City awards contract for revitalization project

Published 5:59 am Thursday, February 14, 2008

By Staff
Grant funds
earmarked for
rehabilitating homes
Contributing Editor
Rivers &Associates will provide engineering services for a community revitalization project in Washington.
The Washington City Council chose Rivers &Associates over McDavid Associates and Appian Engineering. The contract, based on an hourly charge, was awarded during the council’s meeting Monday. Bobby Roberson, the city’s director of planning and development, said Wednesday the city should pay no more than about $30,000 for those services. The highest hourly charge for work on the project would be $130, he said.
The city has been awarded an $850,000 Community Development Block Grant to improve a neighborhood and rehabilitate homes of some low-income and moderate-income residents. The project area includes parts of West Sixth and West Seventh streets. The project budget is $970,000.
In December, the council authorized the city manager to negotiate a contract not to exceed $85,000 with Holland Consulting Planners to administer that project.
The project’s goal is to improve substandard housing and infrastructure in an area of West Seventh Street between Market and Respess streets and an area along West Sixth Street from Bridge Street to Van Norden Street.
The project calls for doing work to five severely deteriorated houses in the West Seventh Street area. It also calls for replacing a 4-inch water line with an 8-inch water line, replacing a substandard sewer line and resurfacing the street.
In the West Sixth Street area, the project calls for rehabilitating five severely deteriorated houses. It also calls for replacing a 2-inch water line with an 8-inch water line, replacing a substandard sewer line and resurfacing the street. The project also calls for combining seven vacant lots so three new housing units can be built in the area.
Rivers &Associates also will provide engineering services for extending city water and sewer services to a low- to moderate-income housing development off Keyesville Road. That infrastructure project is being paid for with grant money.
In other business, the council appointed six people to the Washington Electric Utilities Advisory Board, which was established in November 2007. A similar advisory board was disbanded in May 2004. The newly established board will be somewhat different from its predecessor.
Don Wilkinson and Richard Miller were appointed to three-year terms. Garleen Woolard and William Pitt were appointed to two-year terms. Wesley Shelton and Ed Gibson were appointed to one-year terms. Shelton served on a previous version of the board. Gibson served 18 years on the City Council. Woolard is a former city employee. Wilkinson is an electrician.
Board members will not hold voting positions nor adopt recommendations under majority-rule requirements, reads the ordinance that established the board. The board will not have authority to set electric rates. The board will be required to meet quarterly during any given year, with the option to meet more often if needed.
In November 2007, City Manager James C. Smith said it makes sense to revive the advisory board, in part, because Washington Electric Utilities is a “high-profile activity of the city.” Smith also said the board will have the duty of identifying and addressing “public concerns and perspectives” related to the city’s electric department.
For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, see future editions of the Daily News.