Crestwood citizens’ petition seeks repairs to Ewers Drive

By Mike Anthony

Residents of the 9300 block of Ewers Drive recently presented a petition to the Crestwood Board of Aldermen citing the poor condition of their street and asking that it be repaired.

The petition containing 36 or 37 signatures was presented to the Board of Aldermen last week. City Administrator Don Greer told residents he agreed that Ewers Drive is in “horrible” condition and said it would cost $145,000 to $150,000 to properly repair the 9300 block.

However, Greer also noted that any decision to repair Ewers Drive would have to be made by the Board of Aldermen, and, given the city’s current financial situation, aldermen would have to rearrange some priorities if they decided to do the work during the current construction season.

During a period for public comment at the May 25 board meeting, several residents of Ewers Drive addressed aldermen, including Gary Battelle.

“… I’m from Ewers Drive and I’d like to talk about the street,” he said. “We have pictures here of the shape it’s in. I’ve been there for 29 years and that street’s been worked on two times and it’s bad, real bad. And we need something done this year with it. We got part of the street over here in a box …”

To illustrate the poor condition of their street compared to others, Ewers Drive residents submitted pictures of Ewers Drive, Fieldcrest Drive and Fournier Drive, Battelle said, adding, “The puddles stay on that street (Ewers) for two to three days after each rain. They’re there so long, the frogs are in there croaking.

“Grass is growing in the street. There’s speed bumps in there. There’s no curbs left. I walked out to my mailbox two weeks ago and the curb just crumbled out from under my feet … And the street they say is worse (Fieldcrest), our street was that bad 15 years ago and I think we need to get it done this year,” he added.

At one point, Acting Mayor Richard Breeding of Ward 1 said, “We will — I’m sure that you know that we’re all talking about this and it’s been a conversation at meetings we’ve had on certain Saturday mornings also. So we will get something together for the people on Ewers and they we’ll get back to you.”

Asked later if he had received a copy of the petition, Breeding said, “… Yeah, I did. What we’ll do, we can’t give you an answer today. If we did, every person who lives on a street like yours would be up here for every meeting and I don’t blame you. So what we’ll do is we’ll get together and then we’ll kind of contact you all and then you guys can tell the neighborhood what we’ll do for you.”

When a resident asked how city officials determine which streets to repair and in what order, Public Works Director Jim Eckrich explained, “… All the streets are analyzed using a pavement condition index under a program called PAVER. These are done basically every other year. We are in the process of doing it this year. That’s how the streets are analyzed and that’s how the condition is determined …

“Our current ratings show that Ewers is the second-worst street in the city … The street that is worse, according to the index, is Fieldcrest, which did receive a one-inch skin coat of asphalt a couple of years ago, but that would never last any period of time …,” Eckrich added.

After more discussion, Breeding said, “So you asked about when you’ll get an answer — what is today, Tuesday? We’ll get back to you in a week.”

Ewers Drive resident Dave Keaton said that the condition of his street was so severe that a one-inch skin coat of asphalt would not do the job.

Of Ewers Drive, Greer said, “… It is horrible. It is in horrible condition. Part of what we’re facing is even with what Jim (Eckrich) was talking about earlier that was done on the other street a couple of years ago would not do any good. It’s just a waste of money. Your street, in particular the 9300 block, requires going a little deeper and doing some major concrete work. So it’s a lot more than just doing some kind of a temporary fix, which is what was done a couple of years ago.

“We do have some preliminary estimates on what it would cost. We are looking at if there is any way at all to physically to be able to afford it, to be able to do something in this construction season. I can’t promise you that we will be able to. This board makes the determination on the priorities for what’s spent, but there’s a limited pot to spend money from …,” he added.

At one point during the discussion, Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel said, “First I want to thank everybody for coming this evening and making their voices heard and I encourage all my constituents to come and do the same. Has everyone on the board seen the petition that the people from Ewers signed?”

Miguel later asked Greer, “… One other question on Ewers. When do you expect to have an answer to the people as far as what will be done with their street?”

Greer said, “When will I have answer with regard to what will be done with the street? I think the mayor indicated that we’d have an answer in a week, so we’ll have an answer in a week. I can guarantee that. Mr. Eckrich and I have had some discussions with regard to what could be done and what needs to be done because, as I indicated earlier, the last thing we want to do is just some kind of surface to make it pretty. That’s just throwing money away.

“Mr. Eckrich has indicated to me the kind of work that does need to be done and could be done in the 9300 block for about $145,000 or $150,000 and that would do that section correctly. Now in order to do that work during this construction season, the board would have to rearrange some priorities for the money that’s available for this construction season. And that information will be forthcoming in a report, together with the work that is intended and planned for the board’s consideration …,” he added.

Miguel said, “I think you need to really consider the entire street of Ewers, both blocks or whatever.”

Greer said, “Well, I can consider it, but if that’s three-hundred and how much, $345,000 or something like that …”

Miguel said, “I don’t think the lower street going down the hill is in any better condition than the upper, the 9300 block.”

“… I agree with you completely. I do not disagree with the residents …,” Greer said, noting that he has inspected the street. “It’s going to take $350,000 to do the whole street. I don’t have it. You don’t have it … It’s been my intention now that because Mr. Eckrich recently was able to come up with an estimate is to see if there’s any way at all that we can afford to do it.

“If there’s any way at all we can afford to do it, I’ll be happy to recommend this board take that action. Just as if I don’t think we can afford it, I will recommend that you do wait until next year to do it. And I don’t disagree with how bad the street is,” the city administrator said.