GREENVILLE — A group of homeowners raised concerns about a city street construction project during the Greenville City Council meeting Tuesday night.
Residents living on Honeysuckle Drive questioned the city’s plan to mill and overlay the street this summer, contrasting this project with more comprehensive and expensive levels of construction recently completed on nearby Gardenwood and Holly Hill Drives.
Fred Matix, a resident of the street and president of the Greenville City School Board, noted that Honeysuckle is an important route to the high school.
“It is a heavily traveled street, by many different people, for many different reasons,” he said.
“We pay the same taxes as everybody else,” Matix explained. “Here comes the summer of 2016 and all we’re going to do is ‘mill the street.’”
He added that he also wished to address the curb and driveway approaches, saying, “What do we do about that? I’ve heard ‘We can assess you.’ Did the people on Gardenwood get assessed? Did the people on Holly Hill get assessed? We’ve got to get a common denominator of what we’re doing in this city.”
Jana Kiser, another Honeysuckle resident, asked how much work on the street would cost, as well as the cost of curbs and driveway approaches.
Safety/Service Director Curt Garrison said the city’s expenditure for the mill and overlay is estimated at $40,000, but any other work, including curbs and driveways, would have to be paid for by Honeysuckle homeowners as the project currently stands. A 2013 Mote & Associates estimate projected that curb and gutter removal would cost $4,400, with replacement for the same tabbed at approximately $45,000.
Council members seemed receptive to reexamining the proposal.
“There’s different ways for every situation, different solutions,” said Councilman Tracy Tryon, acting pro tem. “What may not look fair, some people don’t qualify for. So that’s why there’s some paving we can do in the city because it’s in a lower income area, we get block grant money for that. There’s some that because its a thoroughfare, a state highway, the state comes in and does that.”
“What we’ve been told is…Honeysuckle just doesn’t really make it for the grants,” he added, noting that the street was not built correctly from the start, having been constructed of concrete with no sub base underneath, which tends to shift depending on weather.
“Every winter, when it freezes, it’s like going over a railroad track over the street,” Tryon said.
“It’s my opinion, too, that we need to take care of it and take care of it right,” said Councilman Leon Rogers.
Mayor Mike Bowers said, “I don’t disagree with anybody. Everybody wants a nice street to drive on — the city wants to offer that, [but] we don’t have the wherewithal or the dollars to reconstruct every street.”
Bowers said a mill and overlay will give a street 10 to 15 years of life, versus 25 to 30 years for a complete street reconstruction.
“Again, if we had the wherewithal to reconstruct the streets, that’d be great. I don’t disagree with that option,” he said. “Unfortunately with the dollars it would take, throwing $400,000 at that on an annual basis, it takes us about 800 years to get that accomplished.”
Councilman Clarence Godwin cautioned, “If we take all that concrete out with nothing underneath it, that’s the same problem we had with Gardenwood. We had to come back after we approved the project…and we had to appropriate more money to put base underneath that road. And that’s the same thing you guys are going to have over on [Honeysuckle].”
“If you go in there and tear that out…it’s going to cost a lot more to replace that base,” he added.
Council agreed to conduct a special work session at 7 p.m. on April 26 to review the Honeysuckle Drive project.
In other business, council passed an ordinance providing for a log of public record requests to be kept, as recommended by the state auditor, and a resolution allowing for full-time vacation/personal time entitlements for the clerk of council.
Greenville City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of every month at the city’s Municipal Building, 100 Public Square in Greenville. Meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. and are open to the public.