Committee discusses plans to renovate alley

Andrew Hampp

Plans for the renovation of Alley 3, the pothole-ridden alley that runs from Main Street to Depeyster Street behind The Kent Stage, were discussed at last night’s Board of Control Committee meeting in Kent City Council chambers.

City Engineer Chris Tolnar and Public Service Director Eugene K. Roberts began their proposal to renovate the dilapidated alley by presenting the council with three payment options.

Option one called for a simple repaving of the alley and would cost $24,200. The project’s life expectancy was one to five years.

The second option suggested a more thorough repaving with more detailed pothole coverage. Its estimated cost was $59,400 and was expected to last five to 10 years.

The final option would entail what Roberts described as a “full-blown reconstruction of the road,” with a total price tag of $297,000, or $7,000 a year for 50 years.

“We assumed with little traffic on that alley, we’d resurface it once at 15 years and once at 30,” Roberts said of option three.

Ward 5 Councilman Ed Bargerstock wanted action taken as soon as possible, specifically with option two.

Councilman Wayne Wilson, who represents Ward 3, however, recommended the committee consider option three.

“We’re not pouring money down a rathole,” he said. “We’re already doing it on the Fairchild Bridge over on Crain (Avenue).”

Bargerstock argued the initial funding with both options would be the same, and action should be taken in the near future. Nearby businesses such as Huntington Bank, Spin More Records and Kent Natural Foods Co-op also have parking lots near Alley 3.

“It’s an eye sore,” he said. “It’s a hazard to those businesses. I thoroughly support (the renovation).”

The committee members all ruled in favor of moving ahead with option two except for Wilson.

After the meeting, Wilson expressed his disappointment in his fellow city council members for not going forward with option three.

“It’s sad we’re being short-sighted on that,” he said. “I think we should be looking long term instead of short term.”

Also at last night’s meeting, Tolnar and Roberts informed the committee that several of the city’s traffic signals were built by the Ohio Department of Transportation in 1987 and need updated. These signals included those located at the intersections of East Main Street and Rhodes Road, Summit Street and state Route 43 and the light at state Route 59 and Longmere Drive.

Tolnar said the engineering division has the opportunity to apply for federal funding, which they receive on an 80-to-20 basis, meaning 80 percent comes from federal funds, and 20 percent comes from state and local funds. The proposed stoplights would not be built until at least 2010, Tolnar said.

The Akron Metro Area Transportation Study is a regional commission that will be governing the federal figures.

The proposal to install new traffic lights also could lead to the widening of the traffic lanes on South Main Street. Ward 2 Councilwoman Carrie Gavriloff expressed concern that car dealers on Route 43 who may be renovating around that time may object to expanding the street lanes simultaneously.

City Manager Dave Ruller said he was not ready to make any formal decisions yet.

“We’re not at the point where we need to be deciding to do it,” he said. “At least we have a funding source to go to.”

Contact public affairs reporter Andrew Hampp at [email protected].