Ramp upgrades planned for summer

GLADSTONE – Gladstone residents hoping to see street improvements this summer may have a rough road ahead, as no surface improvement projects are planned in the city.

The only project planned for the city’s streets is updating the sidewalk ramps on Delta Avenue from 4th Street to 6th Street and 4th Street from Delta Avenue to Minneapolis Avenue to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The ramp upgrades will make the streets eligible for grants through the Small Urban Program, which provides federal Surface Transportation Program funding to cities with populations between 5,000 and 49,999. Using the funding from the Small Urban Program, the city plans to resurface those streets in 2015.

“It was already anticipated, as far as being planned (to wait to resurface), before this winter,” said Gladstone Public Works Superintendent Barry Lund.

Despite the lack of resurfacing projects, the city crews are still working to manage the damage caused by this year’s winter, which caused water mains to break and potholes to form throughout the city.

“We still have people out patching; we still have people out with the water breaks,” said Lund.

Water main breaks are typically under streets, alleys, or other paved areas, where snow cover is not available to insulate the ground. To fix the breaks crews must tear up pavement to reach the broken lines and then restore the road to a surface safe for motorists.

“Right now we’re basically putting it back to gravel at least and then in the next month or so we’ll start repaving those sections,” said Lund.

While Lund believes that there are sections of road that should be repaved to address the asphalt damage from the hard winter months the funding just isn’t there.

“We have to find the money somewhere, whether it’s in the street fund – which is isn’t – or in the general fund, or assessments,” said Lund.

Based off the March 31 preliminary budget, the city has $77,000 in the local street fund and $53,000 in the major street fund.

“That won’t get very far,” noted Gladstone City Manager Darla Falcon.

Currently, the city is not looking for additional road pavement funding. However, additional grant funding is expected next year and will be used in 2017 to resurface a high traffic portion of Michigan Avenue near the OSF St. Francis Medical Group clinic.

Even without resurfacing projects, DPW employees will be busy this summer. In addition to the maintenance and repairs that are typical in the summer months, DPW employees will work to renovate the new Downtown Development Authority building building and farmers’ market area in the 900 block of Delta Avenue.

“DPW is already busy on the DDA building downtown,” said Falcon, adding that the city had employees that were properly licensed contractors.