by Alex Tekip, staff reporter
ST. JOHNS-The St. Johns City Commission has approved street improvement expenditures for the city, slated tentatively to begin in late summer/early fall of 2013.
The total expenditures for the project is not to exceed $110,000, and will go towards improvements in the St. Johns Industrial Park, namely on Kuntz Street, Mead Road, and Zeeb Drive as well as the parking lot of Innovative Polymers, 208 Kuntz Street.
According to a memorandum composed by city manager Dennis LaForest, the need for improvements is a direct result of new economic developments in the city, mainly the expansions of the Martin Brower Building, 1210 Zeeb Dr., and FC Mason, 500 E. Steel St.
Community development director Dave Kudwa said improvements on Mead Road will include a “mill -and -fill” and fixing some drainage issues, especially those near the entrance to the FC Mason building.
“Given that we’re going to have traffic in that area, I think that kind of lead the engineers to want to do a full base replacement on the road,” he said at a March 11 city commission meeting. “We have a good crowd on that road.”
The improvements on Kuntz Street include completing the roadway expansion started in 2012 as a result of the Martin Brower development, as well as a “mill-and-fill” and some minor upgrading and fixing of curbs and gutters.
The parking lot of Innovative Polymers also needs some upgrades on improvements started in 2012 during the Martin Brower expansion.
The city currently has a paving proposal from Michigan Paving and Materials Co. in Lansing.
According to the proposal from Michigan Paving and Materials Co., the total cost of the project would be $82,077.37.
However, Kudwa said nothing is for certain, as the city faces many budget constraints when it comes to repairing the roads.
Kudwa said in order to combat these constraints, the areas of the highest need are being repaired first.
A formal budget plan for the street improvement project has not been introduced to the city commission, however there is currently a rough estimate of how the funds will be allocated.
The improvements on Kuntz Street, Mead Road, and the parking lot of Innovative Polymer would be paid for using a combination of the general fund budget and major/local street fund balance.
City clerk Mindy Seavy said it is currently unknown how the funds between the major/local street balance and general budget will be divided.
The current proposal reserves that $11,468.50 from the general fund be used for the parking lot improvements, and $56, 780.35 from the major/local street fund for the improvements on Mead and Kuntz roads.
The local/street fund includes federal dollars and revenue coming from the Michigan gas tax.
The final estimated $25,297 for the project would come from the local developmental finance authority, or LDFA.
Seavy said the LDFA would “capture taxes from businesses in the industrial park” and use those funds towards improving Zeeb Road as well as the industrial park itself.
The entrance of Journey Federal Credit Union, right off of Zeeb Road, is experiencing base failure and a new MDOT-like opening is needed to preserve the base.
Kudwa said there are grant programs he would consider applying for in order to complete the project.
However, he said he is currently focused on the preliminary stages of budgeting the improvements with the funds the city currently has.
Kudwa said the cost of road improvement projects can add up quickly.
He said he is currently looking at pavement costing $100 to $150 a square foot for 40-plus miles of road.
“The money [needed] to bring the roads up to current standards is astounding,” said Kudwa. “[The key is to find] the most cost effective road maintenance treatments: longest life with the most value.”