Wednesday, February 1, 2012

City drops application for crosswalk grant

Bellevue project deemed ‘bureaucratically burdened’

Express Staff Writer

The Bellevue City Council voted last week to not pursue about $20,000 of available federal stimulus funds for two solar-powered lighted crosswalks on Main Street.

The city withdrew an application for the funding, which could have purchased four poles and flashing lights for crosswalks at two intersections.

Due to uncertainties in dealing with the federal government to get the project completed, city leaders decided to instead look toward the city's urban renewal agency for funding.

"The Urban Renewal Agency will meet next month. They have about $8,000 available today and this might be a project they will consider," Planning Director Craig Eckles said during a council meeting Thursday, Jan. 26.

Engineer Brian Yeager warned that just completing the "bureaucratically burdened" application could cost $5,000 in engineering costs.

"It would have been easier if you'd just bought the materials and had some guys dig four holes and put them in," Yeager told the council.

Planning Director Craig Eckles said Hailey and Blaine County officials looked at similar grant procedures and also decided to undertake the projects themselves.

Eckles said the city has already invested about $1,000 in engineering fees for the crosswalk project, and 30 hours of his staff time, since the crosswalks were first planned four years ago.

The council agreed that investing more in engineering, without a guarantee of the total costs and successful completion of the project, would not be a good bet for the city.

"This is a much-needed feature, but I can't see spending additional money for a 'maybe,'" said Council Chair Dave Hattula.

In other Bellevue news:

( The council authorized purchase of a $1,300 computer for the Fire Department.

Tony Evans:

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