By jeanne starmack
Residents who have been waiting for the township to pave their pothole-stricken roads finally are going to start seeing some progress.
With a levy just for roads narrowly passing 1,228 to 1,052 in May, the township will have $226,320 annually to combine with state grants for road paving. That same levy was defeated last November. A residents’ group campaigned for it before the May election.
This year, the township wants to pave four roads with a grant that it got last year. It did not have the local match, however, said Trustee Jodi Stoyak.
She said the township’s fiscal officer is checking to see if Liberty can borrow against the anticipated taxes. If so, the township will do those four roads late this summer.
Those roads are Hadley Avenue, Roosevelt Drive, Northview Boulevard and Ravine Drive from Sampson Road to Staunton Road.
All four roads will cost $350,000, with the township’s share at $200,000.
Trustees also have begun planning for next year. They and Administrator Pat Ungaro went out Thursday and drove on eight roads, said Stoyak.
Four of those roads — the Tibbetts Wick extension, Mansell Drive, Naylor Lloyd Road and Pleasant Valley Road — were determined to be the worst, and the township likely will start paving them next year, she said.
Ungaro is expected to pursue more grants for them.
Last November, voters defeated the 1.25-mill levy 1,255 to 983. Township officials had been pushing hard for it to pass so they could begin repaving 20 to 25 roads that are in terrible shape. They pointed to a loss of state revenue, including inheritance taxes, that curtailed their ability to fund resurfacing.
After the levy failed, the township began receiving complaints and petitions from residents who lived on some of the worst roads.
Mansell Drive is one of those roads. Resident Karen Conklin, who helped organize petitions, eventually teamed up with Trustee Stan Nudell to co-chair a committee to campaign for the road levy. A residents group called Citizens for Good Roads formed and began campaigning.
Liz Hill, another Mansell Drive resident, also helped on the campaign.
She said it was a matter of educating people about the need for money to pave the roads.
“Once I understood where we stood with the money, I was motivated to say, ‘We need to pass a levy,’” she said.
“It’s more about education and understanding — why we lost the funds and what would happen if [the levy] didn’t pass,” she said.