The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 8, 2014

City of Ashtabula unveils $5 million paving plan

Staff Writer

ASHTABULA — Paving, potholes and wine are the three things that get people out to a City Council meeting, according to City Manager Jim Timonere.

Two out of three were discussed before a standing-room only crowd at Monday night’s pre-council meeting with guest speaker Christopher J. Tolnar, an engineer with GPD Group of Youngstown.

 Tolnar and Timonere gave a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation on a proposed Comprehensive Paving Program that will pave 47 miles of city streets in three years. The work is split into three parts to give smaller contractors an opportunity to bid, Tolnar said.

Some of the streets (not all of the streets) to be re-surfaced are:

Year 1: Streets on the southeast side of the lift bridge, such as Thayer, Ohio and Lyndon avenues.

Year 2: All of Walnut Boulevard, Adams Avenue and Center Street.

Year 3: The east side of the city, including West Seventh St., Harmon and part of Columbus Avenue.

 The city will borrow $5 million for 15 years to pay for the program.

 “We hope this will get the city over that big hump,” Tolnar said. “We are looking to start the project in June and we will pave as long as the road is above 45 degrees.”

Several residents asked about their particular streets, which are riddled with potholes. They worried their street would be taken off the list, or ignored.

“Our intent is not to remove any streets, only to add to the list,” Tolnar said.

Timonere said the current system of spending $300,000 to $400,000 a year on paving is not making an impact and he understands why residents are concerned.

“Our guys have been out every day but only making a small dent in the number of potholes,” he said. “This paving plan will eliminate much of the need for filling potholes so the city can focus more resources on preventive maintenance, such as crack sealing.”

Cory Nagle, who owns property in the Ashtabula harbor, said it all sounded “fantastic” to him.

“It’s a great idea because people love the summers here and they come from out of town to enjoy our city,” he said. “Bumpy roads leave a bad taste in their mouth, but a smooth road invites them back.”