Stanley Street project changes course, city aims for DIY re-striping
By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — A controversial bid accepted last week for the Stanley Street re-design could be rolled back, according to city officials.
According to a city press release, officials have hammered out a plan to continue with the road diet in spring, only without the much contested higher-than-expected cost of the project. Originally, a hopeful estimate was set for around $60,000 for the project, but with the only bid coming from Century Fence out of Pewaukee for $84,000 (approximately $96,000 with contingency) backlash from the community and some officials over the cost raised immediate concerns.
According to District 2 Alderperson David Shorr, after the emphasis was placed more on “how” as opposed to “whether” they would do the project, a cost-effective route seemed to be the better one to take when the dust settled after city council on Monday night. Shorr sent in a request for reconsideration to Mayor Mike Wiza for a lower-cost project that could be done in-house by city staff.
“Mayor Wiza and the Public Works Department looked more deeply into the possibility of the City doing the re-striping work more cost-effectively ourselves, and they came up with a good option to invest in the right equipment for the job,” said Shorr. “The option of bringing the work in-house seemed like it was worth a slight delay, and I was very happy to work with the Mayor Wiza and Director Beduhn on a cost-effective way to move ahead with the Stanley Street project next spring.”
Mayor Wiza noted that after a bid that came in 38 percent higher than what was estimated, several alternatives arose at last week’s council meeting. This includes a possible contract with the Portage County Highway Department, renting a striper, or simply buying the equipment outright to perform the work in-house.
“We were directed to seek bids, which was the motion in May, so that’s what we did.” said Mayor Wiza. “When the expensive bid got approved at committee, I had to consider our options. The Council made their intentions clear on doing the project. I considered a veto, but the votes were already there to overturn it. Instead, we chose to look at more cost-effective ways to do this, or options that provided some additional benefit to the city. That involved looking at buying our own equipment to do the project ourselves.”
According to the release, Director of Public Works Scott Beduhn and staff got quotes on the needed equipment and found that the city could buy the needed scarifier and striper, labor, traffic control and training for about $72,000. Stevens Point currently has about 250,000 feet of long line striping throughout the city. Owning the equipment to re-stripe those lines could save the city money in the long run, and not just on this specific project.
“Working with Council to create efficiencies in our streets department helps the whole city.” said Wiza. “I know this is a very divisive project. If we are going to do this, let’s do it in a manner that best benefits the taxpayer. Thanks to Alder Shorr and President Johnson. I’m glad we are able to build consensus and ultimately helps us save money city wide.”
“As we’ve all seen, this has been a bitter debate,” said Shorr. “So I welcome a chance to build consensus for moving ahead with redrawing Stanley Street with a slight delay and giving Public Works the ability to install these kind of lengthy pavement markings wherever they’re needed.”
The request for reconsideration will be submitted to the City Clerk and will be placed on the Council agenda in October. The Council will reconsider the bid and could instead choose to use the money to buy the recommended equipment or not.