Rio Grande complete, MLK next

Published 6:33 am Saturday, June 4, 2016

Friday saw Rio Grande Street opened and newly paved, as well as several streets near Our Lady of the Angels Hospital.

Public Works Director James Hall said Martin Luther King Jr. Drive will be mostly paved at the start of next week.

MLK Drive was added to the city’s list after residents and business owners complained that the street was overlooked. The city had promised to pave a few blocks of the street, but Hall said the city will have virtually the whole street paved, from where it runs into Columbia to Davis Products, just after East Second Street. However, Hall said the parking areas will not be paved in order to be able to pave the whole street.

“We’re doing the driving lanes. The shoulders are for parking not for driving,” he said.

Mayor Wendy Perrette praised the work. She said she realizes the work was slow in coming, but that’s how street repairs are.

“That’s the process of it, it’s not my way,” she said. “I would have done it yesterday. I’m thankful the weather was cooperative for this part of the overlay.”

Perrette also said drivers might be inconvenienced when the city stripes the streets.

“Pardon our progress,” she said. “It may be an inconvenience for the moment, but we’re going to have brand new streets.”

In other public works news, work continues at Cassidy Park.

Hall said the damaged fence around the park has been removed and new fencing will be installed next month.

In addition, leveling should begin soon. Hall had said the city was holding off leveling out piles of sand left behind after March’s storm because volunteers with the Native American museum wanted time to recover artifacts. They have one more week to look, because Hall said after the end of next week, city workers will begin leveling the sand.

Perrette added that the playground equipment at the rear of the park has been removed. In addition, she said she’s looking forward to the rain that is expected over the weekend because it will give the city an idea of how well its fixes will hold. The city has filled in some of the bigger sinkholes in the park.

“The benefit seeing it rain is to see if the holes that are filled could sustain it, to see if we did it right,” she said.

The city is still funding the park repairs itself, though Perrette said she expects full reimbursement from FEMA and the city is completing paperwork to possibly get a loan from the state.

“We’re going steady and slow but it’s coming along great. We’re on track,” she said of the park repairs.