NILES – Some city streets that need repairs and improvements will soon receive proper maintenance.
Niles City Council voted unanimously to approve a $729,160.05 bid from Northern Construction Services Corp. for the 2022 Main and Local Street Resurfacing Program.
According to the City Council report, funds have been set aside in the current year’s budget for road resurfacing projects. $625,000 has been budgeted for major and local street projects, which include cold milling, pavement resurfacing, pavement marking, ADA ramp work, and other related work.
Tenders opened on January 26 and out of four tenders received, Northern Construction Services Corp. of Niles, was the lowest bidder at $729,160.05 for the following projects:
- S. Third Street and Silverbrook Avenue to Fort Street
- Lake Street and N. 13th Street to Terminal Road
- N. Fourth Street and Main Street to Cedar Road
- Wesaw Rd and Plym Rd to Topinabee Rd
- First Court and N. Barrett Street to Lincoln Avenue
- Cherry Street and S. Fifth Street to S. Ninth Street
According to the report, additional funding beyond the amount budgeted is available from major/local street funds. Projects are expected to be completed by June 30, 2021.
According to Niles Public Works Director Joseph Ray, the department uses a “worst-first” approach when improving pavements and considers both road quality and traffic data when of decision making.
“We can fix a road and people say ‘my road is worse than this’, but that road may only see fifty cars a day,” he said. “Other roads may be in better condition but see 1,000 cars a day. It’s not just the condition of the road that we’re looking at, but also the volume of traffic.
While the Public Works Department tries to complete resurfacing projects each year, Ray said the same fund used to support the projects also pays for general maintenance, including snow removal, patching hen, sign maintenance, pavement marking and more.
“It’s a pot of money that we use every year,” Ray said. “We know approximately how much we need for general maintenance and the balance is what we try to use for resurfacing projects.”
In other matters, the board approved an addendum to the $21,000 revolving loan fund loan agreement and a promissory note with Apothica Teas owners Laura and Shane Hollister.
According to the city’s website, Niles administers a revolving loan fund program that is available for loan and grant projects deemed eligible by the state of Michigan. The RLF is an economic development tool based on partnerships between private businesses and the city that works by providing loans to businesses that cannot set up or grow in Niles with traditional sources of finance alone.
The objective of the RLF is to generate economic activity that will lead to the creation of jobs for low- and middle-income people. Loans can be used for the acquisition of land and buildings, construction, the acquisition of machinery and equipment or for working capital. Businesses that benefit from the program are required to create one job for every $15,000 borrowed.
In August 2019, the board approved a $25,000 RLF loan agreement with the Hollisters, who have met their scheduled payment deadlines and have to date paid $10,000 more than required, bringing their RLF balance to 11,000. $. Once the addendum is approved, their RFL will be changed to $21,000 with a monthly payment of $555.13.
The new RLF deal comes at a good time, as Apothica Teas plans to expand into the adjacent building. Apothica Teas also received a Match On Main grant of $21,000 to help with this expansion.
In other business, the council agreed to sell parcel 11-72-4560-0042-03-7 to Sew Happy Sales and Service, 15 N. 2nd St., for $3,000. The owners of Sew Happy Sales and Services purchased the city-owned plot – located next to their business – with the aim of building an extension to its current business.