Archive for Thursday, April 27, 2006

Council moves forward Bittersweet expansion

April 27, 2006

The effort to extend Bittersweet Road from Lansing Middle School to West Mary Street and the new Lansing Elementary School continues to be on track.

Lansing City Council members, in a 4-2 vote at their meeting last week, directed the city staff to proceed with selecting a design consultant to prepare plans for extending the road.

Council members Harland Russell and Billy Blackwell voted against the motion, both objecting that the city did not yet have a written agreement with the Lansing school district spelling out how the two entities would split the cost for the road.

"The question is: Are we prepared and have adequate funding available to fund it ourselves if so needed?" Russell said.

Council member Don Studnicka replied that the answer was no. But he noted council members were merely voting on proceeding with the design phase of the project.

"We have to do this anyhow if we're going to put that road in, whether we put it in all by ourselves - whether the school backs out at the last minute and we put it in by ourselves - or they help us with it," Studnicka said.

Added Council President Kenneth Ketchum, "By the time we get ready to award a contract for somebody to design it, we certainly ought to have our memorandum of understanding signed, sealed and delivered. If not, then we can halt and go from there."

Earlier this month, the council and Lansing School Board met in a joint session where members were presented with the city's preliminary cost estimate of $1.5 million for the project and a plan that would split the entire cost in half.

City Administrator Mike Smith said he and Schools Superintendent Randal Bagby continue to work on a memorandum of understanding that lays out the city's and the district's responsibilities for the road.

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