Open Forum

Officials and neighbors discuss conditions in Hammond Heights Thursday.

The Ada News

 

Street repairs and water problems were the top of the order at a neighborhood meeting at Hammond Heights Thursday.

The meeting included residents,  Ada City Manager David Hathcoat, Councilmember Darrell Nemecek and City Engineer Cody Holcomb.

Residents on hand said they were promised concrete streets and sidewalks many years ago and were concerned recent asphalt overlays on Hammond Heights streets are permanent.

“Just because it’s being done in asphalt doesn’t mean its not going to be done in concrete,” Nemecek said after the meeting.

Officials said asphalt overlays of many streets in Hammond Heights are repairs until concrete streets can be constructed, which could take time because of budget issues.

The city’s stance is there isn’t an endless supply of money and resources and must balance projects across the city evenly. Hathcoat said the city has approximately 115 miles of streets to maintain with only about four miles in Hammond Heights.

“We’ve got projects going everywhere,” he said.

The Rev. Charles Miller, a resident of Hammond Heights, said the neighborhood has had street problems for a long time and has never had sidewalks. He said trust is what’s at stake.

“It’s time,” he said. “(We’re more) focused on the promises that were made to us than about what we’re getting. I will say I think the general consensus of the community is, we want concrete. That’s what we were promised.”

Miller said Hammond Heights wants Nemecek to fight for them in council. 

“That’s what the plans were,” Nemecek said. “I’m one councilman, I’m going to fight ... for my constituents out here and hopefully the other councilmembers will go along with it.”

Officials stressed the projects will be done in phases and will take time. Holcomb said  all the work in Hammond Heights to this point has been done using Proposition One funds with city labor. He said the advantage is the cost is less. The disadvantage is it takes longer.

Holcomb said he is going to propose to council another option using funds from use tax.

“We really have a couple of options here,” Holcomb said. “Prop One funds and then there’s use tax funds. What we’re going to look at, and really dive into some nuts and bolts is, if we were to continue to only use Prop One funds, those funds are a lesser amount than what might be available with use tax funds.

“The reality of that is if we continue like we’re doing, that schedule could be a long time and it’s difficult for me to stand up here in good faith and say, ‘It will be done at this point,” Holcomb said. “Now that being said, if we ask council to utilize the use tax funds, and they approve it, one of the options we’re going to look at would be to  give it to a local or an outside contractor.”

Holcomb said that option would allow roads to be completed quicker and free up city labor to complete much-needed projects elsewhere in the city.

The ideas will be brought before city council at a regularly scheduled meeting Aug. 15.

Holcomb said the city would continue to inform residents of what’s going on with street projects by using the media, Facebook or the city’s website.

“Some of us are old and don’t have Facebook,” one resident said. “And we wouldn’t now what to do with it if we did. Use the newspaper, we all read that.”

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