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Streetscape construction set to begin May 18

Old Town parking lot topic of debate
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn can expect new Streetscape construction to begin May 18. On Monday the Auburn City Council, acting as the Auburn Urban Development Authority, unanimously approved a contract with Hansen Brothers Enterprises of Grass Valley for the second phase of Streetscape. The council approved the contract to come in at no more than $1,023,705. The amount includes the company’s base bid of $818,096 and the cost for a number of project alternatives including paving, signal interconnect, sign pole paint treatment and landscaping. The amount also includes a 10 percent contingency in case unforeseeable costs arise. At its March 28 meeting, the council decided to excise glitz from the second phase of the project and focus on infrastructure to save some funds. As a result, the project is not planned to include elements like benches, granite tiles, new trashcans, monument stands and a new publication rack. During Monday’s meeting, council members debated whether or not they might also want to go forward with improvements to the Bud Procissi parking lot in Old Town Auburn, which would have consumed another $50,000 of redevelopment funds. The council decided against the project for now. If the Streetscape project were to go forward at the full cost, including the contingency, and the city needed to use the $50,000 tentatively scheduled for the lot, there would still be a $17,000 cushion in the redevelopment fund, said Bernie Schroeder, director of Auburn’s Public Works Department. Mayor Bill Kirby said he was conflicted about what is more important: having extra funds for Streetscape if needed or redoing the Old Town parking lot. “I think that we are doing a lot more for Downtown and not enough for Old Town,” Kirby said. Councilman Kevin Hanley brought up the construction going on to improve the Old Town Firehouse. “We are doing that, and I agree it’s a good project, but I think that is a pretty ugly (parking) lot,” Kirby said. Councilman Mike Holmes said he thought the firehouse improvements were very important for Old Town and the city, because the building is a symbol of the community. Holmes said he thought the parking lot project should be something considered for the future to make sure no money for Streetscape would have to come out of the general fund. “I think we could move along with that once we are reassured we are not going to have a lot of cost overruns on phase 2 of Streetscape,” Holmes said. Councilman Keith Nesbitt said he agreed. Schroeder said if the council still wanted to try to save some money on Streetscape, the landscaping portion of the project could be taken out for now. Nesbitt said he didn’t think that was a good idea, because although the sidewalks would be walkable, there would be no trees or shrubs. “I think we are going to be taking out some trees,” Nesbitt said. “We need to at least put back some trees.” In other business City Council: · Authorized city staff to submit an application to Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission to consider annexation of two properties at 880 and 890 Foresthill Ave. · Readopted an ordinance putting new public safety employees on the CalPERS retirement plan of 2 percent at 50 years old. Current public safety employees are under the plan of 3 percent at 50 years old, and other city employees fall under the 2 percent at 55 years old plan. · Approved the mailing of a letter asking the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to keep Placer County whole when drawing district lines for the state Assembly, state Senate, Congress and the Board of Equalization. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com