Alamosa streets remain priority


ALAMOSA — Street work will remain a priority in Alamosa, and the First Street project will continue on its seven-year schedule.

Alamosa city councilors during a work session this week reviewed the city’s five-year capital improvement plan, which covers all major projects from streets and sewer lines to handicapped doors at the entrance to the library.

The councilors also discussed whether they wanted to continue on the seven-year track to complete First Street work or try to get it completed in less time. Not enough councilors wanted to condense the time frame to make it worth staff’s time to develop an alternate timeline, so the city will stick with the seven-year plan. The majority of council preferred the longer timeline on First Street so other street work in the city could be completed during that time as well, rather than spending more time and money on First Street and deferring work in other parts of town.

Councilman Jan Vigil said he had received comments from people who hoped the city could finish the First Street project sooner because they didn’t look forward to the inconvenience of construction on that street for seven years. He suggested condensing the project to even five or six years.

Councilman Charles Griego said if the city bumped up the First Street project, “a lot of streets elsewhere will get cut out,” and he was concerned the streets that would be left out would be the ones in his ward.

Alamosa Public Works Director Pat Steenburg said each phase of the First Street project costs $400,000-500,000, so if the city doubled up on any of those years, “That’s $400,000-500,000 that won’t be spend somewhere else.”

Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks said she did not want to waste Steenburg’s time working on a condensed time frame for First Street if only a few people on the council favored that.

Since there was not a majority consensus to redraw the First Street timeline, staff will not do that.

Steenburg reviewed the capital improvement plan with city council during its August 23rd work session. He said the $150,000 budgeted for street maintenance each year was scheduled to go away in 2021, but he would like to keep it going because it is making a difference throughout the city. He said this year the city was able to resurface almost three miles of streets, such as a section on south Craft Drive.

Also included in the ongoing capital improvement projects is concrete replacement ($70,000 annually.) However, the city did not conduct any concrete replacement work this year because there was so much else going on.

The city will be working with Xcel to replace streetlights with LED lights, with $40,000 budgeted for the next two years for that project, according to Steenburg.

Some budgeted projects may not cost as much as originally anticipated, Steenburg explained. For example, the city had estimated to spend $108,000 on street work at Lakeview and Positive Place by the SLV Boys & Girls Club. However, to accommodate a daycare project with Adams State and the club, a portion of the street would be vacated, which would require less street surface for the city.

Another area where savings could be realized is in the Washington Addition. Steenburg said he would like to know what the city council and residents really want in the area of West Eighth and West Seventh Streets, because after the city resurfaced an area of West Eighth and put in curb, gutter and sidewalks, he received “push back” from residents who didn’t want those improvements because it negatively affected the way they could park at their properties. He said if the neighborhoods really do not want all of the improvements, but just want the storm drainage improved, the city could save money on the other improvements and make the neighbors happy at the same time.

Brooks suggested a neighborhood meeting to get input from the residents.

The current budget for West Seventh is $50,000 in 2018.

Other street projects on the 2018 schedule are First Street from Edgemont to Poncha; Lambert from Clark to Carroll; and Hunt from Fourth to Main.

In addition to street projects, some of the other projects included in the city’s five-year capital improvement plan are:

• Upgrading cast iron water pipes, $37,500 annually. “We have 92,000 feet of old cast iron water pipe left in the city,” Steenburg said. It is failing and leaking and needs to be replaced, he added.

• Upgrading concrete/VT sewer pipe, $37,500 annually. The section of sewer line that collapsed last year was concrete. Steenburg explained that the $37,500 agenda allotment would fix a block a year.

• Discharge relocation at the wastewater treatment plant, $500,000 in 2018

• Paint exterior of Craft water tower by the high school, $250,000 in 2018. The school wants an “A” on the water tower, Steenburg said. He added when the city bids the water tower project, it will find out how much it will cost to put the “A” on there, and the school district can decide if it can afford to pay for that part of it.

• Install lift station for better drainage at Victoria and Thomas, $250,000 in 2018.

• In addition to annual patrol car replacement, the city plans to replace the code compliance trucks, one at $45,000 in 2019 and the other for that amount in 2022.

• Not in the five-year plan but needing to be added into the mix are purchase of a 2-ton asphalt roller, $60,000, and street dump truck, $85,000. Steenburg said the city quite often buys used vehicles.

• Levee certification needs assessment, $425,000 in 2018. That does not include final design or construction.

• Install handicap accessible doors at the library entrance, $6,500 in 2018. The main entrance to city hall has handicap accessible doors, but the library entrance itself does not. Councilor Kristina Daniel said the city needs to look at doing the same thing with the interior entrance to city council chambers.

• Update HVAC ($100,000) and replace the roof ($100,000) at the wastewater treatment plant.