Onaway preparing for repair projects

ONAWAY – City officials are working to finalize a list of street and water system repair projects for Onaway.

At their meeting Monday, City Manager Joe Hefele told city commissioners he’ll be heading out with Department of Public Works employees soon to check the conditions of roads the city would like to repair. The city has more money to spend on infrastructure improvements this year, and Hefele is hoping to stretch that money even further by coordinating with Presque Isle County.

“They’re doing some road rebuild and paving work on 638 Highway and Glasier Road, associated with Moran Iron Works and the high-wire corridor,” he said. “They’ll be improving those roads, and they’re going to have the pulverizer in. It’d be cost-effective to kind of partner up with them on that.”

Onaway will have about $90,000 more for road and water system projects and purchases this year, Hefele said. That’s the result of savings from the city’s shared manager agreement with Rogers City, and from eliminating its police department.

On top of that, the city will spend some road and water system money it had set aside over the years, Mayor Gary Wregglesworth said. He hopes the city can entice more people to stay by investing in its infrastructure.

“With everything falling apart, it won’t encourage people to move in, but do just the opposite,” he said. “That could cause a downward spiral.”

For road work, the city is considering repairing N. Veterans Drive, Hefele said. With the ice melting, he and DPW employees will be able to see what the street needs.

The city is also planning on a water system project under S. First and S. Second streets, Hefele said.

One possible project that would’ve involved both was Elsden Street, Hefele said. However, the owners of Tom’s Family Market are no longer planning on paving behind the store. Instead, they’re focusing on getting a facade grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, so they asked the city to hold off on Elsden Street.

“That’s good for us. It’ll allow us to bump up the highest-priority areas back to the top and get them done sooner,” he said.

Hefele also will look into getting training to rate the city’s streets on the PASER system, he said. It’s part of a transportation asset management program Rogers City already has in place. The state soon will require local governments to have a transportation asset management system in place, so he’ll be learning about using PASER from Rogers City engineering assistant Toby Kuznicki.

In other business:

* Onaway will advertise for a part-time, as-needed employee to work in city hall. With his shared city manager arrangement with Onaway, he’ll be out of town on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. City hall should be staffed on those days by the city clerk and part-time clerk, but hiring part-time help ensures there will be help if either of the three get sick or go on vacation. Hefele figured the new employee will work around 20 hours a month for $10 an hour.

* commissioners voted to approve an invoice for $2,947.50 for work at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The city will be collecting water samples this month from monitoring wells put there to watch the impacts of a ferric chloride spill, Hefele said. More monitoring wells don’t appear to be necessary at this point, so the city plans to spend part of the money on surveying.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.