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City Council approves double shifts to expedite construction on the Mill St. mall

Custom planters with integrated seating approved at an added cost

The City Council authorized a contract amendment for the The Downtown Streetscape Improvements Project in the total amount of $122,450.00 at Tuesday night’s regular board meeting.

The city and Sierra Foothills Construction have been working to expedite the construction “up to two weeks per phase by working double shifts; reducing closed time of each block of Mill Street from the original six weeks to approximately four weeks,” according to officials. “The additional labor and operational costs to work double shifts is $35,570.00.”

“Mill Street merchants are feeling relief to the news of the expedited project,” Robin Davies, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce said.

The council approved for an additional $86,880 for changes to the current contract including “custom planters with integrated seating in place of some of the stacked rock planters…Concrete planters with corten steel facing, metal bench frames and wooden tops and backs are proposed at four locations, according to Tim Kiser, city manager. Corten steel has a washed, rusty finish.

At Council’s direction a budget transfer of General Fund reserves would be executed to fund the two additions totaling $122,450.

During the meeting, the council also approved a contract with Geocon Consultants for $300,00, paid out of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Assessment Grant, which was awarded in June 2022.

“The purpose of these grants was, and are, to conduct assessments of contaminated mine-scared lands and those lands with other contamination (leaking underground tanks or other petroleum based contamination),” as stated in the information prepared by Thomas Last, Community Development Director.

Council Member Tom Ivy questioned the proportions of how the money will be spent and if any properties have been identified. Last responded that more than 50% of the allocated money goes to the justification of the plan, specifically the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), and that there have been five or six identified “targeted sites where the property owners have been contacted to see who is interested in the testing.” Actual cleanup done on private property is done by the owner, “except in the case where the property meets certain criteria, such as an affordable housing location or a non profit as outlined in the Equitable Community Revitalization Grant,” according to Last in a phone interview.

General areas have been targeted south of town, around S. Auburn Street, and Bennett Street, Grass Valley. “We have been working on projects like these since 2009, and it has been quite a success story – helping people clean up properties,” Last commented.

“Proactive planning for reuse of property that has been contaminated by mines in the past to be used for renewable energy such as solar fields is underway,” Last said.

Councilmembers approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between 4 Paws 2 Freedom, a training facility for peer support dogs available for fire stations, to reduce the impact of trauma during stressful encounters.

Recognition and honors were given to the upcoming Toy Run, Cornish Christmas, and the dedication of Marty Lombardi for serving the youth in our community over the years.

It was also agreed upon that City Hall will be closed to the public during the week of December 26 – 30; however, employees who chose to work during that time were welcomed to. In the case of emergency, services would be available.

To contact Staff Writer Marianne Boll-See email mboll-see@theunion.com, or call 530-477-4256.




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