land could become a consideration if resolution is not found to easement issues concerning the West Main Streetscape project.
The Streetscape project would add sidewalks, landscaping and potential lighting along West Main Street from Fourth Street to Tenth Street.
Cypert said that relocation of utilities now routed along West Main Street requires utility easements at the rear of some of the West Main Street businesses, along the Elm Street corridor.
One of the easements was resolved in late 2012 with the city purchasing the needed easement, Cypert said.
The second easement, however, could call for condemnation action by the city at the March 18 city council meeting, Cypert said.
While it appears an agreement might be reached, if there are any other delays condemnation may be needed, Cypert said. "If something else goes wrong … we could potentially consider condemnation at the March [city council] meeting. Hopefully it will not come to that," he said.
The Streetscape project was begun in 2010 and is to promote pedestrian mobility on West Main Street and between commercial areas.
A $200,000 Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department grant, plus about $66,000 in federal local-use funds through Metroplan; and the remainder in city funds originally funded the project. The city’s portion is about $40,000 — additional funding provided through the city allowed the project to be extended to Ninth Street. Total project cost will be about $300,000.
According to the plan specifications, the typical design of the streetscape will include a 5-foot sidewalk with a 5.5-foot landscaped buffer at the back of the curb on both sides of the roadway. The landscaped buffer will feature plantings, brick pavers, banner-style poles and benches.
Without more delays, the construction could be complete by early 2014.
The Committee voted to send two resolutions to the full city council. In separate resolutions, aldermen Ed Long and Ann Gilliam would be appointed to the Cabot Advertising and Promotion Commission.
The committee also approved for city council action, a resolution committing to federal funds for a Safe Routes to School grant. The grant would be used for a sidewalk between Magness Creek North and Magness Creek Elementary School.
Cost of the project is estimated at $436,300, Cypert said.
During the Police and Fire Committee considerations, alderman Rick Prentice asked Police Chief Jackie Davis if the closing of the Linden Street Apartments had had an effect on police calls to the area.
Davis said that while the calls had not ended, they had decrease markedly.
The conditions at the apartment complex came to the attention of the city council when neighboring residents complained of increasing thefts in the area.
The council ordered the complex to be vacated in November.
Before committees adjourned, Cypert told of the progress in collecting limbs and brush remaining from the winter storm in December. He now expects collection to be complete in about two weeks.
In a press release, Cypert said the Dec. 25, 2012 snowstorm, "Generated quite a bit of limbs placed on the curb for pickup."
The amount of debris is much larger than originally thought and limbs from back yards are still being placed at curbs, he said.
While the current contract with IESI for yard waste pickup allows for a negotiated increase in payment for an "Act of God" and removal of storm debris, the company is not asking for a payment increase. Instead, IESI has "partnered" with the city and is hauling the debris to a nearby burn site; "obviously this is a savings to the city and a benefit to the residents. The City is very complimentary of the Contractor’s willingness to partner with the City," Cypert said.
Cypert said he expected the collection to be complete by the end of the second week in February.