The Newark Village Board approved multiple resolutions Tuesday evening, June 20th that will allow several projects to move forward ultimately changing the face of Newark for the next 40 years.
Among those approved resolution was approval to hire a firm to oversee the coordination of all the projects to ensure efficiencies while construction is underway.
“It’s a very exciting time in Newark right now,” Mayor Jonathan Taylor said. “We have a lot going on.”
The biggest of those projects is the reconstruction Main Street – a project that has been a long time in the making, the mayor said.
The project started in 2007 with traffic and parking studies, but come a long way since then. The village applied time and again for funding to reconstruct all of Main Street from Rose Drive to West Pearl Street in the village.
About two years ago, Taylor said it became apparent that the village was unlikely to ever get funding for a project of that magnitude. It was then, Taylor said, that the village board decided to have the highway department mill and repave North Main Street.
Village officials were then successful in obtaining funding for a complete reconstruction of South Main Street from Rose Drive to Union Street (Route 88). The $6.3 million project is slated to start next March 2018.
In combination with the road reconstruction, the village will also be replacing ancient waterlines that are currently located under the pavement. The new waterlines would have a life span of 75 years. The village will likely bond the cost for the replacement.
Grant funding will be covering the costs for two others projects that will also take place during the Main Street reconstruction.
The village received $550,000 to reconstruct a failing culvert on Route 31 West in the village. The funding comes in conjunction with a scheduled project by the state to rehabilitate the road in the heart of the village, a press release stated. Over 30,000 vehicles pass over this structure daily. The culvert project will ultimately increase the safety and stability for motorists.
A second grant totaling $404,000 will assist in rehabilitating the East Avenue bridge over the Erie Canal. This artery provides a necessary connection to two majors employers not only in Newark, but in Wayne County as well. With the completion of this project, all load limitations will be removed. Taylor said completion of this project is especially important for emergency vehicles to ensure they have the fastest route available to them when needed. Fortunately, that hasn’t proven to be a problem, the mayor added.
The 104-year-old bridge has a long history of problems due to its age that have forced state inspectors to flag and even close it. In 1997, the bridge was flagged and eventually closed due to deterioration. After much discussion it was decided to accept an offer from the state for funds to repair the bridge, on the condition that the village would take ownership of it. Under this agreement, the bridge was completely rehabbed.
Built in 1913, around the time the bridge turned 100, an annual inspection by the state revealed rusted out girders and the bridge was flagged again. The village board floated a bond to repair the bridge again and after determining road salt was the likely culprit to the deterioration, an asphalt surface was put down.
Last summer the bridge was flagged again due to serious deterioration caused by rust. That was when the village pursued the grant funding to once again repair the bridge.
A public hearing will be held in July, date to be announced, to allow for community input on different design aspects of the various projects at hand. Taylor said they would like to hear from residents and business owners about bench styles, planters, and light fixtures, among other items that the village has to choose from for finishing touches.
Next summer, the village also expects the new LED lighting fixtures to start going up as well. An estimated 65 percent in energy costs savings annually is expected with the fixture changeover, Taylor said. That savings will pay for the cost to buy and replace every street light fixture in the village, as well as add some new ones. After 10 years, the new light fixtures will have paid for themselves.