Plans outlined for future work projects in Paxton

PAXTON — Two committees of the Paxton City Council met Monday night to outline plans for future work projects.

The public works committee recommended that the full council approve spending up to $25,000 for a new wireless control system that connects the city’s water towers to the pumping station.

Public Works Director Mark LeClair said the existing system is not operating correctly, requiring employees to monitor the plant gauges so that the towers are not overfilled or under-filled.

The committee also recommended the council approve seeking bids for interior and exterior restoration of both the elevated water tower in the industrial park on the city’s west side and the downtown water tower.
City Engineer Greg Gustafson told aldermen they could perhaps secure a more favorable bid by seeking estimates for two successive years at once.

The plan would be to do the estimated $140,000 in work on the west-side water tower later this year and the approximate $154,000 in work on the downtown tower in 2017.

Also, the committee looked over a list of streets LeClair prepared that appear most in need of work this year using motor fuel tax (MFT) revenue. LeClair estimated there should be about $187,000 in the city’s MFT fund by June. He asked aldermen to look at the streets he recommended and to let him know of others in similar condition.

LeClair also pointed out other streets that will be coated by using the oil-and-chip method. The committee also discussed using that same method during the cold months for smaller street repair projects instead of using a cold-patch mix that does not seal out moisture and does not last. The possibility of buying its own equipment for oiling and chipping was also raised. The price tag for that is estimated to be $50,000.

Also the city property, parks and forestry committee discussed the condition of the Pells Park pavilion. Committee Chairman Rob Steiger noted that the ceiling needs to be cleaned by power-washing, then it needs repainted. Steiger said portions of the roof also may need work. He said all the work does not necessarily need to be done this year.

But LeClair said what should be addressed first is repair work around the dormers. LeClair said he will talk to several local carpenters to see if anyone is interested in taking on that project. A recent appraisal, for insurance purposes, revealed the replacement value of the pavilion is about half a million dollars. That same appraisal found replacing City Hall would take $1.6 million and the Paxton Carnegie Library $1.9 million.

Meanwhile, LeClair said the now-disbanded Paxton Junior Woman’s Club has offered to contribute $2,000 toward the purchase of an Expressions swing that has a face-to-face design with a toddler swing seat for children under 5 and a comfortable adult swing seat that allows a parent and child to interact with each other and to experience each other’s facial expressions while at play. LeClair would like to order two swings at a cost of $1,200 each and the frame at a cost of $1,065.

The committee also discussed work needed on the Paxton Emergency Response Services (ERS) building on West State Street downtown. Rain run-off from the roof  is causing damage. Carpentry and masonry work are both required, as well as gutter replacement work.

LeClair will seek bids for those projects to present to the council at the April meeting.

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