From www.AnnArbor.com, July 21, 2011:
The Chelsea Downtown Development Authority has hired Midwest Consulting to provide engineering designs for three city sidewalk projects and a parking lot improvement project.
However, several members expressed concerns at a DDA meeting Thursday about the $40,500 contract cost, and two members voted against it.
Included in the contract are proposed brick bump-outs, which are larger rounded sidewalks to calm traffic, at the intersections of M-52 and Van Buren, Summit and Orchard streets, as well as at the intersection of M-52 and North Street.
Also under consideration are sidewalk bump-outs adjacent to the Common Grill and Cleary’s Pub on Main Street (M-52) for possible sidewalk dining areas.
Parking lot improvements also are proposed for city lot behind the Purple Rose Theatre.
The total cost for the engineering services for the projects is $40,482 since the DDA opted for “an economy of scale” — to have the company do the design work at one time, bundling the four projects into a single phase, rather than having the design work done piecemeal.
“That way, the DDA can select the project elements that best fit their priorities, schedule and budget,” the proposal letter states.
Once designed, the DDA will have an idea of the cost of construction, and can make decisions about which projects it would like to move forward on this year.
DDA Chairman Pete Flintoft reminded board members that although they don’t have cost estimates for the construction, the authority has a bonding capacity of about $3 million.
These projects were part of a long-range study done by Howard Deardorff and Lincoln Poley Architects, who were hired by the DDA to help them determine what should be done to improve Chelsea’s downtown.
Had the board decided to do these projects individually at different times, the consulting fee price would have been $50,060.
Since all but one of the improvements is expected to take place along M-52, which is under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Transportation, the state will be “the primary review and approval agency,” according to the letter from Jim Valenta, senior project manager for Midwest Consulting.
The DDA would like to see the improvements take place before the end of the 2011 construction season, which typically ends in November.
“I’m surprised,” Flintoft said of the resistance from some of the board members. “I thought that this met all of our criteria.”
He later reminded board members that a previous meeting they’d authorized the scope of the proposed sidewalk and parking lot work.
Mayor Jason Lindauer said that the city had a “history of working with Midwest Consulting,” which provided a good “end result” and he thought the contract price was a fair one.
In addition, he said, “they’ve been involved in this whole process” from the start.
In the 7-2 vote, Paul Frisinger and Palmer Morrel-Samuels voted against it. There were also four members absent from the meeting: Pat Cleary, Mark Heydlauff, Jim Myles and John Hanifan.
Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at email@example.com. For more Chelsea stories, visit our Chelsea page.