Boyne City Manager Michael Cain led a public informational presentation Thursday March 20 on the Ray and East streets construction project expected to begin this August and reach completion by mid-October.
The plan is to rebuild the first block of East Street between Main and Ray, two blocks of Ray Street and the alley south of the 100 Block of One Water Street.
“As part of this entire project, we’re looking to put as much of the overhead utilities underground as possible,” Cain said. “We’ve done a lot of that in other parts of the downtown area and it’s really cleaned up the views, and things of that nature.”
He added, “We had a little meeting with Consumers Energy about that as well, too.”
The city is utilizing the recent award of a Michigan Economic Development Corporation Downtown Infrastructure Grant totaling $583,519 to help fund the project, which is estimated to cost nearly $833,600.
“We’re supposed to have this project done by Dec. 31,” Cain said. “They just gave us the check a week or two ago, so it gives us a real short time to get this project planned and then built … but we’re real confident that we can do it.”
Last Thursday’s meeting was the first officially public meeting on the matter. Cain said there will be one to two more meetings held on the matter.
“The plans we’re going to be looking at today are what we’re calling the 35 percent plans—we’re about 35 percent into the design phase,” Cain said. “So, it’s real early preliminary stuff; real easy to move things around and adjust if we need to.”
Cain said the input from last Thursday’s meeting will be taken into account during the rest of the design phase.
The next meeting on the matter will be held after the city goes out to bids—or when they are at approximately 65 percent in the planning process. Then, there will be a pre-construction meeting.
Larry Fox of the city’s consulting engineering firm C2AE then explained the proposed project in greater detail.
“We’re going to start at the intersection of Lake and Ray,” Fox said… “Basically, the way things lay out, we’re pretty much going to put this roadway back the way it is, in terms of configuration, drive openings, parking. We don’t have a lot of options to, say, put in angled parking or other types of stuff just because of the way items lay out in the right of way.”
The project will include new sanitary sewer, water mains and new storm sewer as needed. The roadway and sidewalk will also be completely reconstructed. Aesthetic improvements including brick pavers, streetlights and trees will be added to that first block.
“We aren’t gaining or losing any parking spaces,” Fox said… “We are going to try, throughout the project … to minimize drive openings where we can reasonably do that. Obviously access management is important for all city streets.”
The reconstruction of the alley will be mostly pavement removal and replacement. However, there will be some work done to improve drainage issues.
Fox said if there is room within the right-of-way or easements are acquirable, then potentially a couple of decorative trees and streetlights will be added to the alleyway.
A handful of business owners and residents attended the informational meeting. Some inquired as to the timetable of certain aspects of the project, and one asked if certain property owners along the affected route had been alerted to the proposed project.
The 200 block of Ray Street will retain its current configuration with only slight variation. The sidewalk will still exist only on the south side of the road. However, at the east end at East Street, the engineers plan to shift the alignment a few feet to the north due to potential issues of encroachment with the sidewalk.
“The impact of that is that we will be getting a couple feet closer to the Mathers building,” Fox said.
East Street includes various undecided scenarios.
“On the west side of the road really pretty much everything will stay the same: the curb and gutter location, parking—the sidewalk we’re actually going to try to save what we can out of there,” Fox said. “The east side, there’s just some potential to do some things differently.”
He added, “One concept is to kind of duplicate the opposite side of the road.”
The next option is similar, would include closing a driveway and pulling the sidewalk back, which would be able to accommodate angled or perpendicular parking of up to eight spaces, and would require the city working with the property owner.
Some of the overhead utilities could also be relocated, hopefully eliminating several power poles and hanging wires in the area.
That block’s sanitary sewer is in good shape, Fox said, and does not need replacing.
A resident along that block asked if more decorative lighting could be erected in that area. Cain said there are plans to install decorative lighting there with streetlights that match the decorative streetlights downtown—one is outside of Radio Shack and the other is across the street from Red Mesa Grill.
Several business owners mentioned parking, driveway and sidewalk issues they would like to see addressed in front of their businesses.
Cain said the city will work to find the best solutions for everyone involved.
“We did meet with several property owners that would have seemed to be the most impacted by this,” Fox said. “But, basically, the way this lays out, we still need time to design this and bid it. We were looking to try and construct this as late in the year as reasonable without running into winter problems.”
Fox said the project should last nearly eight weeks, which would allow for a couple weeks of leeway if need be.