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Street paving on city board’s radar

BOARD APPROVES PAVING – The Humboldt City Board approved the list of city streets to be paved in Phase 1 of the project this spring. Alderman Leon McNeal (left) voted against the list due to him wanting the streets in his ward to be at the top of the list. Alderwoman Tammie Porter (right) voted to approve the street list. Mayor Marvin Sikes said he and street department supervisor, Willie Reed, drove all the streets on the list and prioritized the ones in need the most as well as the ones with the most traffic.

by DANNY WADE  |  Senior Editor

When the Humboldt Board of Mayor and Aldermen met on Monday, April 24, the agenda was short. Other than approving four accounts payable and accounts receivable reports, and the March fire report, only two other items were up for vote.

The first item was discussion on the list of streets to be paved this spring. Over the past few months, Mayor Marvin Sikes has requested each board member put together a list of streets in their ward that are in need of repaving. Sikes and street department supervisor, Willie Reed, went over their lists, drove the streets themselves and comprised a master list for paving.

Sikes presented the list to the aldermen during the board meeting. The list showed each street, broken down by the aldermen’s ward, and the width and length of the section of the streets to consider.

Mayor Sikes said he did not have a price for the paving project, since it would have to go out for bid. Sikes estimated it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000 for all the streets on the list. He also noted that funding for the paving would come from ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) federal stimulus funds and would not cost the taxpayers a single cent.

The mayor called this project Phase 1 with plans to have another round of paving in the summer. Sikes said Phase 2 would include addressing drainage issues on the west side of town. Sikes noted he would not know if all of the streets  on the list could be in Phase 1 until the project it put out for bid.

Alderman Leon McNeal did not like the list of streets Mayor Sikes presented. McNeal said he gave the mayor his list of the worst street in his district and recommended his entire list be the first streets paved.

Mayor Sikes asked McNeal if he did not agree with the list, to which McNeal replied, no, he did not agree. McNeal said the streets on the west side of town need paving first. Two streets in particular McNeal called out were Crenshaw and 6th St., describing them as “All tore up.”

Sikes said he and Reed took the entire city into consideration. Sikes then noted that no one lives on Crenshaw. He added that the amount of traffic on streets was a big factor in determining the list.

McNeal continued with his suggestion to get streets in his ward first, and continued this line of thought over and over, as he got louder and louder.

Alderman Shane Lynch then made a motion to accept the list of streets Mayor Sikes presented and to look at McNeal’s list for Phase 2. Alderwoman Julie Jones-Coleman seconded the motion.

McNeal would not stop as he kept repeating himself.

Mayor Sikes said there are five members on this board and if they do not like the list, they can vote it down.

Lynch called for question, which immediately ended further discussion.

Sikes recommended a role call vote be made.

As vice mayor and secretary of the board, McNeal called out each alderman’s name. When Alderman Monte Johnson, Jones-Coleman and Lynch voted yes, it was McNeal’s turn, where he mumbled his vote. The mayor called him out and asked how McNeal voted. Again, McNeal mumbled but slightly louder, so Sikes asked him a second time how he voted. Instead, McNeal moved onto the final vote from Alderwoman Tammie Porter, who voted yes to the list.

McNeal said the vote passed. Mayor Sikes asked what the vote was since he was uncertain of McNeal’s vote. It was noted the vote was 4-1.

Streets on the list are: 26th Ave. from Vine to Northwood; North 31st Ave. to North Circle; 29th Ave., Vine to Mitchell; Northwood, 27th Ave. to 30th Ave.; Etheridge, from Central Ave. to 17th Ave.; 17th Ave., from Mitchell to Harder St.; 14th Ave. from Mitchell to Osborne; Westview Cove; Maple St., from 12th Ave. to Central; Central Ave., from Main Street to McKnight; Dowsley Dr.; Shepard Dr.; 3rd, from Maple to Etheridge; 5th, from Etheridge to McLin; and the corner of 5th and Etheridge.

The final agenda item was to accept the resignation of firefighter Josh Kwasigroh.

In his letter of resignation, Kwasigroh thanked the city for giving him the opportunity to work for the community, but at this time, another opportunity became available for him to consider. He stated that he appreciated Humboldt Fire Department for helping him develop his skills as a firefighter.

Kwasigroh was relatively new to the fire department, being hired in January.

The board unanimously accepted his resignation.

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