Prentice St. Rebuild Underway
By Brandi Makuski
With the school year winding down, crews are kicking a reconstruction project on Prentice St. into high gear.
The rebuild of Prentice St. between Maria and Centerpoint drives was announced last fall. It’s a necessary move to not only rebuild the roadway surface, but also to replace the underground utilities.
Former Director of Public Works Scott Schatschneider referred to Prentice St. as “one of the worst” roadways in the city, and he estimates it was last resurfaced sometime in the 1960s.
“But the [underground] utilities are pushing the 90-year mark,” Schatschneider said.
The project also includes new curb and gutter, and moving the sidewalk back into the public right-of-way, which required the removal of several trees along the roadway.
City Forester Todd Ernster said at some point in the past — before he started working for the city 28 years ago — the sidewalk in front of Pacelli High School was installed on the school’s property, and is technically not public right-of-way.
“I don’t know why it was like that, but the sidewalk is on private property,” Ernster said, adding 14 Crabapple trees had to be removed last week to make room for the new sidewalk.
“There was enough room in the boulevard for those trees, but when this is done there isn’t going to be enough room in that narrow strip of land,” Ernster said. “We’re working with Pacelli [High School] to see if they’ll want those trees replanted on their property one it’s done.”
Several other trees along the roadway were also removed, but will be replanted, Ernster added, also saying one large, 24-inch oak tree on the 100 block of Prentice St. will not be removed due to its age.
Prentice St. will close at Fourth Ave. beginning Wednesday, May 24 so crews can complete underground utility tie-ins. The closure will last about two days, weather permitting.
The project is scheduled for completion in October.