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City Engineer clarifies work on Garden Avenue

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Roswell City Councilors Caleb Grant, left, and George Peterson are pictured at the Infrastructure Committee meeting on Monday night at the Roswell Public Library. (Alison Penn Photo)

Project on schedule, but will close again after new year for more work

At the monthly Infrastructure Committee meeting, City Engineer Louis Najar said the current work on “infamous Garden” Avenue project is still on schedule with another project to follow in the new year.

City Councilors Juan Oropesa and Caleb Grant were present for the non-action items and City Councilor George Peterson joined the meeting shortly before 4:30 p.m. Councilor Jeanine Best was absent.

Najar showed images of the North Garden Avenue work and said the city is in the final phase, which was supposed to be the only phase before the water line break occurred near Cherry Street on July 9. According to previous coverage, North Garden was planned to be “closed off from the Cherry Street area to the south, to Third or Fifth Street to the north” until mid-December.

“And just to give you an idea, we’re down to only working between Eighth Street and Fifth Steet,” Najar said. “We’re only down … three blocks. From Fifth Street to Second Street is open and then from Eighth Street and you’re looking north all way to College (Boulevard) is open — so we’re on schedule to be open hopefully the middle of December and give it back to the citizens for Christmas.”

On January 13, Najar said the plan is to close North Garden again to begin work on the bridge near the closed Glover Packing Co. at 1007 N. Garden Ave.

Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh asked Najar to explain more about the upcoming work on the intersection of North Garden Avenue and East College Boulevard.

In response, Najar said semi-truck traffic has made this intersection rough by a stop sign near College Garden Animal Hospital at 502 E. College Blvd. and the city will be pouring a 10-inch thick concrete pavement to address this. He explained this is “separate” from the current Garden Avenue project and is simply “annual maintenance.”

On Monday, Todd Wildermuth, public information officer for the city, wrote that work will begin Dec. 2, closing the small west portion of East College and is tentatively scheduled to be completed on Dec. 13. Najar said it may take longer due to weather.

After removing the existing pavement, Najar said the city’s streets, water and engineering departments will be collaborating to replace a water main in that intersection that is 61 years old.

In other business, Najar said excavation started last week for the first of the two $6.4 million Roswell Air Center water towers, which he added will “hopefully (be) one a year from now.” He said the existing 1943-era water tower will remain standing until the first one is complete.

The $6.4 million bid for the project will be paid by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Drinking Water Loan Program, as well as gross receipts taxes, and each tower will hold 1 million gallons of water.

On Friday, Najar said a tour was conducted at the Roswell Test Facility for four interested parties and with proposals being due on Tuesday afternoon. The industrial site stands at 3801 E. Second St. and was once a saline water testing plant for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Citizen Larry Connolly asked if A.O. Smith Corporation, the current tenant, was one of the interested parties and Najar confirmed this. Proposals for the facility were slated to be received on Tuesday afternoon, Najar said.

The committee had three action items. The first approved next year’s meeting dates, the second was approval for the city to find information about moving away from fire hydrant meters and creating a fill station, while the third was just informational for the continued discussion of a subdivision in the county that wants to use city water.

At this time, Najar said there has been no response from owners of farmland which the city wants to buy to eventually expand the wastewater treatment plant on East College Boulevard.

About three sewer manholes, which run from Walmart and the Roswell Mall, will need emergency construction costing the city about $120,000, Najar said. Daniel Mendiola, wastewater treatment superintendent, and Najar explained hydrogen sulfide ate away the concrete walls of the manholes and they will be replaced with fiberglass walls.

Infrastructure usually meets the fourth Monday of the month. Chairman Oropesa said there will be no December meeting and the committee will resume meeting in January.

Special projects reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.