St. Boni discusses $2 million street improvement project

By Emily Hedges

St. Boni is on track to approve its 2013 Street Improvement Project. The city council hosted a public hearing prior to the regular meeting on Nov. 12 to discuss the initiative, estimated to cost $2,149,452. More than 20 property owners attended to hear a presentation from City Engineer Jake Saulsbury, make comments, and ask questions.
The 2013 Street Improvement Project is comprised of improvements to Kennedy Memorial Drive, Centennial Avenue, Tower Street, Trista Lane East, and an overlay of the northeast streets and First Avenue.
Adjacent property owners will be assessed 20 percent of the costs for street reconstruction and utility upgrades based on frontage length. The project will be financed through a 15-year street improvement bond.
In his presentation, Saulsbury listed four reasons why the time is right to move forward with the planned street improvements: failing infrastructure; favorable interest rates; favorable construction economy and contractor workload; and cost savings possible by combining street reconstruction and large overlay projects.
A number of residents wanted assurance that improvement plans would address stormwater drainage issues that have plagued a number of homeowners. Attendees were also in agreement that the plan to add a trail from Centennial Avenue to the ball field wasn’t worth the expense. They were much more concerned with making sure there was enough parking.
“The message I’m hearing is no to sidewalks and trails,” said Mayor Rick Weible. “They’re not using it, they don’t want it, and if it’s in the best interest of the neighborhood to eliminate it, we will.”
The next step is to authorize plans and specifications. The city hopes to advertise for bids in March 2013. The construction period is expected to be May through September 2013 with project close out next November.
Weible and Saulsbury warned residents to be prepared for some inconvenience, although they will try to keep roads open as much as possible.
“To be honest, for those of you on Centennial Avenue, it might be a month that you’re parking somewhere else,” said Weible.
In other business, the council:
• Voted to direct public works to aerate Shirley Logelin Memorial Park within the next two weeks and hold off seeding the park until spring. If necessary, the city is authorized to spend up to $500 to hire the work done.
• Heard plans from Fred Keller of the St. Boni Area Community Development Group for a summer festival to be held in St. Boni on July 13, 2013. Keller also reported that a number of community groups are coming together to discuss plans for an electronic sign in St. Boni.

St. Boni Festival
The 2013 St. Boni Festival will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2013. Organizers are looking for a name for the festival. If you have a suggestion, email it to [email protected] The winning suggestion will receive $100 worth of gasoline from the St. Boni Holiday Station. The contest ends Saturday, Dec. 15.