By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The downtown streetscape program is moving forward.
The city council approved a bid for the second phase of the project during its meeting Tuesday night. The low bid, from Depew and Owen of Centralia came in at $389,598.
"Three bids were received for the project," City Manager Ron Neibert reported. "We are very happy with this bid because it is well under the $450,000 project estimate."
The bids were opened Tuesday morning for the grant funded project, which includes new pavement, curb ramps, decorative unit pavers, site furnishings, site lighting system and other new coordination work with existing new utilities and infrastructure. The project will be done along Ninth Street between the intersections of Main Street and Ninth Street and Jordan and Ninth Street.
City Councilman David Wood reminded the council he has previously said he would not vote favorably on the project if the downtown area did not have a plan for maintenance.
"I understand the maintenance of downtown has been moved from the (Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Corporation) to the city and its budget," Wood said. "I will vote in support of the project, I have always supported the project, but it makes no sense to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make an area look good and not maintain it properly."
Neibert explained the maintenance of the downtown area has previously been the responsibility of one part-time employee of DMDC.
"The problem has been the DMDC, with its limited budget, has only been able to afford someone on a half-time basis," Neibert said. "That has also made it difficult for them to keep a permanent person in the position. We decided to move the maintenance to the Public Works Department."
Neibert said after the bid was approved, work on the streetscape should get underway in about 30 days, and completion is expected 60 to 90 days from the beginning of construction. Neibert also said the city will be communicating with downtown businesses who may be affected by the project.
In other business, the council approved going out for bids on the Horace Mann building on Perkins Avenue.