Russellville roadwork set to begin after Memorial Day

Thursday, May 23, 2019

RUSSELLVILLE -- With upcoming roadwork as the first item of business on the Russellville Town Council’s agenda Tuesday evening, one statement brought a measure of excitement to town officials: “The money is in the bank.”

Clerk-Treasurer Martha Mandleco informed the council that funds for major road repairs in the town through a Community Crossings grant had been secured, and that preliminary construction stages are slated to begin on May 28. Wabash Valley Asphalt will be the firm which will undertake the repairs.

The secured Community Crossings grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) totals $155,609.14, of which the state will cover 75 percent. The town will thus cover the remaining $38,902.29.

The stretches of road in the town which are set to be paved are as follows:

• Fourth Street, from Warren Street to St. James Street;

• Harrison Street, from Morgan Street to the town limits;

• Indiana Street, from Public Road to the town limits;

• Jefferson Street, from Third Street to Second Street;

• Jesse Avenue, from Public Road to a gravel transition;

• McKinley Street, from Railroad Street to Fourth Street;

• Morgan Street, spanning from the eastern to the western town limits;

• Railroad Street, from Public Road to Harrison Street;

• St. James Street, from Third Street to Fourth Street;

• Third Street, from St. James Street to Warren Street; and

• Warren Street, from Second Street to High Street.

Council members also provided an update concerning the safety of the slide and swings at the Russellville Community Center. Mandleco said she and Council President Cary McGaughey had spoken with an agent from Tokio Marine, the town’s insurance agency, who said the slide could be kept provided certain repairs were made.

McGaughey said rusted bolts on the slide have to be replaced, and that a gap in the top bars would have to be closed in. Additionally, the agent recommended that rubber or mulch be laid under the slide and swings, but ultimately assured neither would have to be taken down. McGaughey added that no definite timeframe for the repairs was given, but that they should be done as soon as possible to resolve the issue.

The council also addressed space used by the town at the community center since the council moved from the town hall after it was condemned last March. Council member Cathy Jones read a letter from the board which oversees the building, relating that the space the council currently meets in was needed for events.

The board allowed in the letter that the council may relocate to the “alumni room” inside the building. Jones supported following the recommendation, but to also provide that the council use the current space when it is not rented. Jones, McGaughey and council member Jim Davis agreed, and community center board members present at the meeting raised no objections to the suggestions.

The council also revisited the status of 211 S. Harrison St., which is where the Russellville Town Hall was located. Mandleco said the structure had not been thoroughly inspected by an adjuster for damages, even though the town’s insurance company has suggested the building is safe to move back into.

This outlook directly conflicts with the recent condemnation by Putnam County Planning and Zoning, and the council itself seemed baffled. However, Mandleco, with input by McGaughey, believed the town could eventually contest the determination as it looks at replacing the town hall.

As the Russellville Water Board, council members heard a pitch by Steven Brock of the Indianapolis-based firm Therber Brock & Associates regarding prospective plans to address water issues within the town. Brock focused on the town’s need for a water rate study, and how the council could secure funds for a future project through the State Revolving Fund Loan Programs, which are dedicated to providing low-interest loans to communities looking to improve wastewater and drinking water systems.

Brock provided that he would assist the town as part of a team which would tackle the application processes through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and Indiana’s USDA Rural Development arm. He also said he could complete a preliminary determination on the town’s rates within 30 to 60 days.

After some deliberation, the Water Board hired Brock as its financial adviser to oversee the rate study and its potential project needs. Jones affirmed she had collaborated with Brock before, and the body was assured that he has previously worked with Town Counsel Stu Weliever and various construction firms.

The next regular meeting of the Russellville Town Council and Water Board is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18 at 7 p.m. in the Russellville Community Center.

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