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Council awards expensive utility contracts, discusses downtown sidewalks

By Mark Wineka

SALISBURY — The City Council has approved contracts for two Salisbury-Rowan Utilities projects that together total more than $1 million.

At its meeting Tuesday, the council awarded a $995,339 contract to Vanguard Utility Service for the installation or changing out of 3/4-inch and 1-inch meters. The company has set an Oct. 31 completion date for installing 20,600 meters, and it was a time frame that seemed to impress council members.

Vanguard will be installing 400 to 600 meters a week.

“It’s a blitz,” Mayor Karen Alexander said.

“Yes, it really will be,” senior engineer Jeff Jones said.

The contract awarded was for installation. Jones noted the city already has purchased the meters. Vanguard is about 40 percent complete in installing larger meters — 1 1/2-inch to 10-inch. That project has a June 30 deadline.

Highfill Infrastructure Engineering of Cary received a $202,000 contract for engineering services related to the Crane Creek lift station and an upgrading of the force main.

The original Crane Creek lift station and force main were built in 1980 for a project identified as the Crane Creek Interceptor Sewer project. In 1996, that lift station was replaced as part of another project, the Rockwell/Granite Quarry Wastewater Conveyance.

The upgrades approved Tuesday aim mostly at increasing pumping capacity.

Craig Powers, assistant public services director, updated the council on plans for new sidewalks on both sides of the 100 block of West Innes Street. The project will have a $150,000 budget.

Powers said the 100 block of West Innes is the worst section for sidewalks in an area between the railroad bridge on East Innes and the Confederate statue at Church Street. The enhancements will incorporate design elements from previous sidewalk improvements in the downtown and will use Pine Hall English-edge pavers as accents.

Powers said city crews will pour concrete as a base under the pavers. A private contractor will be used for the paver installations. Trees in the block probably will be removed and replaced, Powers said, adding that the Tree Board will be consulted.

Councilman Brian Miller suggested that Powers check with the Blanche & Julian H. Robertson Family Foundation about its plans for a park in the 200 block of West Innes Street and how the city project might want to blend in with the park, or the park might want to incorporate the city’s sidewalk plan.

Miller said the sidewalk improvement plan should try to incorporate as much greenery as possible.

Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell said the project must be sensitive to each business owner who will be affected, and she encouraged Powers to even over-communicate with the businesses about what is happening as the project proceeds.

Blackwell also expressed hope the pavers would not be a challenge for women in high heels.

Councilman Ken Hardin asked whether the new sidewalks would be compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and Powers shared illustrations of how they would be.

Councilman David Post said a couple of the trees in the block are long established and as tall as three stories.

“Is there a way to save those trees?” Post asked.

Powers said the city arborist recommends removal of the trees and thinks a lifespan goal for street trees should be 15 years.

Post asked whether there is a street tree variety that wouldn’t have to be torn up every 15 years. Blackwell noted how Greenville, South Carolina, has large trees downtown whose canopies sometimes touch from opposite sides of the street. She suggested that Powers contact the city of Greenville.

In other business, the council made several appointments and reappointments to boards, committees and commissions:

• Rodney Queen was reappointed to the Alternate Methods of Design Commission.

• Diane Hundley was reappointed to the Community Appearance Commission.

• Benjamin Davis, Amy Smith and John Wear Jr. were reappointed to the Greenway Committee.

• Daniel DeGraaf, Andrew Walker and Acey Worthy were reappointed to the Historic Preservation Commission.

• Anne Lyles and Barbra Perry were reappointed to the Housing Advocacy Commission.

• Debra Ellison was appointed to the Human Relations Council.

• Jane Riley, Jane Ritchie and Lina Sufficool were reappointed to the Hurley Park Advisory Board.

• Jerry Lawson, Brian T. Miller, Glenwood Oats and Amy Smith were reappointed to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

• Dennis Rogers was appointed to the Planning Board, and Bill Burgin, Eric Phillips and Bill Wagoner were reappointed.

• Sam Foust, Tamara Walker and Quentin Woodward Jr. were reappointed to the Transportation Advisory Board.

• Robert Cockerl was reappointed as an extraterritorial jurisdiction member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.




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