Apache Drive in Osage Hills subdivision, off Highway OO, is breaking apart and poses a danger to motorists, especially school buses loaded with children, officials say.
Apache Drive is just one street in the city in need of major repair, but members of the city operations committee singled it out as a prime example of the need for a comprehensive road repair and maintenance program.
Committee members are Mike Bates, chair, Steve Myers, vice chair, Walter Arnette and Mayor Jeff Palmore. City Clerk Kim Barfield serves as committee secretary.
The July 8 meeting, which tackled a half a dozen topics, was the first committee meeting in Palmore’s administration.
The role of the operations committee, Palmore said, is to examine issues facing the city operations in an open forum and recommend remedies to the full board of aldermen.
Palmore added his concerns to the full agenda, saying he wants to put together a four-year plan for street improvements based on a grading system that identifies repair needs by the location and amount of traffic in the location.
Committee members immediately warmed to the creation of a plan.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Arnette said.
Palmore said he recognizes the need for an objective plan after meeting with Ed Gass, Ward 1 alderman and former public works commissioner, and seeing firsthand the wide range of repairs that are needed.
Gass was in the audience during the operations committee meeting.
“Ed (Gass) told me things I didn’t realize,” Palmore said.
Myers said the scope of needed repairs should be addressed.
“Many items out there, if they are not fixed, amount to negligence,” Myers said.
Committee members said many city streets are shot because no maintenance has been done in five or six years.
Apache Drive in Osage Hills is a blatantly ruined street,” Chairman Bates said. “It poses a danger to motorists and school buses use that street to pick up students.”
Putting together a plan and grading system will require input from all public officials, city crews and citizens, Palmore said.
The mayor added that the operations committee is the right group to create the maintenance plan, grading system and method to implement the plan.
“Anyone who sees a street in need of repair needs to report it,” Palmore said. “But we have to identify the group or one individual who would look at the need and categorize the repairs. I’m very open about who does that, but the operations committee is the right group to set it up.”
Although he is open to any individual or number of individual to help draft the plan, the mayor believes Gass must be included.
“Ed (Gass) is the person who understands road construction,” Palmore said. “Our streets looked good when he was the public works commissioner and since he has not held that job they look awful.”
Once the list of needed repairs is completed and graded by priority, it would be passed off to the street department to make the repairs.
Palmore credited resident Neal Brennan for the idea of a four-year plan.
“A four-year plan was Neal (Brennan)’s brainchild,” the mayor said. “He reminded me that the mayor is elected for four years and that’s the time frame when he can get something done. He said, ‘There is no sense in a five- or six-year plan,’ and I agree.”