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Residents place pennies on roadwork priorities
Oct 12, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
Riverton residents had a chance this week to put their money where their priorities are when it comes to roadwork within city limits.
During a Tuesday work session at City Hall, public services director Bill Urbigkit distributed $1 in change to each person in attendance, asking them to identify the roads they think are most in need of repair work by placing the coins on printed maps. He gave them 21 streets to choose from, using a list that was generated by residents and pared down by city staff.
"This is really a team effort," Urbigkit said while the bags of change were distributed. "We want to hear from you guys what you think is the most important road."
The exercise generated discussion between the Riverton City Council and members of the public, who had to approach the representatives to place their votes. Some people asked that additional roads be included on the list, while others joked about the condition of their neighborhood streets. Robert Andrews and Jacqualine Coates each dropped all of their change on North Broadway Avenue, citing concerns about use of the avenue when a scheduled construction project begins on North Federal Boulevard in the coming years. Andrews said motorists likely will try to use Broadway Avenue to bypass the construction.
"There's no way once they start on Federal that it will handle two-way traffic," Andrews said.
Andrews and Coates were not the only ones worried about North Broadway Avenue -- once the change was added up Tuesday, officials said North Broadway Avenue from Sunset Drive to the north end of Teeter Park had earned the most money at $3.86.
Next came the roads in and around the Woodridge Estates Subdivision near North 16th Street East. Councilman Eric Heiser chose to combine the roads in that area, which earned $2.10 in total.
"Two people made a case for that whole neighborhood," Urbigkit said, pointing specifically to Forest Drive and Maple Lane. "The aggregate is so exposed because it's aged so badly that it looks like a gravel road already."
Pure Gas Road, a favorite of Mayor Ron Warpness, got $1.60, while $1.46 went to the roads surrounding Rendezvous Elementary School.
"There's a lot of bus and pedestrian traffic there, particularly on Fourth Street," Urbigkit said.
The final road sections that drew more than $1 in change were Pershing Avenue from North Eighth Street West to North Federal Boulevard, which garnered $1.25, and West Sunset Drive from North Eighth Street West to Broadway Avenue, which earned $1.23. Urbigkit said Pershing has some alignment and drainage issues, while Sunset covers several undersized and deteriorating water lines that were fixed recently.
"So that's kind of ready for some work now," Urbigkit said.
If Fremont County voters approve a 1 percent additional sales tax in November, officials said Riverton will receive a total of $1.85 million dollars in additional revenue over four years for local infrastructure projects. Warpness said the city council wants to spend that money on projects that are important to Riverton residents, adding that there is plenty of work to be done with the money.
During the meeting, the city's list of prioritized streets kept getting longer as residents made new suggestions. Riverton Police Department officers also offered written recommendations for road work.
"Some of the chuck holes, they hit don't do anything positive for the front end of a very expensive police car," Warpness said.
He also mentioned ambulance drivers who often navigate Riverton roads while transporting sick or injured people.
"It's important for us to realize it's not just making the streets smooth and nice-looking," Warpness said. "It really is a functional and practical need that our community has."