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Public Works recommends $271,000 in street improvements

PARK HILLS — More than $271,000 in street improvements are being recommended by the Public Works Committee for this year’s program and more might be added before the end of the construction season. The suggested work was reviewed at a committee session Wednesday evening and will be presented to the Park Hills City Council in two weeks.

“I’d like to do twice that much,” said Councilman Steve Kelly, committee chairman, “but the city does not have the money. I still think what we are recommending will be a big improvement for the community.”

If carried out, a new asphalt surface will be laid on all or parts of 24 streets spread through the city. Most of the work will be done in the former Elvins and Esther areas of the community but four streets in the former Flat River area are also on the list.

Kelly and his fellow committee member, Councilman Tom Reed, agreed to follow the suggestion of Public Works Director Paul Richardson to hold back about $30,000 that is set aside in the city’s budget for street improvements.

“I would feel more comfortable if we leave a little in case some unexpected things come up,” Richardson told the committee. “We can always add some projects and spend the money later in the year.”

City Clerk Carla Johnson also pointed out that appropriating all the budgeted money at this time might not be wise. She explained the commitment made to the voters last year was to put an amount equal to the revenue from a new sales tax toward street improvements. There is no assurance that all of the anticipated $250,000 will come in this year.

The council had actually approved 18 of the proposed street improvements at its May meeting. Those were described as top priorities by Richardson and would cost an estimated $160,000 to resurface.

The priority projects previously approved include: Spruce, Field, Grove, Church, Prentice, Stevens, Darrell S. Cole, Tyler, Vine, McGlashon, Langdon, George, B, Cameron, Columbia, and Ninth streets as well as Flat River Drive.

Added to the list by the committee for council consideration were Crane, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and A streets as well as East Elvins Boulevard.

It was pointed out that in many cases the entire length of the listed streets are not scheduled for resurfacing. In some cases there may be only two or three blocks for which improvements are being recommended this year.

Richardson presented the council with a street conditions report earlier this month. It classified streets needing improvements in three categories, failing streets, poor streets and streets that need overlay. To make all of the improvements listed on the inventory would cost an estimated $645,000.

There are some streets in need of major work, officials confirmed, that are not included on the list. This is because they either need such major reconstruction or their improvements must be tied to utilities improvements that they cannot be funded at this time.

Reed asked about the Hampton Street improvement plans and was told by Kelly that they are among those projects tied into utilities upgrades. Kelly said Utilities Director John Black had told him there is no money available in this year’s budget for that specific project.

Also attending the committee session and participating in the discussion were Councilmen Mike Glore and David Easter as well as interim City Administrator Norman Lucas and John Kennedy, who will become city administrator in mid June.

At the same Tuesday meeting, the committee recommended that the speed limit on Front Street (old Highway 32) from Meadow Street to the southern city limits be increased to 35 miles per hour. It also agreed to recommend a 30 mile per hour speed limit for East Elvins Boulevard from Front Street to Highway 32.

Reed pointed out there are no longer any houses along that stretch of Front Street for which the higher speed limit is being recommended. The speed limit is 30 miles per hour.

Kelly said it had been suggested to increase the speed limit on Front Street throughout Elvins to 45 miles per hour, but he believes that is too fast, particularly with the heavy truck traffic in that area.

While not within the scope of the Public Works Committee, Richardson asked those council members present to see if the issue of overtime pay could be resolved as quickly as possible. A recent change proposed for city policy affects overtime when sick time, vacation or holidays fall within the same pay period.

“These employees out here are not happy,” Richardson said.

Easter, who is a member of the Personnel Committee, said either Mayor John Clark would have to call a meeting of that committee or appoint a new chairman in order for the topic to be reviewed before the next council session. Easter said he is ready to address the issue but does not have the authority to call a meeting.

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