Union Street construction continues. ( John Noble / WOUB News)

West Union Street Money, Timeline Brought To Council

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Enhanced sidewalks and a newly-paved West Union Street are on the way, if city council approves the money needed to bring the changes to fruition.

The city will need $75,000 to finish sewer and sidewalk improvements and enhancements, along with repaving and lane striping for West Union Street, Andy Stone, director of the city’s Department of Public Works told city council last night at their regular meeting.

That money, however, won’t all be new money, Stone told the council as it went through the ordinance for the first of three readings.

“That $75,000 will come through both appropriation and authorization,” Stone said.

Some of the money is already budgeted for city services, since storm sewer improvements and sidewalk repair on the street are necessary whether or not the other enhancements are made to the area.

“The properties drained before the (November 2014) fire and they are not draining now, and we don’t know why,” Stone said.

City council members agreed with Stone that even without enhancements to the area, the infrastructure would need work.

“It’s redevelopment after a disaster,” said council member Chris Fahl.

The ordinance to create a new, narrower two-lane West Union Street corridor that would include widened sidewalks, bike racks and new landscaping was introduced by Mayor Steve Patterson. Plans were vetted through business owners on the street in a public forum.

Three plans were presented to business owners that did not allow for two lanes of traffic and also limited parking spaces on the street. After hearing public input, BDT Architects, which was contracted by the city to design the new space, revised the plan to allow for two lanes and parking on both sides of the street.

Stone said the improvements should remain in the same timeline contractors have for the completion of the rebuild of the Union Street buildings. He said the storm sewer and curb improvements that are necessary will happen with money already appropriated into the Public Works budget and can be done “relatively rapidly,” with completion slated for July.

If approved by city council, after the storm sewer and sidewalk repairs are made, repavement would begin on the street, trees would be added to the street, bike racks would be installed and signage would be placed for parking.

“One of the goals of the mayor is to go to ParkMobile kiosks so you don’t have meters cluttering up each space,” Stone said.

The council will need to approve the ordinance after three readings for it to be adopted.

At Monday’s meeting, council also had a second reading of a resolution that would put a 0.2 percent increase of the annual city income tax on November’s ballot.