City To Replace Leavenworth Steps

By Jon A. Brake

News/Editorial

The Manhattan City Commission agreed to a $42,000 contract Tuesday night with Borst Restoration to build new steps on Leavenworth Street west of Delaware Avenue.

Commissioner Mark Taussig asked that the item be removed from the Consent Agenda, and for good reason. Taussig wanted the item to be discussed in an open meeting.

Taussig asked why the City did not go out for bids on replacing these steps. The City has an ordinance which requires all public works projects over $10,000 be put out for bids. City staff told Taussig that the steps were not public works but maintenance and did not require a bid.

Staff told Taussig that the two sets of steps were placed in the 2000 CIP at $80,000, but the City did not have $80,000 this year for the project. The staff worked with Borst Restoration on a Public - Private contract.

The City crews will that out the old steps and Borst will put in new steps for $42,000.

If the City had gone out for bids the contractor would have removed the old steps and replaced them for what ever the contract price.

The vote was 4-1 with Brad Everett voting no.

Here is the information given to the Commissioners:

BACKGROUND

There are two sets of concrete steps that extend west of the intersection of Leavenworth Street and Delaware Avenue to the top of the hill, where Leavenworth Street continues westward to Sunset Avenue. A map is attached for reference. These steps are several decades old and in need of repair and maintenance. CIP project CI01-0926P led to $40,000 being budgeted to address that effort.

The Landmark Water Tower Neighborhood Association has also been successful in obtaining a $2,000 grant from the 2000 Neighborhood Grant Program to assist with the landscaping of the surrounding grounds after the steps are replaced.

DISCUSSION

In an effort to involve the neighborhood, City Administration has worked with Borst Restoration, Inc. to put together a project that combines the talents and funds of the City with the talents and construction abilities of Mel Borst and his company. The arrangement envisions the Cityís Public Works Department removing the old steps and handrails, and providing traffic control and grading efforts. Borst Restoration will construct new steps along the north part of the Leavenworth right-of-way, and salvage, rehabilitate, and reinstall the existing handrails. The City will then clean up the area, the Utilities Department will install a yard hydrant, and the neighborhood will plant landscaping materials.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $42,000. The work is scheduled to happen this fall, probably in August and September.

There is also a set of steps along the south side of the same right-of-way. They will have to be addressed at some point in the future, either by rehabilitating or removing them entirely. There isnít enough money to do both sets of stairs as part of this project.