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Street repairs still on drawing board

City asks Union Pacific to correct damage to Plum Street, hears about U. S.-50 future

Staff writer

The issue of street repairs took up much of the evening Monday at Peabody City Council meeting. Jim Ralston of APAC Paving was present to answer questions regarding his bids to resurface Eighth Street between Maple and Elm streets, Sixth Street between Elm and Pine, and Pine Street from Fifth to Seventh.

Also on the table was a list of seven or eight places in the city that need repairs because of improper drainage or previous water pipe repairs that have never been resurfaced properly.

After crunching numbers for an hour, the council approved concrete work for the alley between the post office and Heckendorn and agreed to have Ralston refigure the bids for Sixth and Eighth streets with a different surface depth than previously bid.

In a related item, city administrator Jeff Benbrook told council members he has been in contact with Union Pacific Railroad officials about damage to Plum Street when they were in Peabody for several weeks repairing crossings and the rail bed.

Using the bid APAC Paving made to resurface Plum Street, Benbrook filed a claim with the railroad for $213,000.

The drainage ditch along the tracks had to be graded to carry water away from the street and rail bed. Heavy equipment the railroad used displaced asphalt along the shoulders of Plum Street from Second to Eighth Street. Large cratered areas opened up along the east edge of Plum. A storm drain cover at the curb of the Third Street crossing collapsed from the weight of one a UPRR truck that backed over it.

Benbrook told council members he included 36 photos of damage in his claim to the railroad.

He had no indication when the city’s claim might be addressed or settled with Union Pacific.

Mayor Slocombe reported on a conversation he had with Joe Palic, Kansas Department of Transportation representative for the Marion County area.

Slocombe said the state has no money for financing highway projects, but maintenance issues will be covered. Palic suggested Peabody stay abreast of information related to U.S.-50 and maintain a current “wish list” for such time as the state decides to move forward. Palic said his latest information showed the state leaning toward a four-lane highway instead of the super two U.S.-50 is now.

Slocombe cautioned this statement is merely a current indicator of KDOT plans and the change may never happen. He did, however, urge council members to remain knowledgeable about the situation so the city is prepared if plans proceed.

In other business, the council:

  • approved sending Kansas Department of Health and Environment an application to extend the sewer project for the sixth time as the city awaits a report about possible cadmium contamination at the former sewer plant. The former plant has not been demolished yet.
  • Discussed vandalism at Peabody City Park. Plants and flowers in the raised beds on the west side of the park were pulled up Friday night.
  • heard that Tim and Barbara Hatch had come to the city building to pick up an application to demolish a house they own at 710 N. Walnut. The application has not been filled out and returned to the city office. However, it was noted a Dumpster and a chute from the second floor are on-site. After discussion council members approved a motion to have Benbrook send the Hatches a letter saying the council has authorization of legal council to proceed with the demolition and the city’s contractor will be at the site to do the work as bid.
  • discussed areas in the city where weeds have been allowed to grow unabated because of abandoned gardens, alleys, and properties. Health and safety officer Tammy Whiteside was not present at the meeting. Council members reviewed the nuisance property list and asked that letters be sent to additional owners who have allowed weeds to take over.
  • also addressed the problem of properties where grass has grown over the curb and into the street. In some cases the curb is no longer visible because of grass and weeds encroaching on the curb, concrete apron, and street. Benbrook reminded the mayor and council members that maintenance of those areas is the responsibility of the property owner.
  • heard a report of Main Street activities from interim director Shane Marler. Marler invited the mayor and council members to the open house Wednesday afternoon at Jackrabbit Hollow for faculty and staff of the Peabody-Burns school district, to the tailgate party honoring senior athletes Sept. 17, and to the Sleepy Creek concert series beginning Sept. 28. Marler reviewed the selection of fall banners and asked permission to barricade First Street between Walnut and Sycamore for the tailgate party.
  • also heard from Marler that he contacted Newton Medical Center, St. Luke Hospital in Marion, and Hillsboro Community Medical Center to inquire about getting a physician in Peabody since Dr. Whitely has moved his practice to Herington.
  • reviewed the status of city department spending as of August.
  • heard from councilman Larsen that city attorney Michael Biggs had not yet reviewed the memorandum of agreement between the city and Peabody Main Street. Also awaiting legal approval are the Main Street director’s job description and contract for employment.
  • heard from Benbrook that several city employees are interested in participating in additional retirement plan options. He is reviewing information on various plans.
  • approved several training sessions for Benbrook covering identity theft prevention, health insurance updates, and KPERS agent workshop training.

Last modified Sept. 10, 2008

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