Relief is on the way for residents in the Melody Lane subdivision.
After more than seven years of planning, the city of Arnold is on the cusp of improving the stormwater drainage system and making road repairs on Melody, Tempo, Harmony and Rhythm lanes.
City Council members voted unanimously Sept. 3 to award a $1,835,220 contract to Gershenson Construction Co. in Eureka to make the improvements. City officials expect work to begin in the fall, and the company has 180 days to complete the project after beginning the work, City Administrator Bryan Richison said.
“It has been a long time coming,” Richison said of the project that has been in the works since 2013. “It will certainly help the neighborhood. There have been problems with stormwater for years in that area. It will be nice for them to have a stormwater system.”
Arnold will use $1 million from its share of Jefferson County’s 1/2-cent sales tax for road and bridge projects to help cover the improvements in the Melody Lane subdivision, and Arnold received a $250,000 grant from the state to cover part of the stormwater improvements. The city will pay the remaining $585,220 to complete the project, Richison said.
Before getting the construction phase, Arnold paid Hurst-Roche Engineers Inc. of Arnold $155,289 to design the project, and in 2017, the city purchased five properties in the subdivision for $642,000 so they could be torn down. The demolition of the homes created an area for a retention basin that temporarily holds water during heavy rain so it can filter through a culvert under Key West, Richison said.
Council members voted 7-0 Aug. 6 to pay Hurst-Roche $173,000 to provide construction engineering services for the project. Ward 3 Councilman Mark Hood was not at that meeting.
When the project is complete, the city will have paid a total of $1,555,509 toward the $2,805,509 project, Richison said.
“I’m just glad that we are finally here and see the work commence,” Richison said. “It has been a long process to get to this point.”
The improvements call for laying new storm water piping under the streets and creating new inlets on the sides of the roads, according to city documents.
The project will be completed in two phases, starting with the stormwater improvements. The second phase will be repairing the streets.
Richison said the city has been delaying street repairs in the area because of the anticipated stormwater project, which will require sections of the street to be dug up.
“Their streets have started to have problems,” Richison said. “I think they will be very happy to have freshly repaired streets. I think it should be a positive for the neighborhood.”
The city’s struggle to get the improvements started with changes at the engineering firm.
In June 2019, Richison said the work had been in limbo since the primary engineer assigned to the project left Hurst-Roche. At the time, Richison said he was contemplating finding a different engineering firm to complete the plans before he and Mayor Ron Counts met with Hurst-Roche president Jim Roth and associate Zac York, an engineer, later that month and things got back on track.
“They told us they wanted to finish the project,” Richison said.
There was one last curveball the city had to deal with before getting the construction contract approved.
One of the requirements to receive the state grant for the stormwater work is that the contractors or subcontractors have 10 percent of the work done by a minority-owned business and 10 percent of the work done by a woman-owned business, Richison said.
Because of that requirement, the city asked council members to approve the second lowest of the six bids it received.
Lamke Trenching and Excavating Inc. of Marthasville had submitted the lowest bid at $1,770,596.88, but the company initially didn’t submit information about the ownership makeup of its business and any subcontractors they may use for the work. So, the city allowed Lamke to submit that information after the bids were opened, but the business did not hit the 10-percent requirements, Richison said.
“I think they were fine with the woman-owned part of it, but I don’t think they hit the 10 percent for the minority-owned business,” he said. “Because they did not hit those requirements, we felt we couldn’t accept their bid.
“We spoke with the company and explained the situation. They certainly weren’t happy about it, but after we explained that this is why, there was nothing they could say. They acknowledged they didn’t meet (the requirements), and they accepted what we did.”