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$4.5 Million Fenton Streetscape Project Could be Delayed

Issues include two construction seasons (in 2013 and 2014) or one (2014) and up to $1.5 million in grant funding for waiting until 2014, DDA director says.

The Fenton Downtown Development Authority (DDA) could pay $500,000 to $1.5 million more for the if construction begins in spring 2013, DDA Director Michael Burns told city council on Monday. Because of changes in federal funding, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has been for Fenton, as MDOT explores how the new grant program works.

In addition, while the city is waiting to begin Streetscape, it could apply for up to 80 percent of Streetscape road construction funding from the 2014 Genesee County Transportation Improvement Program, Burns said. This is the program that funded Silver Parkway improvements three years ago, North Leroy Street construction and part of Adelaide Street.

Fenton could apply for this during the winter, to cover reconstruction of North Leroy Street from Shiawassee to Caroline streets, he said. The cost is $1 million, and up to 80 percent could be funded through the Genesee County program.

In addition, at their worksession, city council discussed how two seasons of major construction would impact downtown businesses. With the delay due to changes in federal funding, the earliest construction could begin in 2013 is June or July, said Tim Juidici, of OHM, the city’s engineering consultants.

Originally, Streetscape was expected to begin in March or April. Now, if it begins in June or July 2013, the work can’t be completed in 2013, Juidici said. It would be finished in 2014.

Councilman Brad Jacob said, as far as he’s concerned, there’s no other option than waiting until 2014. Two years of construction downtown in a row wouldn’t work, Jacob believes, and the city shouldn’t put that much stress on the businesses.

Councilman Les Bland said it’s a $4 million project, and Fenton needs to get money wherever it can.

Streetscape will narrow Leroy and Ellen streets near the old fire hall, where the Fenton Fire Hall restaurant is going in during 2013, Juidici said. There will be 12 feet of space added on each side for the Fenton Fire Hall’s outdoor patio, which it will add in 2014.

Adding a water main for the Cornerstone building is still necessary in 2013, but construction will take 4-6 weeks, City Manager Lynn Markland said. Work on the water main should begin in early spring 2013, he believes.

The Saab family is negotiating funding with the state for Cornerstone, and it’s moving along pretty quickly, Burns said.

The water main Cornerstone needs would be installed from Caroline Street to Silver Lake Road, Juidici said.

Another factor is, Fenton is receiving a $1.4 million grant from the state in 2015 to replace the bridge over Silver Lake Road (near Tim Horton’s), Mayor Sue Osborn said. The bridge is on a critical bridge list due to its condition.

Councilman Ben Smith asked whether the bridge work could be moved to 2014, if Fenton moves faster on plans for it.

Juidici said plans can begin, so the city is ready to move on the bridge project earlier if possible.

Councilwoman Pat Lockwood asked about a location for the which is impacted by anything downtown. The Fourth of July festival has already been moved to Bush Park due to previous Streetscape plans, but the best spot for it is the she said.

Council will consider the timing of the Streetscape project, at the 7:30 p.m. meeting on Monday at Osborn said.

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