Aldermen now are awaiting estimates on the cost to conduct upgrades to a downtown alleyway that a Union business owner said must be repaired before he can pave a parking lot.
The Union Board of Aldermen Monday instructed Public Works Director Harold Lampkin to present the costs to chip and seal, and milling and overlaying the alley that runs north and south behind Leroy A. Strubberg and Associates, and other businesses including St. Louis Jewelry Company and Elmer’s Tavern.
“Before any action is taken at all,” said Alderman Karen Erwin, “I want to see some numbers of what the cost of all of this will be.”
Last week, a city committee, comprised of aldermen, recommended the city make only minor repairs, including patching, and to ensure that there is a “good seam” between Strubberg’s parking lot and the alleyway after the lot is paved. Patching work already has been conducted. The alley is east of Church Street.
Officials also suggested last week that aldermen walk the alley to better determine the condition of the roadway. If aldermen decide the alley should be repaired, that would come after Strubberg paves his parking lot, which is east of the alley.
However, Monday Alderman Jim Albrecht suggested that the city make some type of repairs to the alley.
“It has a big hole in it,” Albrecht said. “I still think we should go ahead and do it.”
Albrecht, along with Alderman Dale Schmuke, voted against the committee’s recommendation last week to wait for any upgrades to the street.
Strubberg told aldermen Monday that he has been asking for the city to upgrade the surface of the alley several years ago but only approached individual city employees.
“I started asking five years ago and then found out that I had to go before a committee,” he said. “I wanted to do something to make the lot look nice.”
Strubberg claims that water runoff from the building located adjacent to the alley has flowed under the alley surface and damaged the subsurface of the city alley, and damaged his parking lot that is adjacent to the alley.
Alderman Dustin Bailey questioned if the subsurface actually had been damaged because the surface where the water runoff is most directly impacted is “not worn away at all.”
Strubberg said when he contacted a company to pave his parking lot, he was told to wait until upgrades are made to the alley to prevent water from getting beneath the surface of his lot and damaging the new surface.
“They recommended that I don’t spend a lot of money on it until the alley is fixed,” he said.
Strubberg further stated that an engineer compared the damage to that which would occur if a jar of water was placed in a freezer.
He added that he will make the same type of upgrades to his parking lot that the city would make to the alley.
“If you are going to chip and seal, I’ll chip and seal,” he said. “If you are going to plug up holes, I’ll plug up holes.
“But I want to do it first class,” Strubberg added. “I am throwing money away — I want a commitment that if I fix my lot, the city will fix the alley.”
Strubberg has said that there are about 50 cars per day that drive down the alley, and it also is used by pedestrians. There is a car counter on the north end of the alley, but Strubberg claims that the traffic comes in on the south side of the alley.
“You can throw those numbers out,” he said. “That is all Elmer’s traffic.”
Strubberg said if the city contracts with a company to do the street work, the same company could also do the work to his parking lot.
Mayor Mike Livengood said the city can’t hire a company to do that type of work for a private business.
“They can do it at the same time, but with different contracts,” Strubberg said.
During committee meetings, city officials have said that there are more pressing street repairs, including other alleys, that should be addressed before the alley that runs behind Strubberg’s building.
Lampkin has said there is no damage to the subsurface of the alley and major repairs are unnecessary.
Strubberg said there are other alleys in Union that were in better condition than the alley that runs behind his business that had been paved, including an alley adjacent to Roosevelt Street and one that runs east of Hagie’s Nineteen.
Rost has explained that the paving on the alley adjacent to Roosevelt Street was done because curbing along Roosevelt Street was built under code many years ago. Stormwater was running against a house, and curb was redone to better control the water runoff.
Because the city repaved the alleyway entrance, crews paved the entire stretch of the alley.