Archived Story

Uneta engineered in-house

Published 8:42am Tuesday, April 13, 2010

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

Uneta Street improvements Dowagiac City Council approved Monday night for Atrium’s The Timbers of Cass County nursing facility represent the first in-house engineering project.

Bids were opened April 8 for the project, which calls for reconstruction of sanitary sewer, improvements to the storm sewer system, improvements to the water system and a complete rebuild of the street which connects E. Prairie Ronde to the new nursing home.

The contract was awarded in two parts, $66,181.04 for Phase A, the site and utility work, to Double Construction of Martin; and $16,036.97 for Phase B, the asphalt paving, to Cass County Road Commission in Cassopolis.

Work is expected to begin by the week of April 19 and be completed by June 1.

Christopher J. Bolt, P.E., director of public services and city engineer, said the project was bid in two phases.

Contractors had the option of bidding on one or both phases: Phase A, utilities, subbase, concrete and restoration, which included the following work elements:

• Demolition and removals
• Water main installation
• Sanitary sewer installation
• Storm sewer installation
• Excavation for roadway
• Aggregate base for roadway
• Site restoration
• Preparation for pavement

Phase B: asphalt paving
Five bids were received.

The construction budget for the project is $89,750. The low bids for both phases total $82,218.01.
The remaining balance, $7,531.99, will be split to cover materials needed for a few work items performed by city crews and contingency for any unanticipated expenditures.

The work consists of approximately 460 linear feet of street reconstruction (asphalt with curb and gutter), 460 LF of eight-inch water main, 450 LF of eight-inch sanitary sewer main, storm sewer infrastructure, sidewalk, demolition of existing street/utilities and “various appurtenances” along Uneta Street.

All work must be substantially complete on or before May 28 and finally complete on or before June 4.

This project is funded in large part by Community Development Block Grant funds made available through an Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement Grant administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

“We actually designed the project to incorporate some elements we ultimately had to remove,” such as curb the length of Uneta.

“We’ll continue to try to seek money to put those back in. All in all, we’re fixing the water, sewer — basically the underground components the nursing home needs. Today, the sewer actually runs flat and even backwards. It has a long history of problems. Our crews were always there maintaining that sewer system. Believe me, the new sewer runs downhill and will function fine to modern standards. The water main is oversized for fire protection. We confirmed our design with a computer model that shows that if there is a fire demand at the facility, not only will the interior sprinkler system work, but flow from the hydrants on Colby. The new street will be built on top. That’s one of the benefits of the utilities grant, you get a brand-new street out of the deal,” Bolt said.

To lower the sewer at its connection point to the main under Prairie Ronde “requires us to dig into the Praire Ronde intersection,” Bolt said. “That will be closed off for a period of time while we make that connection.”

Dodd issues Hall statement
“Mr. Hall continues to ask if I’m going to do his town hall meeting. I told him 1 1/2 to two months ago that I would not do it and I am not willing to promote his forum or newsletter. I’m here on council to promote Dowagiac and make it a better community to live and raise a family — just as I did with all my years on the fire department. I take my responsibilities on the council seriously and appreciate those who are willing to give me that opportunity.

“I am happy to meet with the people in Second Ward to discuss issues, concerns or even events with which they are pleased.

“Just recently,” Dodd continued, “Mr. Hall accused me of wanting to sue him. I did not tell him at any time that I had plans to sue. I did tell him that he needs to control his comments regarding my family and to get his facts straight or he will have an opportunity to speak with my attorney. I continue to stand behind that statement.

“I know my name will be all over his Web site and newsletter for stating my facts. For some reason, when you say anything about him it’s attacking, but if he makes a comment, it is freedom of speech or right to know.”

Hall addressed the council for more than five minutes and renewed his request to have his Dowagiac Informer on the city Web page.

Hall also reported that a local business wanted to sponsor a teen lock-in with computer games.

“One of the councilmen said he would shut them down if they did that,” Hall said, “because it would be breaking curfew. It’s done all the time. Wesley House has done it, the library has done it, churches have done it. I think that comment was a little out of line.

“If there are people out there who want to do something for the kids, don’t scare them and threaten them that they’re breaking the curfew laws or whatever the case. You should be jumping with joy and encouraging them to do more of that. I’ve been coming here for eight years trying to get something going for the kids. Maybe Russom Field is the start of that, and I hope that’s true.

“But to show you how outdated thinking is in Dowagiac, and the generation gap, the councilman heard from somebody in Dowagiac that if you lock kids in a building and they’re playing computer games, that’s how girls get pregnant. That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. You need to get up to date with some youth activities and be more open-minded.”

“Actually, what Kevin said,” Assistant City Manager Rozanne Scherr said, “at the present time, we do not have a spot that links to any media, community newsletters or blogs.”

Finally, the council authorized the finance director to pay out $503,423.44, including $200,177.91 for bills and payroll of $303,245.53.

First Ward Councilwoman Lori Hunt and City Attorney Mark Westrate were absent.

Council reviews storm response

Third Ward Councilman Dr. Charles Burling thanked Dave Scott, who was in the audience, and his crew for their long hours to restore power to customers. “Nice job.”

Second Ward Councilman James Dodd monitored the April 4-5 response by scanner until about 4 a.m. The Fire Department put out barricades and flares, “then Dave and his crew were out, then the brush crew helping cut limbs. They did a heckuva good job at the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) at the fire station. The Police Department was right there with them.

“The only problem at that time of night was the dark, with people out walking around with wires down they can’t see. You should stay home, not be out walking the streets.
“This morning I saw the crews out picking up brush. Keep up the good work,” said Dodd, who also toured the new Timbers nursing home. “It’s going to be one nice building.”

“I also want to thank the electrical crew and the brush people,” said Second Ward Councilman Bob Schuur. “It’s wonderful to have the compost site to put all of your brush. I personally thank (Ron Leatz) for all he does for the railroad station. The lights will be a beacon for our City of Dowagiac. I’m looking forward to National Train Day.”

“The sirens didn’t blow,” Mayor Pro Tem Leon Laylin said, “because there was not an emergency let out by the National Weather Service … There was not any real warning.
“There was extensive damage not only in Dowagiac, but along an avenue going north and east from Dowagiac. I’ve heard several horror stories about irrigation stuff torn apart. One farmer said a sheet of plywood that goes over a hog coop in the field, one of those was picked up by the wind and pierced the side of a house. It entered the house about two feet over a person’s bed. At the same time, Dowagiac was outstanding in responding to the situation. Kudos to everyone involved. The crews were great and the work done was greatly appreciated by all the citizens of Dowagiac.”

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