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No windening for N. Chancery St.
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Resurfacing, not widening, will take place on North Chancery Street. The bumpy, two-lane street should be smooth in an estimated three months.
McMinnville officials voted for resurfacing 6-1 at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Tuesday night. McMinnville Mayor Norman Rone and Aldermen Jimmy Haley, Billy Wood, Rick Barnes, Clair Cochran and Junior Medley voted for resurfacing, while Vice Mayor Everett Brock voted against it.
At a joint meeting of the Street and Sanitation Committee and Finance Committee held prior to the full board meeting, Brock again stood alone in opposition to the vote to resurface.
“Before we vote, I would like to say that everyone on this board, with the exception of Junior Medley who was not on the board at the time, voted for widening,” said Brock. “The only one who didn’t vote for widening was Bobby Kirby and he abstained.”
To the comment, Rone added, “That was a long time ago.”
“It was Oct. 22 and Nov. 9 of last year,” said Brock. “It wasn’t that long ago.”
Medley added, “Let’s just pave it and be done with it.”
What sounded like a motion by Medley received a second from Haley.
Committee members voted 5-1, with Haley, Wood, Barnes, Cochran and Medley voting for the measure. As mayor, Rone does not sit on any of the committees and does not get to vote.
During the board meeting, Neil Helton, the owner of 807 N. Chancery Street, encouraged officials to vote in favor of resurfacing.
“I spoke with the contractor and he says the entrance to my business will be shut down,” said Helton. “That scares me. I didn’t buy the property to make a profit off it in the future. I guess my children might, but I didn’t. It would tickle me pink to see that street paved so we can move on with business.”
Moving on, but not in the direction of widening, will cost the city. The vote to widen last year was in fact a vote to hire Highways Inc. to do the work.
“It will cost the city about $20,000 to get out of that contract,” said project contractor Anthony Pelham. “That cost can be rolled into negotiations with them to do resurfacing.”
Although exact numbers are not known, Pelham says resurfacing and breaking the original contract, could put the cost for resurfacing at about $250,000.
Cost for asphalt has increased between the time Highways Inc. was given the contract and the present. Because the city had to wait on land acquisition and did not move forward in a timely manner, Highways Inc. would have asked to negotiate a price to cover that increase, says Pelham.
Land acquisition was still a problem Tuesday night.
“I guess you could say we are approximately one-third of the way there,” said city attorney Tim Pirtle, who updated officials about negotiations with property owners on the street.
Of the 42 parcels of land necessary for widening, 13 owners agreed to donate their property, and 12 agreed to the stated consideration. The 17 other parcels are mostly corporate owned either out of town or out of state. Of those, eight may be donated and nine have not returned the city’s attempts to contact.
The wait had also pushed widening completion from August 2010 to April 2011.
“If we move forward on the project tonight, you will be finishing up this time next year,” said city administrator David Rutherford. “It’s a 210-day process. We will run into winter. We will not be able to get asphalt.”
Brock says he is not upset about standing alone in both meetings. His vote was a stance to finish what was started.
“I felt like we made our stand and we should have stuck with it,” Brock said. “I’m looking to the future and not tomorrow. I understand the business owners on the street are looking at tomorrow, but I’m looking toward the future. For the long-term benefit to the city, I wanted to go ahead and do it.”
Resurfacing the street will make the street similar to what is beside Walmart. Construction, which includes contract negotiation time, should be finished in July.