City hires firm to plan street work

FAIRMONT — A pair of anticipated construction projects received the green light from the Fairmont City Council on Monday.

Reconstruction of Lake Avenue from East Fourth Street to Downtown Plaza will enter the initial planning phase, while the project to replace the Pioneer Bridge is ready for bids.

The council approved hiring Bolton & Menk to provide engineering services for the Lake Avenue project.

“This is a pretty involved project with the existing intersections. There’s quite a few businesses,” said Troy Nemmers, city engineer/public works director.

Although the project is on the 2019 improvement schedule, the complexity of planning and design as well as public engagement, traffic modeling, intersection design, signal design and cross-section revisions will push construction back a year.

“We’re actually looking at 2020 construction for this project due to the design,” Nemmers said.

A tentative timeline offered by Bolton & Menk lists an open house in March to provide information to businesses and residents along Lake Avenue and to interested residents.

The century-old Pioneer Bridge, which was torn down in February 2017 due to safety concerns, will be replaced with a 12-foot wide pedestrian structure. Bids will be opened on Feb. 20, and construction will begin this summer.

Turning to other business, the council approved a 3 percent hike in water rates, effective in February billing, to fund current and future capital projects. The increase, which was recommended by the Public Utilities Commission, will cost an average residential water customer about $1.35 more per month.

In another matter, the council formally revoked the on-sale liquor license/Sunday liquor license for Jessie’s Smokehouse at 1500 Albion Ave. According to Elizabeth Bloomquist, city attorney, the city received notice of termination of liquor liability insurance for the business in November, and owner Carl Wilcox did not pay the second half of the liquor license fee that was due in December.

In other business, the council:

o Approved the mayor’s appointment of Chantill Kahler Royer to the Fairmont Economic Development Authority.

o Heard the investment report from Dec. 31, 2018, which showed the city’s investments earned $474,000 in interest, an increase of $136,000 from 2017.

o Approved an ordinance requiring at least 10 feet but not more than 30 feet for a side yard setback in R-3 multiple family residential districts, amending the former ordinance that called for 10 percent of the lot width with no maximum.