Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

TOP STORY >>Sherwood out $100K on road

Leader staff writer

A contractor tried to take Sherwood for $100,000 and the mayor, the city council and the street commission are looking at ways to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The contractor apparently shortchanged the city when he recently built roads in the new Stonehill Subdivision off Brockington Road and Maryland Avenue. The contract called for a seven-inch base of gravel, the mayor explained to the council, and most of the road had just three and a half to five inches of base.

“He tried to steal $100,000 worth of gravel,” Mayor Bill Harmon said. He went on to add that miles and miles of good roads have been built in Sherwood. “We don’t want to imply that we have problems—it’s just one contractor,” the mayor said.
Alderman Steve Fender, who heads the city’s street commission, said the Stonehill street failures were a major topic at the commission’s meeting earlier this month. “I’ve talked to Steve Cobb, the city attorney, at least five times in the last week, to see what can be done,” he said. “We don’t want to do anything rash that would deter growth in the city. We want to move forward in a positive way,” Fender said.

The mayor said that Sherwood had a reputation as a “friendly city to develop in and we don’t want to destroy that.” But all city officials agreed that substandard streets are not acceptable. Alderman Sheila Sulcer suggested the city wait longer before accepting the streets into the city.

Cobb and City Engineer Mike Clayton are looking at a new ordinance that would require a two-year guarantee on streets instead of the current one-year requirement. “We are also looking at taking core samples of streets before we accept them into the city to make sure the base is the required depth,” Clayton said.

The city is fighting with a bond company to get reimbursed for the poor Stonehill streets. “They are are like an insurance company and are digging in their heels about the payments,” Cobb said. In a related street issue, Alderman Dan Stedman asked if the city was looking at alternative routing for when construction starts on revamping the north end of Brockington Road. The state will oversee the construction work and it could take two years or more.

The mayor said the city was looking at completing Maryland Avenue from Highway 107 all the way to Brockington. “That work will have to be done in phases because of the cost,” Harmon said.

Another possibility is to extend Hemphill from Maryland to Kiehl to help avert extreme congestion while the Brockington work is underway. “If we get the landowners to agree to pay their share, we can do this quickly,” the mayor said.
In other council business: Aldermen unanimously pas-sed an ordinance supporting the passage of the quarter cent sales tax for the Pulaski County jail. The mayor reminded the council that early voting for the tax issue would be Tuesday, Sept.5 through Friday, Sept. 8 at the city’s senior center.

The council approved an ordinance that would allow it to opt out of a 2005 state law requiring that lights, such as ball field lights, be shielded. Smaller cities like Sherwood have the option to not shield lights if they find the cost too prohibitive.
The council approved an ordinance renaming Integra Drive to Sherwood Way. The street is located near the Sonic on Kiehl Avenue and has recently been expanded.

Aldermen reappointed Jack Wilson, Tim Grooms and Forrest Penny to the Public Building Authority Board. Their terms will end in July 2012.