OLEAN – The city of Olean’s capital projects to-do list for 2014 is starting to take shape.
This week the city’s Strategic Planning Committee took a look at what is being planned in various parts of the city.
While such items as starting the North Union Street project and capping off renovations on Bradner Stadium remain priorities, other plans are starting to filter to the top of the list for 2014 and beyond.
Ward 6 Alderman Nate Smith said he would like to get solid numbers on brick repairs for select streets.
“These streets are part of our history,” he said. “These are worth saving, in many cases. Yes, it may be expensive, but we need to take a look at these streets.”
Public Works Director Tom Windus agreed on the merits of preserving many of the vintage streets.
“Most residents would like to keep the brick streets and, yes, it is expensive to fix and maintain,” he said. “There is a company in Jamestown that does do brick repair. We can analyze the worth of a street being kept brick and get some real numbers to look at the project.”
While many of the formerly brick streets have been paved over, several still exist in the city. Because of the expense, Windus said they often are not maintained very well.
Another quality-of-life issue addressed in the capital plan is the creation of a green space park in Ward 1.
To go with that, replacement of the Homer Street park, on the city’s north side, Ward 7, also will move forward in the coming year. The Homer Street park was closed in 2013 when the property was purchased from the deed holder, the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency, for a local business expansion.
Previously, the city rented the land from the IDA.
Heading street projects for 2014 are complete repair of York Street and Prospect Avenue. The projects will cost $775,000 and $1.9 million, respectively. The streets will be completely made over.
“There are some sidewalks there now, but I have noticed that, as you go up the hill, there are not any safe places to walk,” Windus said. “We will be replacing curbs and placing sidewalks as we fix these streets in the city.”
The streets have been in need of repair for quite some time. According to Ward 3 Alderman Paul Gonzalez, traveling on York Street, on the south side is a lot like “driving in a minefield.”
Ward 2 Alderman Ann McLaughlin said the capital plan is a tool that can make budgeting for a year a bit easier. It also has another effect in getting project funding from other sources.
“We have had our plan approved through the state Comptroller’s Office,” she said. “Having this plan in place does put us in a position to be able to leverage more grant possibilities.”
The plan is reviewed quarterly, McLaughlin said, and is used annually to formulate the city’s operating budget.