Present were Arnold Knox, Director of Streets; Jim Bodenhamer, Susan Stockton and Paige Dillard, Committee members.
Copies of the Street Department's 2023 year-end report shared with the Committee for their review.
Arnie reported the Merje plan for the Wayfinding Program is ready to go to contract for the signs and plans to have them installed by this summer. Arnie explained their contract to the committee and told them the cost for their invoice included designing the sign and placement locations. The total was over $20,000 so it will need to go to Council for a bid waiver approval on Thursday. Arnie said, whenever they considered this program, it was three years ago, and at that time, the estimate for the signs themselves was approximately $500,000. Now, with inflation he expects the bids to come in over $700,000. He told the committee that there will probably have to be adjustments made to the budget if we go forward with the full bid. His said his Capital items are current and money from that line can be used. Since he speculates the price increase, the signs for the Parks Department could be paid out of their budget. Arnie said he didn't have a breaking point where a partial sign installation could happen this year and the rest next year, so he said they will all be installed this year. Paige asked if all the signs throughout the city would be redone, including signs for City Hall. Arnie said yes, every sign will be replaced, including the City Park sign on Cardinal Drive and the blue "hospital" signs that are around. It will start by the tech center at 62 West, even re-lettering the brick sign at the city limits. He said everything will coincide, similar to the signs in northwest Arkansas. This is the idea of the Wayfinding Program, to have all signs with a focal point, and this will get the attention of drivers. Paige asked who would make the decision as to the design of the signs, what they will look like, etc. Arnie told the committee, yes, he knows it has been a while and he said he had kept everyone up to date on program. He said he would email the documents to all and at next month's meeting will bring in the projector and make a presentation. He described what the base sign would look like, along with the Chamber of Commerce logo, adding, the chamber worked so hard on that logo. He described the logo, said there will be numerous proofings, and said he expects a month for bids to come in. After a lengthy discussion, he reminded the committee he will email the plans and make a presentation at the next street committee meeting.
The Street Report for December 2022 was reviewed.
The Bike Path Phase 2, from McCabe Park to Arkansas State University has one box culvert built, the steel for the next culvert is in. The cost of the box culverts are not included in the grant that had been applied for, and their cost is coming from the street budget. Arnie told the committee they are still waiting to hear from ARDOT for a preconstruction meeting. The cost to this project through December 31, 2022, is $84,067.18.
The new fire department building will be ready to start by summer. Arnie said he spoke with Chris and was told they do not have plans ready for the building yet. Arnie would like to see some sort of footprint so he will know where the building will go, and he can plan for the driveway, parking, and enough room for vehicle turnarounds. The cost of this project is $54,541.63.
The rebuild project at Russell Lane is moving along nicely. The crew is now around the corner and has widened it to three lanes at Baxter Lab. The Maintenance crew has started digging out at Breckenridge making their way to the curve. Arnie said they will be putting down millings and it will be ready for asphalt, but no asphalt will be laid until the whole project has been completed. Paige asked Arnie if he had an opportunity to meet with the new county judge to discuss forming a partnership between the city and Baxter County, to extend the rebuild to at least the corner. She said that would be great to tie in the whole road. He said he had not at this time. The Russell Lane rebuild project has a total cost of $303,466.62.
Clysta Willett Park had been on hold quite a while, waiting for the turf to be completed. The Construction crew is back into fields 1 and 2 and are going up the hill. Arnie reported Parks is starting their baseball season March 1, so that will be the deadline to complete. The total cost of this project is $142,945.18, and of that, $135,118.21 has been reimbursed to the Street Department.
The new access road that will go to the community center at McCabe Park has a cost of $64,436.15. The box culvert at the creek has been completed, the road bed has also been completed to the creek. The crew working here has been moved over to Clysta Willett Park to finish the rest of the concrete work by March 1. Arnie reported to the committee that there is a possible roundabout planned to be put in after the creek. He said there will be three or four parking lots tied into the community center location, and this will make traffic flow much better. He added there also is a promise of access for the previous landowner to the neighboring property.
Maintenance for the month of December totaled $32,199.99. The Maintenance crew was busy crack sealing, working at McCabe Park at the new access road, cleaning culverts, sign maintenance, trimming limbs, etc.
The Budget Summary was reviewed. Arnie reported the Administrative Fees for City Hall went over budget and Miscellaneous line item went over. He said this will be adjusted for the final budget.
Paige asked Arnie if there was any word on a new Public Works Director and he said interviews were still being done. Jim asked if the Street Department was fully staffed. Arnie told the Committee he is as full as he wants to be with 32 employees, but by this summer he will be putting together a third construction crew. He has already hired three new employees and he will be hiring another three to get this third crew going.