Four Sidewalk Projects Move Forward

Four different special-assessed sidewalk construction projects appeared on the Ann Arbor city council’s June 16, 2014 agenda: Two public hearings were held, for projects on Scio Church and Barton Drive. In addition, two resolutions were approved, setting public hearings for future meetings – for Pontiac Trail on July 21 and Stone School Road on July 7.

The Pontiac Trail project was the subject of two agenda items – one to direct the assessor to prepare an assessment roll, and another to set a public hearing on the special assessment for July 21. The assessable cost is $72,218. According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, sidewalk construction would be done as part of the reconstruction of Pontiac Trail beginning just north of Skydale Drive to just south of the bridge over M-14.

The Pontiac Trail project will also be adding on-street bike lanes and constructing a new sidewalk along the east side of Pontiac Trail to fill in existing sidewalk gaps and to provide pedestrian access to Olson Park and Dhu Varren Road. That’s a part of the city’s Complete Streets program. In addition to the sidewalk, approximately 1,960 feet of curb and gutter is being added north of Skydale along Pontiac Trail to protect existing wetland areas. [.pdf of Pontiac Trail sidewalk special assessment area]

The council had previously directed the preparation of a special assessment roll for a new sidewalk along the west side of Stone School Road. This work will be done in conjunction with the Stone School Road reconstruction project from I-94 to Ellsworth Road. The total sidewalk project cost is roughly $128,500, of which about $55,000 will be special assessed. So the action taken by the council on June 16 was to set a public hearing on the special assessment for July 7.

The council did not take action on the Barton Drive or Scio Church sidewalk projects, but held public hearings on the projects. No one spoke at the public hearing for the Scio Church project. Jeff Hayner was the only speaker at the public hearing for the Barton Drive sidewalk, thanking everyone involved and noting that it’s been at least 12 years in the works. He encouraged the city’s pedestrian task force to take a look at the area.

The Barton Drive project would extend eastward from Bandemer Park at Longshore Drive. The cost of the Barton Drive sidewalk has been calculated to be $80,606. Of that, about $36,000 will be paid from federal surface transportation funds. Of the remaining $44,606, the city’s general fund would pay $42,626, leaving just $1,980 to be paid through the special assessment. The city council had voted at its May 19, 2014 meeting to set the assessment roll and to schedule the public hearing for June 16.

For the Scio Church sidewalk project, the total cost is expected to be $365,100. Of that, about $164,000 will be paid from a federal surface transportation grant. The remaining $201,100 will be paid out of the city’s general fund and by the special assessment of just $1,626.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.