By Jim Bloch
St. Clair residents might soon see some improvement in the city’s crumbling sidewalks.
City council members decided on June 15 that they would walk their respective wards in search of the worst stretches of sidewalk, triage them and spend perhaps $50,000 this summer to fix them.
Residents elect two council members from each of the city’s three wards.
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The opportunity arose as part of soliciting bids to reconstruct Third Street between Mulberry Street and Vine Street as well as Cass Street between Sixth and Tenth streets. Low-bidder Murray Underground of Fort Gratiot Township won the rebuilding contract, which council awarded at its regular meeting June 15.
“When I put this project in AEW’s hands, I asked them to also include a second part, which would include the complete replacement of all sidewalks on Cass,” said Warren Rothe, city superintendent, as heard on CTV-Channel Six’s recording of the meeting. “My rationale for this was that there was a desire to do some sidewalk projects in town and I thought that pairing it with the roadwork made sense.”
Boddy Construction was the low-bidder on the alternate bid to replace all of the sidewalks on Cass Street.
Boddy quoted $47,897 to rebuild the sidewalks, followed by Teltow Contracting at $49,528, Murray at $52,781 and Raymond Excavating at $61,509.
Mayor Bill Cedar said that there are some bad sections of sidewalk on Cass, but also some good sections.
Instead of spending money only on Cass Street, the mayor proposed looking at all the sidewalks in the city in the next two to three weeks, making a list of the bad ones and prioritizing them.
“There are sections of sidewalks in all those wards that are good,” said Cedar. “But there are some sections that are just terrible. They’re way out of kilter and not good at all… There’s some bad looking stuff — and dangerous.”
It might be feasible to repair or replace the bad sections before the end of summer, he said.
“Warren can find out what’s more cost effective — our DPW doing it or putting it out to bid,” Cedar said.
Cedar said the goal would be to repair the worst sidewalk before the snow flies. The rest can be tackled in the future.
“Bill, I think that’s a great idea,” said council member Mitch Kuffa.
“It sounds good to me,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mike LaPorte.
“As long as we don’t sit on our hands — and get it done,” said council member Tom McCartney.
“That’s what happened last time we tried to do this,” said council member Butch Kindsvater. “We were going to walk our wards and nothing happened.”
“Do we need a motion?” asked Cedar.
“I don’t think so,” said City Attorney Jim Downey.