Improvement work to Fifth Avenue will begin this year

By David Skolnick


Fifth Avenue, one of the city’s busiest streets and one that is full of potholes, originally was slated by the state to be resurfaced and improved next year.

Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public-works department, expressed concerns about the road’s condition to state transportation officials who agreed to move the project up to this year, said Mayor John A. McNally.

City council approved legislation Thursday to allow the board of control to seek proposals and sign a contract with a company to improve the road from U.S. Route 422 to Gypsy Lane on the city’s North Side at an estimated cost of $1.4 million.

The city will spend up to $40,000 for six catch basins, with 80 percent of the remaining cost paid by a federal grant and the rest by the state.

“There are a lot of concerns about potholes on that street,” McNally said.

“The project will go a long way toward improving one of the gateways to our city,” said Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd, whose ward includes that area.

The Fifth Avenue project is one of several improvement projects that will be done in the city, mostly on main roads, this summer, Shasho said.

Also, McNally said the city street department is filling potholes on main streets. On Thursday, they worked on Meridian and McCartney roads.

The city chose some based on comments made by readers on who were asked to list streets in the city with the worst potholes, McNally said.

“It’s going to be a battle this year” filling potholes as there are more this year than in the past, he said.

City council also went into executive session for about 50 minutes Thursday to get updated by the city’s law department on a sexual-harassment complaint filed by Lyndsey Hughes, the city’s downtown director of events, special projects and marketing.

Hughes has been off the job for about the past two weeks for unspecified reasons, but is still being paid her salary.

Council members could be heard yelling in the closed-door meeting.

City officials declined Thursday to discuss the matter with The Vindicator.

But McNally said about two weeks ago that Law Director Martin Hume and First Assistant Law Director Rebecca Gerson, who briefed council on the issue Thursday, have been meeting with Hughes’ attorneys with a mediator.

A Dec. 6 report conducted on behalf of the city concluded that DeMaine Kitchen, a former chief of staff/secretary to the mayor and city councilman, sexually harassed Hughes.

Hughes was given a right-to-sue notice by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but her attorneys are trying to strike a deal with the city without going to court.

In addition to a monetary settlement, it is believed a deal would also have the mayor oversee Hughes’ position rather than city council.

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