This story was updated to reflect the council voted down the proposal, 4-3.
For the second time during the Martin Administration, plans for Erie Avenue road work have failed to pass City Council.
At Monday’s meeting, representatives of CrossRoad Engineers of Beech Grove presented plans for repaving, sidewalk expansion, and other improvements to the stretch of road between 5th and 8th streets.
Andrew Wolf, vice president of the firm, told the board that this would be the first phase of a multi-part project. Attending the meeting with his co-worker, Trent Newport, president of CrossRoad, the duo told the council various ideas. Focus would be on resurfacing, and making sidewalks and parking stalls wider along with additions of trees, streetlights, and concrete pavers.
“Parking would remain on both sides,” said Arin Shaver, executive director of the Planning Department.
The long-term goal would be to extend the improvements to 18th Street.
Wolf said before these plans could come to fruition, though, CrossRoad would need to be hired by the council to produce a reconstruction design at a cost of $240,810. Fees would include survey work, utility coordination fees, and permitting and bidding expenses. Once the plans were created, then the firm could use them as a supplement to any grant applications in which the city could apply.
One such application would be a federally funded 80/20 grant. “With this grant,” said Newport, “you would get more bang for your buck … you just couldn’t start until later, possibly 2027.” Another option would be local matching grants.
Wolf said his firm was looking to begin the survey and design of the area with the intent to find funding later. Depending on financial options selected, work could begin between 2022 and 2027.
But with a price tag of around $1 million for the construction work between 5th and 8th streets, Carl McPherson, councilman, said he wasn’t sure the designing investment would be sound for the city. The high cost is due to the street’s width, which extends to approximately 52 feet at some points.
Plus, said Amy Densborn, councilwoman, this plan only incorporates the downtown area and foregoes the 18th Street section, which is the entry point for motorists coming into Logansport. “I’m disappointed in this.”
Shaver said the focus on 5th to 8th of Erie was due to the high cost. Previously, she said, the council was concerned with the price tag. But if the group would like to know what improvements could transpire for the full stretch of road, then those designs could be drawn up, she suggested.
Councilman Scott Peattie liked the idea. “That route is really bad now and it’s a main entry into the town.”
“I would like to see the process for the entire corridor,” Jake LeDonne, councilman, agreed.
Mercedes Brugh of Logansport said she would like to have the avenue redone, especially if bicycle trails and walking paths could be included.
But McPherson was cautious, claiming that paying more than $240,000 in upfront fees for such a small section of the street would not help with the back-end costs that could accrue if plans for 8th to 18th streets also were created.
The rest of the council agreed, voting down the proposal, 4-3, to move forward with plans to redo Erie Avenue.
It was a decision that did not sit well with Mayor Chris Martin.
“I’m disappointed with the Erie Avenue vote as once again council turns it down,” he said. “We’ve brought two proposals during my administration, but council won’t vote to get (the work) done.”