The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

May 14, 2014

Market Street Bridge turning blue

OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa City Council held a special meeting on Wednesday, and only two items appeared on the agenda.

The most discussed item was to change how the Market Street Bridge will be painted during its current reconstruction.

Originally, the plan was to paint the entire outer east beam green, its original color, and spot paint the outer west side beam where needed. However, Public Works Director Larry Seals was asked by city officials what the cost would be to paint the entire thing and change the color to blue, which would match the lights that shine on the Jefferson Street Viaduct.

Seals talked with the contractor and engineer of the project, and brought the additional costs back to the council at Monday’s special meeting. He said painting the entirety of the east and west side beams blue would add $106,600 to the entire cost of the project.

Since painting the bridge blue will be an extra $106,600 added to the project, the staff recommendation was to disapprove the request because spending the extra money on the bridge could take away from funding for other city projects, like fixing potholes.

“We have a lot of needs,” Seals said. “The biggest complaints we get are potholes and the condition of the streets.”

Despite the staff recommendation, the council voted 3-2 in favor of painting the bridge blue. The councilmembers spoke to the fact that the project already costs approximately $2.9 million, and some felt that spending a little more to help make the bridge more aesthetically appealing is the right thing to do.

Plus, the deck of the bridge is not on currently, since it is getting replaced, and it would be easier to paint the beams now rather than wait until later.

“Now’s the time to do it and do it right,” Councilmember Skip Stevens said.

The other item of consideration on the agenda was the approval for a sidewalk café permit for The Little Bake Shop.

According to City Clerk Amanda Valent, The Little Bake Shop met all of the requirements from the building and health inspections, as well as the fire code, and the council approved the application.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh

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