Chelsea Finds Funds for Small Urban Projects

By Seth Kinker,

On Mar. 4 at the Chelsea City Council meeting, City Engineer Christine Linfield brought an opportunity to the council that would bring extra funds in for non-motorized projects in the city.

Chelsea, the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC), and the Western Washtenaw Value Express (WWAVE) are all agencies in the Chelsea area that qualify for federal aid for projects.

After new estimates to the previously programmed fiscal year of 2019 projects for WCRC and WWAVE, it was determined that there would be an extra $79,000. In January, the Chelsea Small Urban Area Project Committee confirmed the usage was allowed, totaling $98,750 ($70,000 of
federal funds and a 20% local match totaling $19,750).

“This is a good thing, it provides an opportunity to accomplish something, but we have a very short window to do it so please keep that in mind,” said Linfield when presenting the engineering design proposal. If the money is not used it will leave the Chelsea Small Urban Area. “We talked about doing some pedestrian safety islands on our federal aid eligible streets, some infill of sidewalks.”

While mentioning some items, Linfield explained the scope is fluid and may change.

The project will be fast tracked so the state can secure the funds as quickly as possible. According to Linfield’s explanation of the proposal, an engineering firm is needed to help determine the final scope of the project, conduct field surveys, preliminary and final engineering plans, and final bid specifications.

Linfield brought a proposal from Midwestern Consulting (MCI), who the city has previously contracted with for various projects, to help assist the city in meeting the time constraints. With normal procedure having projects put out to bid, Linfield explained she contacted MCI because of data they already had in the area and the need to be time conscientious. In the proposal are six tasks totaling $32,322.

An additional 10% in funds was to be set aside in case alternate project locations have unforeseen design constraints.

“We’re looking at a fall bid with an opportunity to construct it next year,” said Linfield.

City council approved the engineer proposal from MCI with council member Jane Pacheco noting she appreciate the work and diligence Linfield and staff had taken in making sure the city had the opportunity to get the funds, but also the importance of bidding projects as to maintain
and develop relationship with different entities.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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