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Lakewood Trustees Differ On Chautauqua Ave. Project

Pictured are members of the Lakewood Village Board during a special meeting Tuesday morning. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

LAKEWOOD — The Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit Project was a hot topic during a special meeting of the Lakewood Village Board on Tuesday morning.

Board members discussed various change orders and amendments regarding the project but ended up passing only one. The board went into an executive session to discuss legal matters related to the project.

The measure that was passed during the meeting included a change order for Kingsview Paving to lower the elevation of the underdrain and increase stones at the Third Street intersection in the village. The change order includes an increase in funding of $6,922.

Other resolutions were discussed during the meeting, including another change order for Kingsview Paving regarding intersection modifications and a time extension for substantial completion by Aug. 6, a date that has already passed. The change order included an increased cost of $103,157.

The project is now slated to be completed in mid-October but has been significantly delayed throughout the process. Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb mentioned the hardship these delays have had on the businesses in the village.

“Our merchants are taking this on the chin,” Holcomb said. “We’ve got to get some resolution to this — we just can’t continue on.”

Trustee Ellen Barnes said she has many concerns regarding the project and the change orders.

“My concerns are actually many because these are designs that didn’t work and had to be redone,” she said. “Then, the village incurs cost from that, and I’m not overly comfortable with that and passing it along to the taxpayers.”

She added that she is also concerned about the extensive timeframe this project has taken.

“Green infrastructure is still relatively experimental, and we’re finding out that certain things work and certain things don’t work as we’re finding out on Chautauqua Avenue,” Barnes said. “I’m just a little concerned about the burden on the village taxpayers — that’s my main concerns — and also getting the streets open for our merchants who were promised (it would be done) by the end of June. Now we’re into September and we’re looking at another month. That’s really hard for them to swallow, and I don’t have enough apologies in my book for them.”

Trustee Richard Fischer said he “hates the whole project” and wishes it could just be blacktopped. Fischer said it could be done in a week if it was handled that way.

“It just fries my neck,” he said. “I just hate the bricks.”

He said he found it hard to believe that Kingsview Paving would be able to make the deadline of mid-October.

Trustee Douglas Schutte interjected that Fischer was not speaking for the board when he shared his feelings on the project. “For the record, I disagree 100% with Rich’s conjecture that we should be doing the bricks and we shouldn’t be doing, essentially, this project,” Schutte said. “The village has not looked this good in forever, and when this is done, it will be a positive for everybody.”

Trustee Edward McCague suggested that the board go into executive session and the measure was passed afterward.

The third resolution, which was tabled, included an amendment for B&L for additional construction administration and inspection with a cost of $28,320.

“The change orders are coming along here because we’re nearing the end of the project,” Holcomb said in a subsequent interview. “It has gone way over timeframe, as we know. To correct the Chautauqua Avenue/Summit Avenue issue — it was a change order to lower the elevation and include a new base. That was the original problem; we put the first intersection in and the north side of that intersection, which had the heaviest truck traffic, and it kind of shifted and dipped a little.”

Holcomb said the tabled resolution will be voted on at the next board meeting, on Monday, Sept. 13, at 6:30 p.m.

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