O'Mary gives council update on projects

By ED HOWELL
Posted 3/20/19

For a man who has been waiting for the rain to clear to start a number of projects, Jasper Mayor David O'Mary was happy Tuesday. "Council members, it has been four days since we've had rain, and …

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O'Mary gives council update on projects

Posted

For a man who has been waiting for the rain to clear to start a number of projects, Jasper Mayor David O'Mary was happy Tuesday. 

"Council members, it has been four days since we've had rain, and the sun is shining," he told the Jasper City Council Tuesday, causing people to laugh knowingly in the room. "I'm excited about that." 

Projects are "popping up all across this community," he said, including sidewalk and Phase 2 in the city's paving projects. "Phase 3 is going to be a massive paving project." He said some of the projects would change how the city looks and upgrade it.

"Another thing I'm excited about is that over the past couple of years we've worked and been able to build significant reserve over and above a regulatory standpoint," he said. "The time is now to feed these monies back into our city. It's underway." 

O'Mary noted he had called for the council to list potential projects in the city. "These projects run the spectrum from size to geographic location. That's the way it should be," he said. 

He referred to a number of projects that have been assigned, including new welcome signs on the west side of town and the Cordova Cut-off Road.

"Those signs were certainly showing age. They need to be replaced. The work is being done now with that replacement," he said. 

O'Mary said drainage will be replaced across Eighth Avenue at the 1300 block, while lighting will be repaired on U.S. Interstate 22. The curb will be removed and repaired at 20th Street and Third Avenue. 

Traffic signs that have lost their reflectivity will be replaced, he said. 

"The week before last, we hired a person who is working as we speak, across our city, washing signs that are covered with mildew and moss, identifying signs that need to be replaced," O'Mary said. "This person, if something doesn't change, will take time and work their way across Jasper. Our signs will be effective."

Curb and gutter work is underway at Florida Avenue and 28th Street, with O'Mary noting the project was needed. At Coke Oven Park, a new roof will be put on the pavilion, and the concession stands, dugouts and bleachers will be painted. 

A pet-friendly drinking fountain will be located at the courthouse square, he said. After the meeting, he said it would involve a fountain offshoot where an animal could get a drink of water, although he said details were still being worked out. 

"Council members, I'm excited about this" list of projects, he said to conclude his remarks in the meeting. "It is a strong testament of what you can do when you manage for the common good. I think we all ought to be proud of that. 

"At the present time, we have a list of 25 projects that have been compiled based on your recommendations. These are on the work agenda. As these work off, new projects will roll on. It will take some time to do this, but work is underway to do things that have desperately been needed for a long time. It will make a difference in our city." He said such projects will continue if the city continues to manage for performance and the common good. 

No cost estimates were given on any of the short list of community projects. City officials have noted recently that overall in the city they are attempting to spend a total of $1.4 million on projects out of $3.8 million in reserves, holding on to $2.4 million for a state-mandated reserve.  

Money was also borrowed for a paving program, of which $2 million out of $7 million has been spent so far. Reserves in the future are also expected to help catch up with paving needs over time. 


Tar and gravel work will get asphalt paving

After the meeting, O'Mary and Councilman Gary Cowen noted that as far as the city's paving projects, many of them will be tarred and graveled first as part of the process before they are paved with asphalt. 

"It adds strength to the base. The cars have to run through and mash it in, and then you come back with the wearing surface," Cowen said. "No one is planning on leaving it tar and gravel," as they will be paved with asphalt. 

"It's a two-week time frame to let that cure," O'Mary said. 

Cowen said people complain during tar and gravel paving that rocks fly up and asphalt is not on the surface, but in fact that is just a temporary surface.

"It's not a throwback in time. It is a preparation process," O'Mary said. "You will see some of this across the city. ... If you see this, don't panic." 

Cowen said this was talked about when funds were borrowed for the roadwork. "We wanted to do it correctly so the pavement would last the length of the bond," he said.