Council meeting paves way for Ned Ave and other items

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The next step in the proposed Nederland Avenue Project has been taken at the latest city council meeting on Monday.

The project, which aims to resurface and improve drainage of Nederland Avenue between Twin City Highway and Highway 69, has been approved as “The Narrow Scope” Project introduced during the second public forum held earlier in the month.

City manager Chris Duque said the decision to proceed with the project had been broken into two options: the Full Scope Project, which would have cost $17 to $18 million and had a timetable of 30 to 36 months, and the Narrow Scope Project, which is projected to cost $6.3 million and have a timetable of four to six months.

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“I believe it is to proceed with option 2 and to use a Certificate of Obligation to fund the project,” Duque said during the meeting, referring to the latter option of the Narrow Scope Project.

The Certificate of Obligation is a form of debt local governments can utilize to fund public infrastructure projects in cases of emergency without resorting to voter referendum.

Duque said there would be one contract for the drainage and one contract for the roadwork. Additionally, Duque estimated there would be minimal interruptions during the drainage work and “definitely some interruptions” during the roadwork.

“I think most businesses are in favor of plan 2,” Duque said.

The city manager estimated it would take two to three months to complete the Certificate of Obligation process and four to six months for engineers to do the design work.

“It would be around fall of this year to authorize bids,” Duque said.

The bid award would most likely occur in January of next year, and the actual work to begin some time in February or March.

Nederland Mayor Dick Nugent expressed satisfaction with the choice of plan 2, or the Narrow Scope Project. He said he felt “very comfortable” with the decision because he felt there would be very careful attention paid to the project during its life.

Schaumburg & Polk, Inc. will handle the road contract.

Jerry Albanese, owner and manager of Meineke Car Care Center in Nederland, seemed to be pleased with the decision as well.

“I’m glad they pursued that option,” Albanese said. “There’s no doubt that the City of Nederland needed an upgrade, but the first plan would have torn up Nederland Avenue and been a detriment to our businesses big time.”

Albanese also expressed satisfaction over the Narrow Scope Project’s drastically reduced timespan compared to the Full Scope’s one.

“The thing is, if they do it right, they should get a good 20 to 25 years out of it,” Albanese said.

Albanese also commended the idea of an intermediary who would keep all parties — the business owners, the contractors, and the City — informed and aware of each other’s concerns, timelines and work status.

“As long as we know what’s going on, I think that makes the transition much smoother,” he said.

In other council items, action was approved in Ordinance No. 2017-04 affecting the Nederland Recreation Center and Nederland Swimming Pool, specifically the establishment of hours of operation, procedures, facility rental fees, pool rental/passes and league fees.

Such changes would include identifying patrons for party rentals, requiring children under the age of 12 to be accompanied by a guardian and the allowance of one hydrating beverage onto Center grounds. Additionally, pool times would be affected to allow staff to offer swim sessions to the public.

“The 5 to 6 (p.m.) swim lessons would let parents after work take their kids to the pool,” Angela Fanette, Parks and Recreation director, said.

In addition, she said the later hours would allow the maintenance crew to address issues at a better pace.

In other items:

  • The city council recognized the Jefferson County Master Gardeners Club for their planting of tulip bulbs in preparation for the Heritage Festival.
  • The Nederland Heritage Festival Foundation presented donations to the Nederland Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation and Animal Control departments.
  • The city authorized the acceptance of a library-specific 2017 grant from the Wilton and Effie Mae Hebert Foundation in the amount of $38,000.