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Council to consider 19 projects

Escanaba ranks capital improvements for 2011

March 14, 2011
By Jenny Lancour

ESCANABA - A total of 19 capital improvement projects in Escanaba will be presented for council approval at its regular meeting Thursday. The recommendations were made by the planning commission last week.

Each year, the city approves a five-year capital improvement plan. The planning commission reviews and recommends a list, which is considered by council.

"A capital improvement plan is any improvement and direct engineering cost which involves the construction, purchase, or renovation of a public way, space, building, structure or utility," explained City Manager Jim O'Toole.

The proposed plans have a priority of 1, 2 or 3 assigned to each with a rating of 1 representing a mandatory or critical project, 2 is a necessary project, and 3 means a desired project.

Planning Commission Chair Stephen Buckbee said the list of capital improvements planned for the upcoming fiscal year are realistic for the city's budget outlook.

Most proposals have an estimated cost assigned while a few are yet to be determined. Funding comes from a variety of sources including city funds, outside agency funding and grants, and private donations.

Two of the larger projects scheduled for the current year and 2011-12 fiscal year are the installation of a new water intake pipe from the water treatment plant to Little Bay de Noc and the construction of a new electrical substation for the city.

Each plan is tagged at $3 million. The water project will begin this spring. Construction on the substation is on hold as the city seeks an operator and a buyer for the power plant.

Officials estimate it will cost $390,500 for a joint project between the city and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to relocate a sidewalk on Lincoln Road from 8th Avenue South to 25th Avenue South. This project coincides with MDOT's expansion of M-35 to include a center turn lane.

The city will replace a watermain during the road reconstruction. Other priority 1 projects for 2011-12 include: resurfacing and curb repairs on streets, sidewalk repairs, repainting of the outside and inside of the city's south water tower, a marina water basin management plan, updating the city's entrance sign at Lincoln and Ludington streets, upgrading the Farmer's Market, landscaping at three welcome signs, and a grant program to improve the exterior of downtown buildings.

Another priority 1 project includes a plan to set aside funding for the city to buy property or pay for the demolition of blighted property to reuse the land. Priority two projects include installing piping for potable water at the Bay Soccer Fields, to be paid for through private donations. The Downtown Development Authority is seeking $5,000 to create an incubator at the Farmer's Market to allow a new business to develop.

Priority 3 projects include: continued improvements along Sheridan Road, upgrading cross country ski trails with lighting and improvements to use the trail all year such as for hiking, and restoring bird habitat in Ludington Park by managing and planting vegetation.



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