BICKNELL — The city continues to be a hub of activity this summer as all sorts of infrastructure projects are underway.

One unexpected project that cropped up recently was a sinkhole that developed on West Second Street. The hole opened up between College and Division streets, in a spot that's slated to be paved during this month's Community Crossings Matching Grant-funded road work.

A look into that sinkhole, Mayor Thomas Estabrook, revealed another problem: Crews discovered two failures in a section of stormwater drainage pipe that runs between two manholes. There were places between the manholes that looked like patched potholes, but were actually problems in the road that had started to develop and caused the road to sink.

The city's Board of Works met in special session to approve a $13,000 additional appropriation, to be paid out of the stormwater fee revenues, to fix the problem.

That project, Estabrook noted this week, has now been completed.

“We now have almost 200 feet of new stormwater pipe running from College to Division,” he said. “And once they start paving, no one will notice any difference.”

And speaking of paving, he said, crews with Bloomington-based Milestone Contractors are set to arrive any day now to start on the Community Crossings work, which will also address several additional streets that city officials have added to the list in recent months.

Another project that's currently underway is the walking track makeover at South Side Park.

Huey Excavating of Sandborn is completing the work, which will cost about $40,450. Asphalt is expected to be poured over the track next week.

“He has the rock base down now,” Estabrook said. “What will happen, from what I understand, is they'll asphalt all the areas except where they're going to put in concrete crossovers. They'll pour those, and then they're going to pour two small concrete walkways that go up to the entrance of the bathrooms.”

Officials expect that the walking track will be finished by the end of this month.

Bicknell's ongoing blight elimination efforts are also keeping the wrecking crews busy this summer.

Of the 12 demolitions that will be paid for with the city's 2017 award from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority's Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program, nine of them are on the ground.

Local firm Mullins Supply, owned by city council member Rod Mullins, is handling the demolitions.

“Rod has to wait until June 18 (to do more) due to the 10-day notice requirement of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. These other three houses have various asbestos and other materials in them that have to be loaded out per [state] rules before they can be torn down,” Estabrook said. “Most of it is in the attics and the walls.”

By the end of the month the other three will be torn down.

At that point, Estabrook noted, city attorney Michael Edwards will submit the application to tear down five more blighted houses, to be demolished using an additional $125,000 the city discovered was left from a $415,000 Blight Elimination Program grant awarded during former Mayor Jon Flickinger's term.

City officials don't see any reason why the houses included in the application wouldn't be approved for demolition.

“We have titles to two of them and I've got arrangements pending as far as purchase agreements with the other three property owners,” Estabrook said. “So if [the state] approves them and we get everybody to work pretty quickly, those should be a pretty quick turnaround.”

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