By DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott
Public Works has been busy with spring maintenance and repairs.
Cemetery spring cleanup is well underway and a little ahead of the normal schedule due mostly to good weather. Cemetery decorations are cleaned up, and a good portion of the spring shrub trimming is complete. We have taken the opportunity to catch up on three trimming and repairing headstones.
Stump grinding and restorations are also nearly complete. Mowing is just starting. Flags have been prepared for Veterans Day. Having the cemetery in good shape for Memorial Day should not be a problem. We were fortunate to have Fireman Carl Eyer and Mark Gasper (also a city resident) return as seasonal cemetery employees this year.
Park spring cleanup is likewise underway. Branches and debris have been picked up and initial safety inspections done. Twin City landscape has done trimming and installed the red mulch. DPW removed a downed tree in the river bay and cleaned up scrub along the bank. Worthy Electric is installing electrical receptacles and lighting, and the city Electric Department has planned the overhead electrical connection. The boat dock has been installed. Plans for the new basketball court at Lincoln Park were made, and a contractor has given a proposal that is planned for a June installation. Other work this summer will include painting at Clapp Park pavilion.
We were happy that Tommy Patterson returned as lead man on the mowing crew and is assisted by new hire Ed Hoyt, previously from the public schools maintenance department. Ed bring good experience and is a pleasure to work with. Welcome Ed!
Public Works has been cleaning and organizing at several of city lots. Currently the materials storage lot north of the DPW building is receiving a new asphalt millings base and reorganizing material storage. Work continues at the Wells Road lot, and the brush piled was burned. A frontage improvement project is planned at the Wells Road lot fixing drainage and visibility issues.
Work has begun at the pool with portions of the concrete deck replaced and joints sealed. Other work included interior painting and cleaning. The family changing room is ready for use this year. Public works will assist with pool maintenance this year.
A large hazardous tree was removed at South Mill and West Tyrell streets intersection. The tree had lifted the sidewalk badly, causing the walkway to be replaced and new handicap warning plates installed. Final restoration will be completed soon.
A sidewalk rehabilitation project was approved and awarded to Seifert Concrete at the last city council meeting for the 2003 enhancement project area on M46. Gray and red walk will be removed and replaced where overgrown trees were removed. Heaved sidewalk trip hazards will also be addressed. Upon completion of the sidewalk repairs the light pole bases are scheduled to be cleaned and repainted.
Public works has been working on street repairs and has completed the first round of gravel street grading. After this Jake Oswald took the John Deere tractor and front broom and swept gravel and stones out of residential area streets. This is the second year for this program, and we received many compliments and thanks from residents.
Paved streets are being swept when weather and schedule allows. Most potholes have been patched with plans to complete them soon. Our crack seal machine and material have just been delivered, and we hope to start that project in May. Paving work for this year is as follows: North Union from Giddings north to the city limits, Whitney Place and the Small Urban MDOT reconstruction project at West State Street from Main to Michigan Avenue.
Normal solid waste work is being done. Yard waste bags are removed on Mondays. Brush pickup is done the first full week of each month. Some incidental concrete has been removed. Best Excavating completed stacking the rubble pile and agitating the compost piles at the Wells Road lot.
Contact was made with Public Works concerning a volunteer work crew from Mid-Michigan Industries of Mt. Pleasant for a youth staff of four to five workers to assist with basic projects in the parks, cemetery or elsewhere. Talks are scheduled to continue in June for a six-week program to have the youth paint tables, pick up debris, basic housekeeping work for the city. A Mid-Michigan Industries supervisor will transport and oversee the youth during this assignment.
Winter snow equipment has been maintained and stored for the summer. Salt spreader cleaned and lubed. The John Deere tractor blade had two cylinders replaced. Spring truck maintenance is also complete with oil changes and safety inspections done. A Wheel Loader tire was damaged by a spike and repaired. The street sweeper was also serviced, and brooms installed. Bell Equipment demoed a new street sweeper as they were hauling it to the UP and going by us. The recently-approved dump truck has been ordered. Delivery is estimated in November-December this year.
We were happy to have Chip Volz return as a seasonal laborer this year. Chip was a big help last year and fit right in with the men. We have another new hire, Cade Pestrue of St. Louis, who will graduate in May and assist Chip with summer seasonal tasks until Cade goes to college in August. Welcome Cade!
Public Works responded to a sewer backup at South Franklin and Walnut streets. A blockage was found and removed in the Franklin sewer line, and a Walnut street sewer with a buried manhole was located by Mark Abbott and Shawn Felker. This sewer main was not shown on the electronic map. This information will be forwarded to Spicer Group for inclusion in the mapping software. A sinking manhole was repaired and raised on Wilson Boulevard. Bricks had deteriorated and collapsed.
Several signs were repaired and a new no-parking sign erected at Maple and Chestnut intersection to enforce a new traffic control order in a clear vision area for driver safety.
The late season salt was delivered, and the bunk is filled and ready for next season. Concrete bunk blocks have been purchased and plans for a concrete pad have been made to store pea stone used for winter weight in the plow trucks and gravel storage for quick access for small projects. This will be built in the south equipment lot at the DPW garage.
Mark Abbott attended three Road Soft webinars for the street asset management software and city council, parks and other meetings as needed. Met with contractor for pre-construction meeting at Michigan Avenue lift station project. All Public Works office duties and correspondence were completed. A final budget request was submitted to the utilities director with capital project recommendations.
Public Works employee Alex Velazco assisted the Water Department with a water main leak at 109 E Prospect dewatering and hydro-excavating with the Vactor sewer truck. The leak was repaired by Brian Henderson and Greg Austin from the Water Department.
Some sunken spots of sidewalk were replaced in front of City Hall.
Responded to local reporter’s request for more information on Public Works issues.