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Repaving Streets With Bricks Comes With A Cost

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By Joe Foreman, Editor

Repaving an 1,800 square-foot portion of First Street, between Locust and Hazel, will cost the city of Glenwood around $16,000.

That’s more than twice the amount the city would be paying if the same stretch of road were to be repaved with concrete, Glenwood Public Works Director Perry Cook said after an April 22 meeting of the Glenwood City Council.

The one-third block section of First Street is in need of repair after buckling last month and causing substantial damage to a vehicle being driven on the damaged surface. Under a proposal approved by the city council, the brick surface on First Street will be restored on top of an 8-inch concrete base poured by public works employees. The council has authorized a private contractor to lay the brick at a cost of $4 per square foot.

Cook said the cost of the project could have climbed to as much as $24,000 had a private contractor been utilized to build and pour the concrete foundation.

Cook said he’s optimistic other street repairs and projects in the city won’t be delayed or neglected as a result of the additional funds being allocated for the brick restoration on First Street. Cook also said the city probably needs to find a special funding mechanism if it intends to continue spending money preserving its brick streets.

City administrator Brian Kissel agrees the city council needs to revisit the issue.

“With construction costs going up, we need to take a closer look at some of the major brick street projects we might have coming up,” Kissel said.
Coolidge Street, a brick street south of the Glenwood Fire Station,  is at the top of that list, Kissel said.

Kissel said he’s aware of a city ordinance that requires the preservation of brick streets whenever it’s feasible, but said he intends to further study the language and intent of the legislation.

The brick street preservation movement in Glenwood was initiated 20 years ago by a group of citizens who eventually volunteered their time and labor to help the city make repairs to the century-old brick streets. Some members of that committee no longer reside in Glenwood, while others no longer have the desire or physical ability to do the work.

Because of the historic nature of the brick streets in Glenwood, Kissel said it’s possible the city could qualify for some grant funding to assist in preservation expenses.