Lansing City Council discusses Blackhawk Alley, North Front Street projects

by B.J. Tomlinson

Due to the Labor Day holiday Monday, September 1, the Lansing City Council met in regular session Tuesday, September 2, which included a public hearing for the inspection of bids for the Blackhawk Alley Project.  There were no comments from the public and the hearing was closed. The Council then approved Resolution #850 which approved the plans, specifications and cost estimate for the Blackhawk Alley and Valley Street Water Main Improvement Project. The Council also approved Resolution #851 awarding the contract for the two projects to the low bidder, Brennan Construction of Lansing, in the amount of $89,944.25.
Resolutions #852, #854  and #855, all related to the North Front Street Water and Sewer Extension Project, were reviewed and approved. A special meeting for bid opening will be held Monday, September 22 at 3 p.m. instead of September 15 to allow for proper posting of notices.
The Council also approved a payment of $3,000 to Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) to write a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application. If awarded, the grant will be used to fund the Clear Creek Bridge and Valley Street Water Main Improvement Project. Mayor Mike Brennan said the project would benefit the entire Southtown area. Kevin Draves, WHKS Engineering, said the City could request up to $300,000 and suggested adding any other unfinished water/sewer projects in the application. Draves also advised that the UERPC application would require an engineering technical justification document that WHKS can provide.
David and Donna Svenson submitted a plat of survey for a lot on North Front Street in Lansing asking the Council’s approval to revise boundary lines to correct a long-standing encroachment on their property by a portion of Rose Johnson’s parcel. The Svensons propose to deed the portion of land in question to Johnson in order to accomplish the correction. The Council had no objections to the request, but tabled the item until the next meeting in order to correct language in the Resolution.
Jerry Aperans, Street Superintendent, presented information related to the condition of the City Hall. Aperans said there are significant leaks and possibly black mold in the basement of the building. One solution would be to repair the existing building by replacing the roof, repairing the basement wall and inspecting/removing the mold. The other options include demolishing the building and constructing a new one, utilizing space in the library basement or some other building in town, either permanently or temporarily. Council members Becky Conway and Dave Darling will investigate the options further and report their findings to the Council.
The Council reviewed and approved the Administrative Plan for the Owner-Occupied Rehab Program which will provide funds for low- to middle-income residents’ dwelling repairs and updates via a CDBG Grant. Applications will be accepted from October 1-31, 2014. Six houses will be rehabilitated in Lansing. Notices explaining the program and application procedures will be mailed to residents.
Police Chief Ed Stahl and Mayor Brennan agreed that the patrol cars and related equipment need to be replaced sometime in the future, stating a replacement plan should be developed soon.
Mark and Deb Ditzenbach addressed the Council regarding a parcel on Wall Street on which they hope to build. They are asking for the streets near the parcel to be vacated. Mayor Brennan said residents  have had water issues and he isn’t sure how deep into the current hillside they could go without creating problems. Since the item was not on the agenda, no action was taken. Council members agreed to look into the matter further. Brennan also said boring samples have been taken and substantial subsurface water flow was found; he suggested the Ditzenbachs to look into that before moving forward.

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