Archive for Thursday, September 23, 2010

Grass repair not cutting it, residents say

Residents concerned planting after 150th Street construction won’t be successful

Clumps of crabgrass sprout up from the landscape of Susan Guy's yard along 150th Street where construction crews lowered the ground last fall as part of repairs to the street. At Monday's city council meeting, Guy said she worried that grass seed planted last week by a city contractor would not grow properly.

Clumps of crabgrass sprout up from the landscape of Susan Guy's yard along 150th Street where construction crews lowered the ground last fall as part of repairs to the street. At Monday's city council meeting, Guy said she worried that grass seed planted last week by a city contractor would not grow properly.

September 23, 2010

Nearly a year after the city completed construction on 150th Street, a few Basehor residents are still upset about the lingering effects of the construction on their yards.

Susan Guy and George Smith both spoke at the Basehor City Council meeting Monday evening, expressing doubts that a contractor hired by the city had properly planted new grass on parts of their property that were affected by the construction. Another resident who lives along 150th Street and was unable to attend sent a letter to the council voicing frustration.

The city contracted in 2009 with Larkin Excavating for about $650,000 to perform repairs on 150th Street between Craig and Parallel, and construction on the street finished in fall 2009. But the project did not finish with enough time before winter for Larkin to plant new grass on areas of residents’ yards that were dug up during construction, said city administrator Mark Loughry, so it had to wait until this year’s planting season.

The company began aerating and planting grass seed last week, Loughry said. But Guy and Smith both voiced concerns that the company did not account for large amounts of crabgrass that sprouted up during the last year on patches of bare dirt left after the construction. Both residents said they worried the seed could not take root with the crabgrass in the way.

“All we’re asking is for grass to grow, at least to some extent, where there was grass growing before,” Smith said.

Guy said the crabgrass in her yard was so thick in some spots that the blades of her lawnmower got caught in it.

“It’s just left it all a big mess,” Guy said.

Loughry said he was also concerned about whether the grass would grow. But the city’s contract with Larkin requires that the company be given a chance to properly replace the grass before the city can interfere with the process, he said.

“We have to give it a chance to fail before we can take action,” Loughry said.

As less than a week had passed since the seed was planted, Loughry said the city cannot yet adequately judge whether the company performed the task as assigned. If the grass does not come in, Loughry said, the city can hire another company to plant grass next year.

Smith said he was frustrated at the possibility that he would have to wait another year before his grass was replaced.

“There just is no end to it,” he said.

Council member Bill Moyer said he had sympathy for Guy and other residents along 150th Street whose yards had been affected. He said he spent a great deal of time taking care of his yard and could imagine the frustration those residents might feel.

“If I was out there, I’d kind of feel powerless,” Moyer said.

Later in the meeting, in a separate matter, the council voted for the city to pay Smith more than $7,500 to replace trees and a concrete pad that were removed during the 150th Street construction. Both payments were provided for in an agreement Smith signed with the city before the construction began.

Also Monday night, the council:

Voted 5-0 to authorize the city to advertise for bids for the 2010 Pavement Management Project, for which $175,000 is set aside in the city’s budget. Council president Jim Washington moved to hold a special meeting before the City Council work session Oct. 4 for the council to consider and approve bids for the project, and the council approved the special meeting 4-1, with Moyer opposing. Moyer said he preferred not to have the meeting on Oct. 4 because he would be out of town.

Reviewed and approved, 5-0, the 2009 city audit by the firm Lowenthal, Webb & Odermann, P. A.

Approved, 5-0, a request to transfer the city’s cable franchise agreement from Sunflower Broadband to Sunflower’s new owner, Knology.

Authorized, 4-1, Mayor Terry Hill to sign a settlement agreement for Basehor Boulevard and easements. Member Iris Dysart opposed.

Approved, 5-0, the city’s August financial report.

Approved, 5-0, Vernon Fields for the Planning Commission.

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