Friday, April 25, 2008

4th Street, Phase 2 set to start

City Council approves $9,000 for Harriman Square project

Express Staff Writer

The block from Main Street to Washington Avenue will soon be the scene of major construction, as Phase 2 of the Fourth Street Heritage Corridor is set to begin before the end of the month. Starting at the corner of Leadville Avenue, the project will widen sidewalks and narrow Fourth Street along the two-block stretch.

For the second time in as many months, Bellevue--based Burks Excavation submitted the lowest bid for constructing the second phase of Ketchum's Fourth Street Heritage Corridor, allowing work to begin by the end of this month.

After a public works licensing snafu invalidated Burks' bid the first time around, the Ketchum City Council reopened the project's bidding at a special meeting on Wednesday, April 23, with Burks coming in about $20,000 lower than its two competitors.

The bid of $577,148 was just over $28,000 more than Burks' previous bid, an increase City Interim Administrator Jim Jaquet said was due to the cost of removing asphalt, which had been absent in the original bid.

The second phase of construction of the three-stage Fourth Street Heritage Corridor will run from Leadville Avenue west across Main Street to Washington Avenue.

A pre-construction meeting is set for Monday, April 28, at 10:30 a.m. at City Hall to give business owners in the area and residents an opportunity to speak with the contractor about the work schedule.

If construction goes according to plan, Phase 2 will be completed by July 2, in time for the city's annual Fourth on Fourth celebration.

Last summer the city began with construction on the two blocks from Walnut to Leadville avenues as the first part of its plan to create a more pedestrian-friendly town center by widening sidewalks, narrowing Fourth Street and adding new street lights and places for public art.

Eventually, the completed project will span the entire length of the eight-block street from Spruce to Second Avenue, costing an estimated $4.5 million.

Jaquet said $510,000 had been budgeted for Phase 2, but the anticipated price tag is nearly $900,000 when the cost of engineering, a 10 percent contingency allowance, and paver, lights and planter purchases are included.

Of this amount, nearly $650,000 will be provided via a $1 million loan from former City Councilman Steve Shafran to the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency for use on this project.

The remainder will be made up from an anonymous $250,000 donation given to the city last summer after the Ketchum Police Department helped find the donor's car and two poodles. While the donation was unrestricted, Jaquet said the donor wished it used for something significant, and Police Chief Corey Lyman suggested the Fourth Street project.

The council had the option of saving $100,000 by ending the construction at the alleyway between Main Street and Washington Avenue, but quickly decided it would be beneficial to complete the entire block during this round of construction.

In addition, council members approved just under $9,000 for use on the restoration of Harriman Square, which lies at the intersection of Leadville Avenue and Fourth Street.

The square, which has received recent publicity thanks to the efforts of advocate Royce Milaskey, is home to a large steel sundial inlaid among the intersection's pavers.

Since its construction in the mid-1980s, the square has not been maintained nor completed. For example, the two existing lampposts topped with imitation crystals to symbolize Idaho's designation as the Gem State have yet to be wired for power. And the sundial has never been functional, due to the fact that the "gnomon"—the shadow maker of a sundial—was never erected, though the concrete base sits on the southwestern corner of the intersection.

While the council expressed support for restoring the square, the majority of the work will have to wait until autumn.

"We met with Burks and discussed the dial and the only way it can be done without interrupting the contractor is if the work is done after Labor Day," Jaquet said.

Councilman Larry Helzel said it's important to include area businesses, such as those in the Galleria Building, in the pre-construction meeting to get input for the square construction schedule.

While the lights will be wired for power and new pavement will be laid to the edge of the steel ring during the Phase 2 construction, most of the restoration, including replacement of the old metal for the sundial and the pavers, will likely take place in mid to late September.

Milaskey said he has already raised $2,000 in addition to contributions of labor for the project, but will require funding from the city for the pavers.

The mayor and council said that with the extra time, they hope to be able to raise that money through community support.

"I'd be willing to bet that between now and then, that money (the city has to pay) will vaporize with energy from the community," Councilman Ron Parsons said.

Fourth Street Meeting

What: Pre-construction meeting for business owners and residents.

Where: Ketchum City Hall.

When: Monday, April 28, at 10:30 a.m.

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