Interview with the City Manager
I want to thank all those that have provided live music for our First Friday events this year, all the vendors and everyone that’s participated, too. I feel like our First Fridays are a good outlet for individuals to come down and enjoy one another’s company. We do plan to keep these going so look for First Friday’s to start happening again next year in late spring.
Even though First Fridays are coming to an end for the year, there are other events coming up, like Grow Greater Greenfield’s Oktoberfest. It’s set to happen downtown on Saturday September 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. There’s more information about the event on G3’s Facebook page.
There are a lot of projects happening right now in Greenfield. Will you tell us about a few of those? – Yes. A big one beginning soon is Sycamore Circle that will address the much needed flood mitigation there. It has been subjected to terrible flooding.
Sycamore Circle is essentially at the bottom of a bowl and when it rains, the water inundates the area. If the drains are too small or get clogged, there is nothing else for the water to do but back up. We will be making the ditch ways wider to better help direct that water to the proper outlet and create a system in which debris and trash are collected prior to getting to the storm system.
That work there will be starting in the next couple weeks along Grandview Avenue, Eleventh Street, and within Sycamore Circle. This project will go a long way to mitigating the floodwater in that area.
Work on Fourth Street has started. It’s part of a continued phased project that we started five years ago with Mill Street. From there we came down Fifth Street and then across Fayette Street. It is all about I & I (inflow and infiltration) issues and flood mitigation. It’s a multi-year, multi-phase project. But because of the cost, we have to plan this out in phases like we are doing. The part of Fourth Street getting done at this time is from Mill to Fayette street. It will have sewer and water replacement, as well as storm sewer, sidewalk, curbs, and new pavement.
Our next phase of that would be going from Fayette Street down to Ludlow Street and then eventually down Ludlow to where the storm sewer is kind of exposed at the back of the cemetery. This will help all that water that comes down off the land west of Fifth Street to be able to flow out of there correctly and prevent future flooding there.
We were recently awarded money toward our phase one sewer and phase one water. The phase one sewer all together is a 5.5 mil project for work all throughout town at critical areas where I & I is significant. We are looking at areas on Jefferson, Fourth, South and Mirabeau streets, really taking care of the worst spots first.
We’ve been awarded at least 1.4 mil so far, and possibly another million, and are working on more.
Grants for phase one water projects have been awarded, too. This work will Include replacing fire hydrants, valves, and mains throughout town. This work will focus on the worst spots first, which includes parts of Fourth, South, and Mirabeau streets.
If you think about phase one sewer being $5.5 million, and it’s probably going to take five to seven phases of this kind of work to get all of the community, we’re looking at tens of millions of dollars worth of work, which is money that is not readily available to us right now, so we have to be creative how we fix this.
Of course we see the concerns and complaints from citizens as it relates to increase in water and sewer rates, but without that increase, these infrastructure projects could never come to fruition. As we have increased the rates, this has positively affected our ability for grant funding, because they see that we are trying to pay for our system improvements. We have applied for these grants for five years and up to now have been offered only loans.
We will also soon be installing two new tornado sirens. Both are through CDBG grants. The current siren at the practice field is being replaced with newer, updated equipment and a whole new siren is also being installed on Pine Street. It’s better warning coverage for our community and better help with the notification of citizens to seek safe shelter.
I want to apologize to the citizens because over the next weeks and months, we are going to have a lot of areas of town torn up and getting work done. There’s the projects I’ve just discussed. And we are working on pavement bids to get some paving done before the end of the season. Also, we did get money from the county commissioners to continue our work in the façade improvement program, so we’ll be seeing some work in the downtown, too.
To reach City Manger Todd Wilkin, email him at email@example.com.