East and Franklin Sts. due for improvements from grant

Improvements are coming to East and Franklin streets.

Warren City Council on Monday approved a request from the city administration to negotiate a contract with Hill Engineering for repair work to the two streets that will be paid for through Community Development Block Grant funds.

City Planner David Hildebrand informed council that the engineering services are for “street road improvements.” Such work can include sidewalks, curb cuts as well as some rebuilding of the street, including the subsurface.

“We will rebuild portions of those streets,” he said.

Hildebrand explained that the city put out a request for qualifications (RFQ) and two firms, including Hill, responded. He said that city staff are recommending Hill Engineering because it has a “through knowledge of CDBG requirements and (a) street improvement history.” He also cited the company’s technological capabilities and the format that the city follows in handling CDBG projects as other benefits.

“CDBG (program guidelines) requires gaining council approval to go for negotiations,” he said.

“Does it (contract) come back to us?” Councilman Gregory Fraser asked.

Hildebrand said the contract would not come back for council approval.

“If council so elects, there’s no reason why that agreement can’t come before council,” said City Engineer Douglas Sceiford, who, according to the city website, is a project engineer with Hill Engineering. He said that, in the past, the contract is simply executed with the city after terms are agreed upon.

“If council wants to see that, it can,” he said.

Hildebrand said that the city manager would sign off on the contract.

Fraser asked what the ultimate cost of the contract would be.

Sceiford, speaking in generalities, estimated the cost of the design at approximately $20,000 and inspection costs at the end of the project that would push the contract to a total of $40,000 to $50,000.

“This one is a little different. There are two streets,” he said.

Council then unanimously approved developing the agreement with Hill Engineering.

According to the regulations that guide the CDBG program, laid out by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 70 percent of the money must directly benefit low- to moderate-income individuals and must either eliminate slum and blight or address an urgent threat to public health.