Prep work starting on Fourth Street improvements

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — Although construction for Fourth Street improvements in Huntingburg will start in February, visible preparation work on the street will start next week.

Mayor Denny Spinner explained the prep work to the Huntingburg Board of Public Works Thursday morning. A meeting to update Fourth Street business and property owners on the work will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 508 E. Fourth St.

Milestone Contractors of Bloomington is redesigning Fourth Street between Jackson and Geiger streets. Fourth Street between U.S. 231 and Jackson Street will be done first. Work will also start then on the street’s intersection with U.S. 231, which is Main Street in the city.

Next week, street lights will be removed so that redesign work can be done to the sidewalks and road. Three bright LED lights will be on poles near the construction area to illuminate the area. So the street will still be lit, which is good for the public and for construction, Spinner said.

Milestone will videotape the existing conditions of street the week of Jan. 14. This is required by the Indiana Historical Society, Spinner said. The society had to approve the project since Fourth Street is designated as a historical district.

During the week of Jan. 28, signage will be put up, to give the public information, such as how to navigate around the construction, how to reach businesses during that time and where to park.

As part of the overall project, the city is taking care of the stormwater work along the street. The public works board hired Love Excavating of Huntingburg to do that work along Fourth Street from U.S. 231 to Geiger Street for $988,150. Work from Main to Jackson Street has already been done.

Street Superintendent Jason Stamm said the stormwater work should be done before construction starts.

Redesign work is expected to start next month. Milestone can work through the spring of 2020. But the street must be clear and open for November 2019’s Christmas Stroll.

Once completed, the street will have a driving lane and sidewalk; a lane situated between the two would be used optionally as a walking lane, parking area or space for outdoor uses by a business, like seating. Trees and planters would be placed in what is now the parking lane, leaving about three parking spaces between the planters.

Businesses will have the option of using part of the sidewalk or the parking lane in front of their business for enhancements like seating. The design also incorporates part of the Heritage Trail, which is a walking and bicycle path that will ultimately connect the north and south ends of the city.

 

The board also:

• Heard from Stamm that the train-on-track warning signal on U.S. 231 near 14th Street is working. Spinner had heard from a constituent that the signal was not, so he alerted Stamm. Stamm sat out at the signal and watched it turn on when a train was on the track at U.S. 231. He speculates that people are past the signal before the light comes on. But in those cases, a person can still turn on 12th, 11th and 10th streets to go back to the railroad bypass at Progress Parkway if they see a train on the track, City Attorney Phil Schneider said.

• Recommended to the Huntingburg Common Council that no parking be allowed on Stellar Way. The street, which is in the Hunters Crossing subdivision, is not wide enough for emergency vehicles, like fire trucks and ambulances, to turn around on the street if cars are parked on the road.

• Gave a conditional offer of employment to Cole Meyer to become a Huntingburg Police Officer. Meyer, who is currently a reserve officer, would have to attend and complete the Law Enforcement Academy, Police Chief Art Parks said. Meyer will replace Steffen Zink, who resigned late last year.

• Amended the police department’s handbook on rules and regulations to include an already enacted city policy that an officer’s first year is a probationary period, and the officer could be suspended or terminated if their performance is not satisfactory. Some new officers were not aware of the policy, Parks said, so he requested that it be included in the department’s listed rules and regulations.

• Agreed to allow Jimmy Kulbeth to put up a fence on city property that is just west of his Orchard Lane home. Kulbeth explained that the fence would keep trash from overloaded bins at a nearby trailer park from blowing onto his property during high winds.

• Decided to look into the cost of putting concrete in an alley behind Kulbeth’s home. Kulbeth explained that the dust from the alley goes into his garage. He asked if he could lay the concrete in the alley and then have the city take over its maintenance. The board told him to talk to Stamm to find out the cost for making sure the design meets the city’s specifications.

• Purchased for the police department a 2019 Durango from Sternberg of Jasper for $31,407 and two mobile radios from Motorolla Solutions of Evansville for $9,640. Assistant Police Chief Brad Kramer is working on getting a grant to pay for up to 35 percent of the cost of the Durango, Parks said.

• Hired Love Excavating to complete work on a sewer main project on Third Street between Walnut and Chestnut streets for $26,000.

• Declared the fire department’s old 1980 fire truck as surplus, so that it can be sold. The department’s new truck will be delivered at the end of the year, Fire Chief Scott Patberg said.




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