The city agreed to improve the streets when it bought an old school building.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
EAST PALESTINE -- City officials are wrapping up a major street improvement project and planning to replace an aging bridge next year.
"It's been a busy time," said City Manager Gary Clark.
Resurfacing is to be done Thursday on West Grant Street, West North Avenue and one block of East Street. Those streets surround the K-12 school campus, Clark said.
The paving will be the finishing touch on a $675,000 project that also included replacing much of the sidewalk and curbs along those streets.
Clark said when the city bought the former Captain Taggart School building from the school district for $1 in the late 1990s, it agreed to improve the streets around the new school complex. The Captain Taggart building now is the city's municipal building.
All of West North Street is being included in the paving project, even though only a few blocks pass by the school campus.
"That street really was in bad shape," Clark said. "It got torn up during a sewer project in 1996, and it's been bad ever since then."
Clark said the bulk of the project is being paid for through a 10-year loan, which the city is repaying at 0 percent interest for the first three years and 3 percent a year for each of the final seven years.
Next year, a nearly 100-year-old bridge on West Street will be replaced in a project the city is coordinating with the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The 90-foot-long bridge, built in 1907, crosses over Conrail railroad tracks. Clark said it is safe for traffic, though the state has imposed load-limit restrictions on it since 1947.
"School buses haven't been able to drive over that bridge since before I was born, and no one ever did anything about it," Clark said.
He said the state is picking up $1.5 million of the project's cost through a grant, while the city will be responsible for $100,000.