City covers unexpected $23,000 cost for River Trail expansion

An estimated $23,000, added to the city’s cost for the third phase of Marietta’s River Trail project, had officials tapping the Community Development Block Grant budget to provide funding for the unexpected expense Thursday afternoon.

“We need to execute a work agreement on the River Trail project to build an (Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant) driveway on the trail route along East Eighth Street, and I’m estimating the cost at around $23,000,” said Eric Lambert, project manager with the city engineering office.

The city has to build a concrete driveway from the street to the top of an embankment where property owner Craig Nichols has boat trailers and other equipment parked on a lot elevated out of the floodplain.

Lambert said paving the driveway, which is currently made of gravel, would prevent gravel from being scattered as vehicles, including a 53-foot trailer, will be crossing the River Trail in that area.

Bill Dauber, the city ‘s assistant safety-service director, said there was no money in the municipal streets fund to cover the additional cost.

But finance committee chairman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, noted some

monies had become available in the 2013 CDBG budget after a block grant-funded clerical position was eliminated in the city development office last week.

The committee members agreed to appropriate the $23,000 from the CDBG wages and benefits line item that had been freed up due to elimination of the clerical post.

The $1.4 million third phase of the River Trail project will extend the paved pedestrian and bicycle pathway 0.8 miles along the Ohio River from the current terminus at Fourth and Ohio streets, to the east side of Duck Creek near the Walmart shopping complex.

In other business Thursday, councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, who chairs the water, sewer and sanitation committee, asked for legislation authorizing a request for qualifications from engineering firms to help the city develop its comprehensive source water protection project.

“I’ve been working on this wellhead protection plan for some time, and have been attempting to find a company willing to help us develop a management component for the plan,” he said.

After some research, McCauley discovered the cost for such work could approach $100,000.

“But we need this, so I propose we send out an RFQ that states what we need and let engineering companies qualified for the work respond,” he said.

The other committee members agreed to introduce the legislation during next Thursday’s regular council meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the community building at Lookout Park.