Council critical of recent road repairs

Iola City Council members are less than impressed with a recent round of street improvements.

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June 15, 2021 - 10:03 AM

North State Street in Iola. The Iola City Council was not impressed with recent resurfacing work done there. (RICHARD LUKEN)

Iola City Council members are less than impressed with a recent round of street improvements.

Mill and overlay projects overseen by Heckert Construction, Pittsburg, were discussed at length Monday by Council members, who complained about the quality of the work, and the manner in which the work was accomplished.

North State Street’s resurfacing drew most of the Council’s ire.

Councilman Ron Ballard said he’s fielded several complaints from residents on “the mess that was made while the work was done.”

The new asphalt surface has several rough and uneven spots, he noted, that will worsen quickly as it ages.

“I think it’s worse than it was before,” Councilman Gene Myrick added. “I’m very, very disappointed in the job that they did.”

Both Myrick and Ballard encouraged the city to either withhold part of the $627,000 payment, and ask the company to redo portions of the street.

Myrick suggested getting the city attorney involved.

Councilman Steve French pointed to the other complaint he heard from residents: crews did little to mark which lanes were open while the work was ongoing.

“People weren’t sure which lanes they were authorized to drive in,” French said, 

Heckert offered up the low bid, by a sizable margin, among four companies seeking to handle IOla’s milling and overlay projects this year.

Heckert’s bid of $627,598.60 was more than $70,000 less than the next lowest bid.

The company also resurfaced stretches of Garfield, Buchanan, Jim and Sycamore streets as well as a portion of White Boulevard and Kansas Drive.

Myrick said a resident told him “you get what you pay for,” implying a bid substantially lower than the other would result in an inferior product.

SPEAKING OF citizen complaints, Myrick noted he’s also heard from residents curious about the fate of the old Harmony Health building, which was gutted by a fire earlier this spring.

The shell of the building remains, but has become an enticing home for four-legged varmints of all sizes.

Code enforcement officer Gregg Hutton said he’s visited with the owners’ family members, and they’ve stated their intentions to get the building removed.

“I think funds are an issue,” Hutton said.

Myrick suggested giving the owners until the Council’s next meeting June 28 to have the building removed entirely, or have the city step in and take emergency action and have the building removed.

IN AN otherwise light meeting, Council members approved an ordinance that requires anyone who builds or does major improvement to structures in the city’s flood plain to ensure heating and air-conditioning systems be at least 1 foot above the floodplain.

In essence, the ordinance prohibits new or radically improved structures within the floodplain from having those HVAC controls in a basement, Hutton clarified.

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