JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
EDITOR’S NOTE: The article has been updated to correct the estimated overall costs of the road project. The editor incorrectly added the two projected costs together instead of keeping them separate as two different options.
GRANITE SHOALS — The city of Granite Shoals took another step toward street improvements when the council approved a contract with Greg Haley of KC Engineering to lead the study and create a report with recommendations on what to do.
The council approved the measure Feb. 9.
The city is looking at a making improvements along a stretch of Prairie Creek Road. KC Engineering provided an analysis of 4,900-foot stretch of the road that could include curbs and gutters or more extensive drainage ditches. The projected cost for all the work could be between $1.7 million and $2 million depending on the option with which the city elects to go.
The projected costs do not reflect any additional right-of-way expenses, if necessary.
The projected cost of the option including a concrete curb and gutter and storm sewer cross section is approximately $2 million ($419 per linear foot), while the ditch cross section option is $1.7 million ($354 per linear foot). Though the ditch cross section could require additional right-of-way and associated costs.
“It’s a little more complex than Phillips Ranch Road,” City Manager Ken Nickel said. “There’s not as much space on Prairie Creek as there is on Phillips Ranch Road.”
According to the report, 40 feet is needed to install curbs and gutters. But to add the slopes behind the curbs for additional support so the curbs don’t fail, an additional 3 feet is needed. Nickel said staff members are trying to decide what to do. The other option is adding the ditch cross section. That’s simply digging ditches between the edge of the road and the ground that will catch water as it drains off the street. Prairie Creek has drainage issues, therefore, engineers had to include the cost of adding the ditch cross section.
City leaders also are grappling with improving the existing water and wastewater lines, Nickel said, noting that once these roads are built, they want them to last at least two decades. Therefore, it makes little sense to improve the roads but not examine what the pipes look like underneath before road construction begins.
“It ruins the integrity of the streets if you dig them out,” the city manager said. “If we do this, we should definitely consider what the water lines look like. We might as well do it right.”
As for Phillips Ranch Road, Nickel said it doesn’t appear it will be as expensive as Prairie Creek Road. The engineering study estimated any upgrades to Phillips Ranch Road are projected at $131 per linear foot for seal coat pavement or $162 per linear foot for hot-mix pavement.
Staff members are still examining ways to pay for the street repairs. Nickel said there hasn’t been a recommendation yet on what to do. The process right now is to determine a course of action that city leaders can then take to the residents.
Staff and council members also participated in a workshop regarding the city’s airport. One of the main questions asked was what is the best use of that property, Nickel said.
“One of the alternate uses of that property is to put soccer fields there,” he said. “I think that would be a great location.”
Staff members have been looking at the history and legal structure of the facility. It costs the city $10,000 annually to operate the airport.
Officials said residents near the facility are using it without the city’s permission.
“They have to get approval from the city manager,” Nickel said, quoting city regulations. “I haven’t gotten any requests. And I’ve been here for three years. There is one small business running out of there, and there’s a fee associated with that.”
In addition, staff members discovered the main controls for the airport were at a private residence. Therefore, Nickel instructed staff members to remove the controls from there and into a city facility that staff members had access to at a cost of $3,700.
“That made no sense to me,” he said of the original location of the controls. “We know our residents would do things like cut the grass, and we appreciate our residents volunteering for that. We decided to take over the responsibility of our own land.”
The council also heard the first reading of the pilot wildlife management harvesting program for the deer population. The city’s Wildlife Advisory Committee recommended a program that calls for a team of 10 archery hunters.
The hunters will be allowed on only six places, the city manager said, adding that they have identified potential spots. Hunters will be at least 75 yards away from houses and will not be near any city parks, he said.
The council will revisit this item at its next meeting Feb. 23.
“I expect we’ll have a resolution passed at the next council meeting,” Nickel said.
The city manager added that what pleased him the most throughout the workshop and meeting was the way people talked. He noted they were calm, listened intently and offered suggestions in a positive way that didn’t insult others.
“Many did a great job of talking,” he said. “They let everybody have time and communicate issues.”