Council delays Maple sidewalk
by Rick DeClue · News · June 28, 2013

After a sidewalk grant was recently denied, the single West Branch sidewalk project planning to go forward was pushed back at least two weeks at Monday’s city council meeting.

Council Member Jim Oaks began a series of questions by asking what the North Maple Street project would cost. By the end of the discussion, the question had not been fully answered.

Costs for the project, which installs a five-foot wide sidewalk from Orange Street south to West Branch Middle School, would fit within the $47,611 budget available, City Administrator Matt Muckler said.

A portion of that project, however, will be paid by West Branch Community School District.

Muckler said that final costs and a final determination of the share of costs paid by the city and the school district depended on whether a potential 64-foot stretch of sidewalk connecting North Maple Street with an existing playground is constructed.

The decision on this issue is in the hands of the school district.

Oaks then asked about access to the water plant building located on the east side of Orange Street. In particular, he questioned how trucks make chemical deliveries to the plant since the city made a portion of Maple Street one way to better accommodate school buses.

City Public Works Director Matt Goodale said that deliveries are made using hose connections, with the trucks using Maple and Orange Street for access.

Given the 20-foot width of Maple Street next to the facility, Oaks asked whether the deliveries interfered with school traffic. He also asked whether changes were needed for turnarounds and grades sufficient for the truck traffic.

“This project could cost another $25,000,” said Oaks.

Goodale then said that deliveries could be restricted to Orange Street because it would just mean additional hose. He also mentioned that they could make some unspecified plumbing changes.

Oaks asked about an existing protective barrier on the south side of North Maple Street as it approaches the middle school. With the proposed sidewalk located so close to the street, Oaks asked how the barriers would be impacted. He also questioned where snow removal crews would put snow.

Mayor Todd Worrell said that the barriers were in bad shape and that a portion of them had been removed.

City Engineer Dave Schechinger said the change to one-way traffic on Maple Street meant that traffic would only be approaching the curve on a level surface across the north edge of the middle school building rather than down the hill on North Maple Street.

Worrell said the barriers are not very affective at this point. He also noted that they are on the school’s property, so any decision regarding them would have to be agreed upon with the School district.

Worrell acknowledged that the sidewalk project had been put on the back burner during the Safe Routes To School grant application process.

He then brought the discussion to a close by saying that it sounded like there needed to be another meeting with school officials and time to address other concerns. He proposed bringing the project back to the July 8 meeting for council to review.

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