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Derelict Demolition Continues, Street Improvements are On-going

Craig Brooks and Lamar Police Chief Kyle Miller Observing Demolition

Craig Brooks and Lamar Police Chief Kyle Miller Observing Demolition

Twenty-one down and five to go; that’s the tally for derelict houses being brought down in the City of Lamar so far this year. Pat Mason, City Public Works Director, provided the estimate for the Lamar City Council during a Monday night work session.  “We are continuing to work on our street and city improvement project,” Mason said, adding, “We have another house planned for demolition this week.”  That work got underway Tuesday morning, November 8th, as the long-abandoned, two-story structure in the 400 block of West Elm Street came tumbling down.

oak-street-demolition-3

Craig Brooks, Chief Building Official, was on the site, stating, ”This house has been earmarked to go for some time, especially as it’s a safety hazard now with the chance that the chimney and part of the roof could fall off.” A front-end loader was chewing up framework and accumulated debris from the front of the building while a worker was spraying water on the structure to keep the dust to a minimum.  There wasn’t an issue of asbestos.  Brooks estimated the demolition work would wrap up by the end of the week and then, sometime early next week, fill would be brought in to level off the foundation on the property.  This is similar work that was recently done to the site at the corner of West Oak and South 9th Street earlier this summer.

Mason told the council, “We get a lot of positive comments from people in the neighborhood, telling us how great it is that we’ve brought down an eyesore along their street.” Brooks added that it is an improvement, and in time, can help improve property values while eliminating an eyesore.  Several more houses, three along North 11th Street, have been tagged and as soon as more free time is available for the city work crews, they’ll join the list.

The City of Lamar has 60 miles of street that require maintaining and upgrades. Pat Mason said that his department was working with a tight budget this year, but still managed to put some funding away for improvements.  “I think that 2017 will be a busy year and we’ll see a lot accomplished for our streets,” he told the council.  Mason provided a printout spanning roadwork since 2013, categorized into various levels of road status.  The breakdown on improvements is indicated by the number of miles that decrease from the Poor status to Good.  As one descends, the other ascends over the four year span.

2013

2014 2015

2016

Poor-Needs to be Rebuilt

12.93 miles

7.90 miles 6.25 miles

4.62 miles

Fair-Needs Crack Seal

32.80 miles 32.80 miles 31.30 miles 30.17 miles
Good-New to 6-10 Years Old 8.32 miles 13.35 miles 16.74 miles

19.37 miles

Dirt & Gravel-Unpaved

5.89 miles 5.89 miles 5.89 miles 5.89 miles
Roto Millings 0.51 miles 0.51 miles 0.51 miles

0.51 miles

Some road projects included Willow Valley, 13th and 14th Streets, College Street, Quail Ridge and Jackson Street.  “We’ve improved 20% of the city streets since 22013, about 12.14 miles so far, as well as improvements in business alleyways this past year, such as the one behind North Love’s and Austin Motors,” Mason explained.  He said his crews work in tandem with the county, sometimes sharing equipment or materials to complete a project such as the recently refurbished courthouse parking lot and plans are underway for parking improvements at the County Annex.

Mason said future projects include improvements at the City Landfill which include a clay liner as well as new fencing to catch windblown debris, work on the downtown Pocket Park is anticipated for next year as well as improved drainage for streets around the West Side lift station. Mason said a maintenance project found that turbine blades had been clogged with rocks and clearing those has increased the volume of rainwater run-off that can be moved to the underground mains.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, informed the council of another project; the pathways that wind through the Enchanted Forest adjacent to the Lamar Chamber of Commerce will have new asphalt in time for the approaching holidays.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesFeaturedHistoryPublic SafetyTransportationUtilities

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