Maps of Chatfield's intended street improvements were on display during a neighborhood open house held at city hall last Monday evening.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Maps of Chatfield's intended street improvements were on display during a neighborhood open house held at city hall last Monday evening. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Residents of Bench, Twiford, St. Alban's Place in Chatfield proper and various streets in west Chatfield gathered at Chatfield's city hall last Monday evening for a neighborhood open house hosted by the city and WSB & Associates, the city's contracted engineering firm, to discuss upcoming street and utility improvements.

Dillon Dombrovski of WSB welcomed the residents to the open house and encouraged them to ask any questions they might have about the 2014 street and utility improvement projects, which will encompass replacing pavement on several streets and pipes under Bench Street.

"There are multiple areas in town that are impacted," he said. "There are pavement distresses in all different directions, water going into the pavement gets into the subsurface and causes even more deterioration, there's cracked curb and gutter, but the projects don't all include new sidewalk. In utilities, there are sags in the pipes, and service pipes sticking into main pipes and reducing the capacity of the pipes, some undersized storm sewer structures, such as manholes and catch basins."

Dombrovski outlined the plans for Bench Street and some adjoining streets, citing that work will be done from First to Sixth. The entire project is estimated at $1,671,320, with an estimated $1,321 assessment to property owners.

"On Bench, there will be bituminous reclamation, or complete reconstruction of the roadway and sanitary sewer running down the center of the street," Dombrovski explained. "We'll do curb repairs and replace sidewalk as necessary. There are two blocks of four-inch water main that will go back in as six-inch water main - from Bench to Twiford, some of the pipe is still cast iron - and all hydrants along the project will be replaced."

He advised attendees that for a while, traffic east on Second Street will be limited to one-lane capacity while the contractor mills the edges of the street.

On Twiford, existing water and sewer service will be relocated from its location on a platted alley and "be incorporated into the Twiford roadway...there'll be new sanitary sewer and water main."

A resident inquired as to whether assessments would be made to citizens or to the developer of the Family Dollar store, the construction of which is the catalyst for the Twiford project.

Dombrovski replied that no assessments are to be made to homeowners, but will be made to the developer.

West Chatfield residents were informed that certain gravel roadways would be paved. Someone asked whether culverts would be replaced and the engineer answered they're not included in the project, but cleaning might solve some of the problems the person shared involving the culverts in question.

"Where are we in the process?" posited Dombrovski. "This is a 2014 project, so we're looking at bidding in April, awarding the contract in May and construction beginning in June and lasting into the fall."

He added that the project is staged so the entire town will not be "ripped up" at once. Certain areas will have to be restored to a certain level before the contractor can move on.

"There's a clause that the contractor can't be gone more than seven days, or they'll have to pay damages, so they won't be able to rip up the street and be gone for three weeks," he added.

A question arose concerning water service and the engineer assured the residents the contractor "will have to maintain some temporary water service" throughout the duration of the demolition and construction.

Another person wanted to know if Twiford Street would be widened. The engineer answered that while Twiford is currently 20- to 24-feet wide, it will be finished as a 24-foot-wide street.

He added that for the entire street improvement project, he will meet with property owners to be sure that accesses to driveways are in the right places. While the city will not pay for repaving driveways - other than the parts that were removed as part of the project - citizens can contact the contractor to coordinate new paving for their properties at their own expense.

Dombrovski thanked the attendees for their time and questions, then invited them to ask any further questions if they had any upon inspection of the maps he'd brought along.

Other business

In other matters, just before the neighborhood open house, Chatfield's city council met in a special meeting to approve the hiring of a new public works crew worker, Ryan Priebe, to fill a vacant position in the public works department.

Chatfield resident Priebe will be employed on a six-month probationary period, during which he will work toward obtaining his commercial driver's license, a requirement of the position.