Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2008

Downtown revitalization out to bid

March 27, 2008

The Eudora City Council unanimously approved Monday a request to advertise bids for the downtown revitalization project.

Advertising for bids will begin April 1 and bidding will close May 1. Construction for the project is set to begin June 1 and finish Sept. 12.

"We're excited, of course, about getting the project out to bid and ready to go," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said. "It works out because in the construction world right now, it's a little more competitive and we should probably get better bids."

The project will be completed in four phases:

¢ Phase 1 will be the storm sewer construction, which should take three weeks

¢ Phase 2 will be waterline, storm sewer and streetscape improvements on the east side of Main Street running north to south from 7th to 9th streets, which should take six weeks

¢ Phase 3 will be storm sewer and streetscape improvements on the west side of Main Street running north to south from 7th to 9th streets, which should take three weeks

¢ Phase 4 will be asphalt overlay and pavement markings on Main Street, running north to south from 7th to 9th streets.

The projects are estimated to cost a total of $1,980,692, with the city's paying for $1,228,463.

Douglas County will help pay for the streets, a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation will pay for 80 percent of the costs associated with improvements made to streets, sidewalks, electrical systems, landscaping and street furnishings such as benches.

The city will pay for all waterline and storm sewer projects.

"This is a project that we had planned and prepared for, budget-wise, for the last three years so we had been building up money in the capital improvement projects fund," Beatty said. "There's sufficient money set aside now."

Although money is sufficient, the Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4 lawsuit has made funds associated with water less plentiful.

"We had no anticipation that our water reserve fund would become a tight budget," Beatty said. "But now, because of the lawsuit, we're looking at a tight budget."

Beatty estimates the cost of lawsuit defense will be about $150,000 to $200,000.

The water fund also was lower than usual because the lack of new housing starts meant less water impact fees.

"We're losing $250,000 in revenue because last year we only built nine homes instead of 100 homes," Beatty said.

However, Beatty still believes the upgrades will be worth the money.

"These are all projects that needed to be done that happened to come together all at once," she said. "Yes, the downtown project isn't something the city has to get done, but it's hard to turn down 80-20 money - 80 percent of it being paid for by a federal grant."

The convergence of the waterline, storm sewer and streetscape improvements will actually save the city money, Beatty said.

"We combined the three projects into one to save dollars. When it all happens concurrently, the traffic control, the inspection and all of those things that would normally be paid out separately are now all under one contract and one payment source."

In other actions, the council:

¢ Approved a donation of $500 to Eudora High School's All Night Prom.

¢ Changed the date of a meeting on May 26 to May 27 because it fell on Memorial day.

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