The city needs at least $63 million to upgrade roads, street drainage systems, water lines and fire hydrants, city commissioners learned Tuesday.
An integrated master plan covering needs for roads, drainage and water and sewer lines showed that some areas of the city are not served by fire hydrants, while others have roads that have been paved so many times that the gutter between the street and the sidewalk no longer exists.
Public Services Director Jamie Brown said the long list of needs stems from years of neglected maintenance and major capital projects that never were done in the city, which is celebrating its centennial this year.
“I don’t understand how the infrastructure got ignored,” Mayor Pam Triolo said.
The city has 116 miles of roads, 27 of which are unpaved roads and alleys.
Priorities for rebuilding roads and drainage systems and installing water mains and fire hydrants were set based on life safety hazards, proximity to schools, the number of residents affected, the condition of the roads and, in the case of sewer lines, public health.
The infrastructure needs list includes:
- Installing 15 miles of water mains and 71 fire hydrants to provide adequate water pressure to about 2,200 properties that have inadequate access to the water pressure needed for fire protection. Estimated cost: $15.7 million.
- Fifteen drainage projects at an estimated cost of $15.8 million.
- Road improvements with an estimated cost of $29.6 million.
- Repairs to sewer lines at an estimated cost of $2.2 million.
City Manager Michael Bornstein said the “mother of all master plans” represents the first time the city has looked at road, drainage and utility line needs in one plan. Fixing them at the same time will eliminate the need to tear up roads multiple times.
The city will look for grant money to cover as much of the $63 million estimated cost as possible, Bornstein said. The master plan is expected to help the city secure grants. After sources of grant money are exhausted, the city will have to find a way to pay for the work or continue to ignore the problems.
Bornstein said problems on and under the city’s streets will become more expensive to fix the longer they’re neglected.