Painesville officials discuss Reed Avenue, Liberty Street projects for 2023

Sep. 24—Painesville officials recently discussed plans to resurface Reed Avenue for the first time since 1980 and make changes to the Liberty Street water mains, two of which were installed before 1964.

Both projects, planned for 2023, were addressed at the Sept. 19 City Council meeting. Council authorized city officials to enter into agreements with the Ohio Public Works Commission to fund the infrastructure improvements.

According to the meeting's City Manager Legislative Report, Reed Avenue's pavement condition rating is 50.7, which is classified as poor. The planned road improvements will cost $643,100, with the city applying for a $321,500 grant from OPWC.

City Engineer Leanne Exum explained to council that the improvements to Reed Avenue were planned for 2022, but rising costs resulted in a higher estimate than the city expected.

The planned improvements will result in a wider road and will include cement stabilization, asphalt pavement and the installation of a curb and a new storm sewer system, she added. The project will likely receive the funding, as it received a high score from OPWC.

Because it will use OPWC funding, the city cannot award the contract until after July 1, Exum noted, adding that she expects work to begin at the end of July or beginning of August. While work is ongoing, the road will be closed to all but local traffic.

The Liberty Street project will involve the sections of the road south of the railroad tracks and north of State Route 84.

The city will abandon 4- and 6-inch water mains that were built before 1964. Additionally, the city will install 74 residential service connections to a 10 inch water main that currently serves the area. Finally, the city will build three new fire hydrants that will be connected to the 10-inch water main.

According to the report, the city will pay for $175,400 of the project's $350,800 cost. To cover those expenses, the city applied for a $125,400 OPWC grant and a $50,000 OPWC loan.

City Manager Doug Lewis said that he does not expect the city to receive the OPWC funding for the Liberty Street project, as it was the first project to score below OPWC's funding cut-off line. The city will only receive funding if projects that scored higher are canceled or return some of their awarded money.

The city applied for both a grant and a loan to receive an extra point from OPWC, he said.

Exum added that the loan would have no interest.

If the city does not receive OPWC funding for the Liberty Street project, Lewis said that the city will still go ahead with the project, likely using money from the water fund. There are plans to resurface Liberty Street in 2024, and the water main work needs to be completed before then.

"The City of Painesville's policy is to fix underground utility lines before a road is paved," Exum said in an email, adding, "We know that there is currently an issue with the 4-inch and 6-inch water line from the railroad tracks south. This project will fix those issues and provide better service for the residents that are currently using those water lines."

She added that the city will learn in May whether or not the water project receives OPWC funding. If it does, the city can only award the contract after July 1. If it does not receive the funding, the city can award the project earlier.

Exum expects a "minimal impact" on water service in the area. The affected portions of Liberty Street may be temporarily closed during the project.