By Ralph Echtinaw
Maple Street between South Main and Michigan Avenue will be reconstructed next year, as city council approved hiring Malley Construction of Mt. Pleasant for the job Tuesday.
With a bid of $1,255,167, Malley came in lower than nine other bidders. You may remember that Malley Construction did the M-46 expansion last year.
The Maple Street project comprises new pavement, curb and gutters, storm sewers, sidewalks, sanitary sewers and water main. The deadline for completion is June 30, 2020.
Water main work ($400,000) will be funded through bonds that are yet to be issued. Sanitary sewer work will be funded through the city’s sanitary funds. Roadwork will be funded through a $250,000 Michigan Department of Transportation grant and the city’s general fund.
Mayor Pro-Tem Melissa Allen talked about how bad Maple Street is. “I had to show a home almost at dark the other night and went down that on top of like of eight dogs chasing after my car, every wheel. I went back and they were all where they’re supposed to be. But I couldn’t believe how bad that (street) had gotten. I hadn’t been on Maple Street for quite a while, and it was very creepy slow, dodging. It will be nice to have it done.”
A neighborhood meeting giving residents a chance to question the engineer and contractor will be arranged by the Spicer Group, a Saginaw civil engineering firm, and Malley Construction, said Public Services Director Keith Risdon. Residents on and around Maple Street will probably be notified by door hangers.
Council approved buying three return sludge pumps for the wastewater treatment plant from Detroit Pump (of Ferndale, Mich.) for $51,900.
“The seals in these old pumps have been replaced numerous times over the years at the cost of around $1,400 each, and they last approximately six months,” wrote Risdon in a letter to city council. “During operations, the seals on these old pumps leak sewage sludge causing an ongoing cleanup process daily.”
Quotes for replacement pumps were also obtained from T.H. Eifert ($23,087) and Jett ($19,745).
Council approved buying 17 plug valves for wastewater treatment plant from Val-Matic Valves of Elmhurst, Illinois for $10,519.
These valves are “located throughout the piping system” and have “reached the end of their useful life,” Risdon wrote.
Council approved hiring T.H. Eifert Mechanical Contractors of Lansing to install the 17 plug valves and the three sludge pumps for $53,620.
Replacement of these valves and pumps is in the current budget.
Main Street bridge
In an effort to have a weight restriction removed from Main Street bridge, council approved spending up to $8,500 so the Spicer Group can test the bridge to see if the steel it’s made of is strong enough to bear more weight.
Built in 1955, the bridge is 100 feet long and 34 feet wide with two spans. In 2013 the Michigan Department of Transportation reduced the bridge’s load load rating by 20 percent.
This is important because semi trucks are using the Mill Street bridge as an alternate, which means they’re driving through downtown, which doesn’t thrill city administrators, elected officials and business owners downtown.
Risdon said that bridges are generally stronger than they are rated for, and this new test might prove that the Main Street bridge can bear just as much weight as the Mill Street bridge.
“If the steel is stronger than the minimum criteria in 1955 we get credit for that,” he said.
Councilman Tom Reed said, “I think it’s good to be proactive like that” as he made the motion to approve the deal with Spicer.
The first meeting of the city’s “Compete Count Committee” to aid next year’s census begins 6 p.m. today in city hall.
“We’ll get into what the complete count committee is all about,” said City Manager Kurt Giles.
Attendees will include Gratiot County Administrator Tracey Cordes and St. Louis Mayor James Kelly.
Jake Gregory of St. Louis Church of the Nazarene and Hope House homeless shelter said he will be on the committee but miss the first meeting.
If you think you’d like to be on the committee, show up tonight and see what happens. “Those easy little things. That’s how you guys hooked me in,” said Allen, who started her service to the city years ago with a similar endeavor.
“You finally figured that out,” quipped Mayor Kelly.
Police Chief Richard J. Ramereiz Jr. told the council that every police and fire agency in the county except Breckenridge is having trouble with lost transmissions on the county’s 800 Mhz system, and “we have no idea what’s causing it.”
Transmissions are not being picked up. Central dispatch is not always getting through to officers and firefighters.
“That’s huge,” said Allen.
Ramereiz said St. Louis police radio equipment has been tested, and there are no problems.
“It’s not a good thing when we can’t communicate,” he said.
Ramereiz told council that one blight-ridden house on north side of town is in foreclosure and the current occupant is moving out. A blight-ridden house on south side will be in foreclosure soon, he added. A third problem residence is now undergoing bi-weekly inspections and is making progress, Ramereiz said.
Four St. Louis residents have turned in petitions with a sufficient number of signatures to be on the ballot in November for election to city council.
They are Bill Leonard, 73, Don Dean, 70, Roger Collison, 69, and this reporter, 60.
The four of us will compete to fill two city council seats that are open because council members Jerry Church and Melissa Allen are not seeking re-election.
Mayor James C. Kelly is on the ballot, too, but running unopposed.
All candidates are invited to write an article for the Sentinel to introduce themselves to voters.
All council members were present. Council candidates Leonard and this reporter were present. Collison and Dean were not.