The city will have a new salt barn come winter and possibly some more walkable streets.
At a special meeting of the City Council on Monday, the council approved the bid of G.L. Olson, totaling $236,300, for the construction of a new salt barn.
The project did not receive bids within its budget last fall, so the council decided to hold off with hopes that more lead time would invite better bids in the spring, as well as to have more time to work out a better location for the structure.
The project was originally awarded to the low bidder, E.E. Austin, for $191,000. The contractor, however, declined the project, due to an inability to complete the project for the amount bid, and is forfeiting the bid bond of 5 percent of the bid, totaling around $9,500, which will help fund the salt barn.
"The net will be $9,500 less out-of-pocket for the city than the amount on the contract," said Mayor Sam Teresi.
G.L. Olson was the next lowest bidder. The funding for the new structure is part of a $4 million bond for critical capital improvements that the City Council committed to in March 2011. Jeff Lehman, public works director, indicated that there is sufficient funds from the capital bond program and contingency amounts to cover the differential between the number one and number two bid.
"(The contract) is pretty close to what we budgeted originally in 2010," said Joe Bellito, city comptroller.
A special meeting was held to vote on the contract because the construction season is already underway and Lehman wants to complete the project for the 2012-13 winter. Construction on the new structure is slated to begin by mid-July, with completion projected for the first part of September.
The salt is currently stored in an open pile which is covered with a tarp during the summer months. This method of storage allows for some salt to washed away, not only causing the city money in lost salt, but also raising environmental concerns. The salt barn is required for salt storage by the Department of Environmental Conservation
The salt barn will be located to the east of the municipal fueling station across from the BPU, where the transformers are currently located. The structure will be open on one end with three seven-foot, concrete walls and a canvas cover.
Other improvements the city is looking to make include adding a complete streets policy.
Complete streets principles facilitate improved joint use of roadways by all users, including pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists as well as promote a cleaner, greener transportation system with reduced traffic congestion and the resultant air pollution.
Representatives from Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play, a program funded through the state Department of Health and Chautauqua County Health Network, presented the complete streets policy to the Housing Committee. The policy will encourage ententes, such as NYSDOT, doing roadwork within the city to consider complete street designs.
Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller, Creating Healthy Places consultant, said that more than 23 percent of households in Jamestown lack the access to a vehicle and 11 percent of the city's working population do not own a vehicle, according to the U.S. Census 2008-10 American Community Survey.
"This is more than just making the streets safer and better looking, it's actually enabling people to get to work and get around, and I think that's significant," said Gregory P. Rabb, D-At Large and council president. "Also, talking about more walkable streets, that will actually help increase housing values, which is what we've been doing with the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan."
Schmidtfrerick-Miller stressed that the city would not need to redo every street, and it would not be high cost.
"Complete streets is really a principle to follow. When you have that opportunity, moving forward, you look at how that street is designed and how it can best accommodate users.," said Schmidtfrerick-Miller. "Probably 80 percent of the streets in Jamestown would only require sidewalk improvements, and that's only the nature of an aging city."
Councilman Paul Whitford, D-Ward 6, said that the policy is on the same page with the The City of Jamestown: A Livable Community plan which the council approved. He said he supports complete streets and he thinks the council will as well.