Voters approved $2-million worth of street improvements to a two-block section of Chaparral Street, but the plans shown to Council and the public included extras that raised the price tag by several million dollars.
Now the City Council is stuck in the middle of this controversy as developers are wanting the City to follow through on the more expensive plan.
The City wanted to overhaul the stretch of Chaparral between William and Schatzel. The street would be turned into a two-way, with more parking added, wider sidewalks and other improvements. The architect showed the final design to Council and everyone liked what they saw.
But Assistant City Manager Oscar Martinez believes cost was never discussed because Council thought the $2-million was going to cover the grand plans. Once staff heard that Council liked the final design, they bid out that project, which of course came in at $6-million instead of $2-million.
"There was a presentation to Council on the possible design of the street that exceeded the $2-million," Martinez said. "In that presentation, to my knowledge, there was no discussion of costs, so the bottom line is that the cost of the project came well in over $4-million over the cost that was provided for on the bond proposition language."
Now, the question is whether the City should move forward with the design as presented to Council, or the $2-million package voters approved. The City is worried that if it does the more expensive work, then it might be forced to do the entire length of Chaparral.
Martinez said if the City goes ahead with the more expensive plan, then it might have to continue that level of commitment to future improvements in the downtown area; which, if one mile of roadway was done at that cost, then the City would spend $55-million.
That's the amount it's going to take to pave the streets on the City's 2012 bond proposal list.
In two weeks, Martinez will give Council its options.
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