San Marco Streetscape encounters month-long delay

Impact on local merchants terrible, says Boyer

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

The San Marco Streetscape project, including the Balis Park renovation, seems like a never-ending nightmare for merchants on the Square. The contractor, Petticoat-Schmitt, is currently working on the Naldo Avenue roundabout, which was supposed to be finished and open to traffic by the end of March and now looking more like late April/early May.
According to District 5 Councilwoman Lori Boyer, the source of the delay is that Petticoat-Schmitt ran into underground utility conflicts with the gravity sewer line that goes across the Naldo Avenue roundabout underground, but she is confident they will have it resolved.

“I’ve had conversations with the Mayor’s Office, and they and Public Works are both working to see if the timeline can be accelerated, by adding weekend or overtime crews or additional crews simultaneously,” she said. “The impact on the merchants is terrible. The concern is that when the contractor presents this as unforeseen circumstance and requests a delay that Public Works accepts, the merchants are the ones who will suffer – and they are suffering terribly as a result. You can’t stop midway or go back, so the only thing we can do is finish this as quickly as possible.”

According to Bob Scott, project manager for the City’s Public Works department, the contractor added an extra pipe crew late last month and increased the work schedule to six days a week. They are working toward an end of April opening of the roundabout, and the Public Works department has all work on the entire project scheduled for completion by the end of May.
Boyer indicated that it’s necessary to make sure that all who are working on the project, are doing everything they can as quickly as they can. “I keep making those phone calls and people keep telling me they are doing that. It’s certainly really challenging for the merchants,” she said.
“All I can say is, please keep trying to patronize the merchants. It’s our Square, our retail area. Twenty years ago when the Square was developed and the Fountain put in a big part of doing that was the recognition that as the Square went so goes the residential neighborhood values. It behooves us to support the Square and keep everyone in business and hanging on until we get through it. It will be wonderful when it’s finished.

“The Park project is much more simple; we’re mostly removing asphalt and grassing an area; we’re not trying to install substantial underground utilities. That makes it better. Whether I have any assurance that there won’t be some unexpected circumstances…who knows?” she concluded.

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