BICKNELL — Officials here are looking to do more street paving.
Mayor Thomas Estabrook got the “green light” from city council members on Monday to submit an application for up to $560,000 from the state's Community Crossings Matching Grant program, one that has helped to do millions of dollars in paving across Knox County over the last few years.
Estabrook has been a working alongside street superintendent Donnie Lee and city engineer John Sprague in compiling a list of streets in most need of repaving. His job now, he said, is to “whittle it down” to fit the budget he has.
“We're going to have to cut one (street) out altogether and maybe most of another one, but I think doing that will get me to the number I need,” he said. “I think I can get 75 percent of what's on this list done.”
Included in the proposed plan are portions of Noble, Illinois, West Ninth, Mason, East Eighth, St. Clair, West Fourth, Pennsylvania, Chestnut, East Third, East Second, Coal and Short streets as well as portions of Park Road and Conway Boulevard.
Estabrook said they targeted streets that are in often need of patching as well as ones highly traveled due to their proximity to popular businesses or organizations.
The streets, too, would see new sidewalks and curb ramps as well as improved storm water drainage, if necessary.
The application is due to the Indiana Department of Transportation by Aug. 2; Estabrook said he hopes to get the city's in sometime in the next couple of weeks.
If applicants do that, they have the advantage of INDOT giving the application a quick once-over to point out what they call “fatal flaws,” or mistakes that could derail the application altogether.
Estabrook hopes to hear whether this most recent application has been successful sometime in September.
The city last year received about $319,000 and combined with that a match of $106,000 to repave several streets, including an ongoing Main Street project.
Members of the city's Board of Works also on Monday approved a $6,500 contract with Central Indiana Asphalt in Terre Haute for the crack sealing of several other city streets, specifically ones, Estabrook said, that have been repaved within the last 3-5 years. Targeting those, he believes, will give them greater longevity.
And board members awarded another $11,000 contract to Bicknell's own Mullins Supply for the demolition of a building on Main Street.
Estabrook said the structure at 125 S. Main St. has been an eyesore for years, and recently he was able to acquire the building, set for tax sale, from the Knox County Commissioners, who also agreed to clear the unpaid taxes.
“We got it for the sole purpose of tearing it down and so the city would have control of it,” Estabrook said.
A portion of the roof has collapsed, and it's been vacant for many years, the mayor said.
“When I talk about it, usually the first thing people say is, 'Oh, that should have been torn down a long time ago,'” Estabrook said of the building. “Its got some white vinyl siding on it that, if the wind blows hard enough, it falls off and onto the sidewalk.
“It's just junk.”
Estabrook said city officials have their eye on two other unsightly properties as well.
Notices for pending demolition under the city's Unsafe Building Ordinance have been sent to the owners of 722 Maple St. and 301 Murlin St.
The owners can appeal the city's choice to raze the houses to the Board of Works.
The house on Murlin Street, Estabrook said, has actually been partially torn down already.