The aging street lights and crumbling sidewalks along the 200 block of 2nd Avenue NE are set to get a facelift after the Dyersville City Council voted 4-1 to replace both as part of a continuing effort to redevelop the area.
“We’ve been slowly addressing this particular area for development purposes, but we’ve also noticed there was a safety constraint in this area,” City Administrator Mick Michel said of the “substandard” overhead lighting, estimated to be remnants of the 1960s or 1970s.
Both public and private investments have been pouring into that neighborhood just north of First Avenue East for the last several years and, as more businesses are beginning to relocate to the area, the council said it was in favor of accommodating the additional pedestrian traffic that is sure to materialize.
The city also completed a surfacing project around three years ago to address the subpar road conditions while also upgrading sewer intakes.
“With the addition of the new multi-use building and Textile Brewery, as well as improvements to the Pennsylvania House, this area has been seeing greatly increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” a memo from Public Works Director John Wandsnider states. “This will likely continue to grow as further development occurs.”
Last year, part of the city’s budget went toward five vintage-style lights for 2nd Avenue NE, the same style that is currently used on First Avenue East, but the project was put on hold due to the uncertainty of how COVID-19 was going to impact the city’s resources.
Luckily, the lighting the city did order has already arrived so the project will not be impacted by widespread supply chain issues.
While city staff evaluated several options as to how to proceed, it determined that replacing the sidewalks to run new electrical to the lights would be less expensive than boring.
“Because of the sub-standard sidewalks, it is more cost-effective to tear up the sidewalks, relay them, and put the necessary conduit in there,” Michel explained.
In total, the project will cost just north of $85,000, so the council has decided to split construction between the current fiscal year and the next.
Michel said staff is anticipating construction starting this fall, if weather cooperates, on the north side of the street and southeast corner of 2nd Avenue and 3rd Street NE at the tune of $50,010.
By getting the north side done in this fiscal year, less of an impact will take place on the Pennsylvania House project, which could be completed as early as St. Patrick’s Day.
In the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2022, the south side of the street and northeast corner of 2nd Avenue and 3rd Street NE would begin at a cost of $35,460.
While the majority of the council was in favor of the city taking on the full burden of sidewalk replacement cost, Councilman Mike English objected, stating the council should at least consider property tax assessments to offset costs.
“I know when we reconstructed Second and First Avenue, there were property tax assessments that were paid for curb, gutter and sidewalk,” English said. “I think we should look at assessments — it’s only fair.”
English eventually cast the lone nay vote, citing the lack of assessments as his primary objection.