Downtown, Public Works others get Council focus

By LARRY C. BOWERS Banner Staff Writer
Posted 2/17/17

One of the final reports presented at a strategic planning session for city government, and the City Council, earlier this week was a review of the Downtown Cleveland Redevelopment/Revitalization …

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Downtown, Public Works others get Council focus

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One of the final reports presented at a strategic planning session for city government, and the City Council, earlier this week was a review of the Downtown Cleveland Redevelopment/Revitalization Plan by City Manager Joe Fivas.

Other reports closing out the six-hour discussions came from Public Works Supervisor Tommy Myers, and Development and Engineering Director Jonathan Jobe. Both were relatively brief, focusing on specific projects scheduled for the future, both for the short and long term.

Prior to these three reports, there were presentations from Police Chief Mark Gibson and Fire Chief Ron Harrison. Parks and Recreation Director Patti Petitt is in the middle of compiling a master plan for her department, and has not yet presented a strategic plan.

Plans are expected to be formulated for each of the city’s departments approaching the budgeting process.

Fivas, and Assistant City Managers Shawn McKay and Melinda Carroll, coordinated this week’s strategic planning session for the benefit of Council members.

Myers’ Public Works report was emphatic. He pointed out that the city has 350 miles of road, which requires 4,106,667 cubic feet of asphalt. This results in 354,199 tons of asphalt costing $83.50 per ton ... a total price tag of $29,575,658.

The breakdown on the expense and the work is spread out over a 20-year-plus cycle. Cleveland has fallen well behind in its regular paving cycle, with several streets and roads not being repaved in more than 25 years.

Some residents who attended recent community meetings, in each of the city’s five districts, said their streets and roadways had not been paved in as many as 30 years. Myers and other city official agreed the cycle has expanded in recent years, and a number of streets are in critical condition.

The proposed budget for 2017 would give Myers and his department $1 million for regularly scheduled paving, which will not be enough to greatly reduce the paving cycle. The standard for many cities is closer to 20 years.

Myers listed seven paving projects he feels are critical in helping the department catch up somewhat, citywide.

These projects and estimated costs include: Inman Street from Broad to Keith Street ($205,015), Blue Springs Road ($212,500), Blackburn Road ($170,000), Peerless Road from 25th Street to Paul Huff Parkway ($428,745), Peerless Road from 25th Street to Georgetown Road ($68,000), Blythe Ferry Road ($225,250), and Georgetown Road from 1st Street to Peerless ($304,775).

The total cost of these seven paving projects would be $1,614,285, or more than $600,000 over what funding Myers is receiving for his annual paving projects.

Myers said a number of paving projects were postponed recently due sewer construction. These postponements were on Church Street, 9th Street, 11th, 12th 13th, 14th, 19th, 17th, 15th, 16th and Wiggens streets, as well as Fisher Street.

Myers also listed the Public Work’s paving schedule through 2020, with the anticipated cost each year being around $1 million.

The paving schedule for 2017, by district:

District 1 — Victory Drive S.W. (South Lee to Blount), Virginia Avenue (Grace to Fore), Grace Street S.W. (South Lee to dead end), Randolph Drive (Smith to dead end), Crest Drive S.W. (Smith to 3rd), and King Edward Avenue (20th to dead end).

District 2 — Lang Street N.E. (6th to Inman), High Street N.E. (2nd to Old Bates), Pugh Street N.E. (2nd to Inman), Elrod Street (11th to 14th), McCann Drive S.E. (6th to 11th), 6th Street S.E. (East to Hill), 9th Street S.E. (Euclid to Wildwood), and 2nd Street S.E. (Wildwood to Linden).

District 3 — Chestnut Circle N.W. (Old Freewill to Partridge), and Beech Cove Drive (Chestnut to dead end).

District 4 — Grand Drive NE, Spring Hill Drive N.E. (Grand to Moreland), Jernigan Street N.E. (Westview to Springhill), Moreland Drive N.E. (Blythe Ferry to dead end), Neely Circle N.E. (20th to 20th), and Berywood Trail N.E. (Henderson to dead end).

District 5 — Harper Street N.W. (56th to Stuckey Drive), Harpo Street N.W. (56th to Airport Road), Runway Drive N.W. (Harpo to Harpo), Stuckey Drive N.W. (North Lee to Kelly), Kelly Drive N.W. (Stuckey to dead end), and Bradley Drive N.W. (Stuckey to dead end).

The paving scheduled for the following three years is available from the Public Works Department.

Jobe discussed six projects on the MPO schedule. Three are in the design phase, two are in right-of-way negotiations, and one is under construction.

In design are the Central Avenue and 20th Street sidewalks, and the 17th Street project.

Right-of-way purchases are being negotiated for the Norman Chapel Road project, and the Georgetown Road/25th Street project. Construction is under way on the Ocoee Greenway connector.

Fivas closed out the strategic planning session with a brief overview of the Downtown Vision Plan with a “blueprint for the future.”

Catalysts for the plan was the relocation of the Whirlpool plant from downtown Cleveland, Lee University’s continued expansion closer to downtown, and new Tennessee annexation laws.

The goal is to create a guide for future downtown development, irrespective of budgets, politics, property ownership, or any other perceived barriers. Goals are to identify projects, budget estimates, and an implementable action plan.

The originators claim there are specific, attainable goals. They include: Urban design; a regional economic engine; creating a premier arts, cultural, recreation and entertainment destination; walkable, full-service neighborhoods; thriving retail and restaurant opportunities; interconnected natural and recreational amenities; and a multi-dimensional transportation system.

The targeted areas are the Downtown Entrepreneur District, Blythe-Oldfield District, College Hill District, Taylor Spring District, and the Historic Neighborhood District.

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