City Council work session, April 14, 2014-Sidewalks, trails and roads

The flood damaged the Griffin Creek channel through Homewood, calling for emergency repairs.

The flood damaged the Griffin Creek channel through Homewood, calling for emergency repairs.

The council held a 50-minute work session tonight to receive updates on engineering and sidewalk projects and to approve several expenditures. The topic attracting the most interest was the failure of a portion of the retaining wall along Griffin Creek, which runs between Broadway and South Forest Drive. As a result of the downpour Sunday night a week ago, a substantial section of the concrete wall fell over into the creek, taking with it walls and fences owned by several property owners. The council determined that money was available from a $75,000 emergency fund and a $163,000 “small infrastructure” fund to replace the retaining wall, but they would need to expedite the bidding and approval process, possibly by holding an emergency City Council meeting after next Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.

Members present: Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Patrick McClusky, Walter Jones, Jenifer Champ Wallis, Heather Reid, Richard Laws, Peter Wright and council president Bruce Limbaugh. Mayor?

Members absent: Patrick McClusky

Staff present: City clerk Linda Cook, city attorney Michael Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Building, Engineering and Zoning staff Jim Wyatt, Vanessa McGrath and Greg Cobb.

Audience attendance:  2

Status of engineering projects: Jim Wyatt reported on the following projects:

Greenway Trail Project, Phase II (Goodwyn Mills & Cawood Engineering): Total project estimate: $3.5 million, with federal funding covering $2.8 million, and local funding of $708,000. The 2013-14 budget had a balance of $146,000 for this project, which will be applied towards a balance owed of $119,000 for preliminary engineering.

Oxmoor Road Project (Gonzales Strength Engineering): The total project estimate: $6 million, with federal funding covering $4.8 million, and local funding of $1.2 million. The 2013-14 budget had a balance of $231,000 for this project, which will be applied towards a balance owed of $231,000 for preliminary engineering.

Lakeshore Interchange Project – Additional lanes (Volkert Engineering): Total project estimate (subject to change because it is based on 2002 ALDOT approvals): $4.7 million, with federal funding covering $3.8 million, and local funding of $947,000. Funds available from 2013-14 budget are $50,000.

ALDOT Grant – Valley and West Valley Avenue Resurfacing (Goodwin, Mills & Cawood Engineering): Total project estimate: $1.6 million, with federal funding covering $1.28 million, and local funding of $320,000. The city’s portion will come from gasoline tax proceeds, and the current fund balance is $412,000. The project probably won’t be put out to bid for at least 9 months, as it is still in the ALDOT approval process.

An artist's rendering of a redeveloped corner of Oak Grove Road and Raleigh Avenue under the West Homewood Village redevelopment plan. Portions of the streetscape and other improvements may be put in the upcoming city budget.

An artist’s view of a redeveloped corner of Oak Grove Road and Raleigh Avenue under the West Homewood Village redevelopment plan. Streetscaping and angled parking costs of $400,000 — less than half the total price tag–are in the current budget.

West Homewood Commercial Revitalization Project (Walter Schoel Engineering): The engineering firm is still putting together its proposal, but a working project cost estimate is $874,000, with $400,000 allocated in the 2013-14 budget.

Highway 280 pedestrian bridge (Gresham Smith Engineering): Total project estimate: $1 million, with federal funding covering $613k, and local funding to be split 50/50 between Homewood and Mountain Brook. Homewood’s share is estimated at $150,000, with the same amount allocated in the 2013-14 budget. [This project’s feasibility is the subject of much debate.]

New sidewalk on Sterrett Avenue.

A multi-year campaign to install sidewalks across Homewood made the city one of the most walkable communities in Alabama. This new sidewalk is on Sterrett Avenue.

Sidewalks: Vanessa McGrath reported that sidewalks on Central Avenue (25th Court South to 27th Avenue South and 27th Avenue South to 18th Street) and in Rosedale (from end of sidewalk on 26th Avenue South to end of sidewalk on Rosedale Drive) would be funded by outside grants. The Rosedale project is awaiting grant of an easement from a property owner.

The Council has approved $10k for engineering on the Rumson Road blind spot/hill sidewalk project. It’s been suggested that the necessary retaining walls be made of poured concrete, with a stamped-on texture to resemble stone block. Mr. Limbaugh encouraged Ward 5 representatives to seek input from property owners regarding heights of retaining walls.

Greg Cobb stated that he will seek approval for up to $5,000 of funding for a sidewalk to connect Oak Grove Road with the Eagle Scout-built flag stand and rock memorial at the Senior Center.

Approved funding for these sidewalks: Funding of $29,000 for sidewalks on Mecca Avenue from the Middle School to Highland Road, and on Highland, from Mecca to Peerless Avenue. The sidewalks will be built into the street (like the new sidewalks on Roseland Drive, but without the strip of green). One block of this stretch is two-way, and lanes in that area will be about 10 feet wide.

Also approved: 1. Funding of up to $5,000 is approved to complete the sidewalk on Edgewood Boulevard and connect it to the Roseland sidewalk. 2. Funding of up to $5,000 for two wheelchair ramps at Hall Kent School.

The meeting adjourned around 5:50 pm.

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