Effective planning by management and staff -- reinforced by votes from City Council -- has enabled the City of Batavia to realize $7 million in infrastructure improvements in recent months, according to the person responsible for oversight of such major projects.
Outside construction firms and city workers have been extremely busy over the past year "and it's still going," said Matt Worth, Department of Public Works superintendent, (photo at right), during an interview at his City Centre first-floor office on Friday.
In all, residents from various parts of the municipality have witnessed (and have been inconvenienced by, to a certain extent) street reconstruction; water main, sewer system and sidewalk installations; and extensive paving as part of the city's long-term goal to update its infrastructure.
"A few years back, we put together a capital plan with a (viable) rate structure," Worth said. "But this only happens if City Council is supportive of it. And as far as sidewalk replacement goes, Council has been very supportive."
Promoted to DPW superintendent in July 2015, Worth is in his 30th year with the City of Batavia. He leads a department that has 50 employees, including 21 in the water/sewer bureau and 24 in maintenance. Four people run the inspection bureau and DPW has two administrative assistants.
On Friday, Worth provided summations of the current projects, the most extensive being the nearly finished reconstruction of Summit Street in the heart of the city and the ongoing alum sludge removal at the wastewater treatment plant on Industrial Boulevard, off Pearl Street.
SUMMIT STREET RECONSTRUCTION
A $2.5 million project that started about four months ago will see "substantial completion" by the end of this month, Worth said.
"All of the curb is in, the eastside sidewalk is complete and they're working on the westside sidewalk now," he said. "After that, the trees will go in."
Independent construction companies under the guidance of Rochester engineering firm of Erdman Anthony removed the old road, put in new storm, sewer and drainage systems, and paved the road. Federal and state funds covered all but about $100,000 of the price tag for this project, with the city picking up the rest.
At the same time, the city totally funded a $350,000 project to install new water main on Summit Street.
Worth credited his predecessor, Sally Kuzon, for her role in getting funding for the project, and noted that it was less expensive to include the water main component at the same time "rather than on its own."
"We could have broken it up into two or three projects, but we decided to do it once," he said. "That way it was disruptive for just one summer. I'm sure these people will be glad to see us go, but hopefully they will be happy with the finished product."
When asked about the status of Summit Street, north of North Street leading into the United Memorial Medical Center campus, Worth said that portion of the street was not included in this project, and much-needed work there is "up in the air" (subject to negotiations with the hospital).
WASHINGTON AVENUE SEWER
Another project that started in June -- replacement of about 2,330 feet of sanitary sewer main on portions of Washington Avenue, Jefferson Avenue and State Street and the resurfacing of Washington Avenue -- will be wrapping up next week, Worth said, adding that State Street from Washington to North would be open to traffic by the end of the day Friday.
The $1.3 million endeavor was paid for by city sewer funds and (the paving portion) by a CHIPs (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) grant.
WASTEWATER PLANT ALUM SLUDGE
The removal of alum sludge from the wastewater treatment plant is going so well that Worth will be recommending continuation of the program -- at a cost of an additional $400,000 -- at Tuesday's (Oct. 11) City Council meeting. This would raise the total expense to $1.9 million, which is still less than the $2.3 million that was budgeted, Worth said.
Fifteen percent of the cost is paid by the Town of Batavia, which is part owner of the facility, with the majority funded from the city's sewer account.
The project entails removing sludge caused by the alum that is used to rid the pond of phoshorus. Worth said that the sludge has accumulated over 25 years, but the current removal process will last for another quarter of a century.
SIDEWALK REPLACEMENT, STREET RESURFACING
The city is spending about $600,000 and much of the work is being done by city crews, to replace sidewalks and resurface roadways on the southside streets of Wood Street, Cherry Street, Pringle Avenue, Highland Park, Central Avenue and South Main Street.
"Our strategy was to combine the sidewalk and paving into one, concentrating on one dedicated neighborhood for more significant impact," Worth said.
City crews also paved a parking lot at Kibbe Park.
Worth said that projects for 2017 include the Healthy Schools sidewalk initiative that will see new sidewalks along Washington Avenue, Tracy Avenue and Liberty Street (funded at a 75 percent federal/25 percent city split), sewer and water main work along Elm Street, Vine Street and Chase Park, electrical improvements at city pump stations, and a tree management plan (funded by a grant of $15,000 from the state Department of Environmental Conservation).
"We will be working with a consultant from Geneva on a comprehensive plan for trees on city-owned right-of-ways and city parks," Worth said. "We have found we have an overabundance of maple trees, so in the future we will be planting other types of trees."