Orion street work estimated at $810,000

by Mindy Carls correspondent

The Seventh Street project has a new cost estimate, $810,000, Orion Trustee Neal Nelson told the village board on Monday, Jan. 18.

Changes in the original plan include removing only 4 inches of subsurface material under the existing roadbed, and using cement stabilizer for the next 10 inches, the trustee said.

Those changes will save $50,000, but hiring an inspector to be on the site will cost $75,000, he said.

Nelson acknowledged that is a hefty price, but said it is important to have the work done correctly. An inspector will lower the village’s liability. Street Superintendent Neil Dahl could be the inspector, but it would take away from his village duties.

Trustee Mel Drucker said he heard the Seventh Street residents were not happy with the project. Nelson said one person sent him an e-mail, and another person spoke to him.

The road will be 2 to 4 feet narrower, Nelson said. It will have two 11-foot driving lanes and one 8-foot parking lane. Unless someone is having a social get-together, few cars park along the street.

Also, sidewalk will be installed, Nelson said. He acknowledged Drucker calling it “sidewalk to nowhere,” but said he hopes someday to have sidewalks on every street.

Coulter grants

Village President Jim Cooper announced the Wyman Coulter Trust had awarded Orion $7,000 for security cameras in Love Park, and $10,000 for drafting a plan and estimating the cost of renovating village hall or building a new one.

Village Attorney John Ames, who advises the Coulter Trust on legal matters, said the grant committee has not said no to future grants for the village hall project.

Cooper said he and Mitton met with Bush Construction, which has two Orion graduates among its engineers. Bush is able to create a floor plan and basic cost estimate for less than $10,000.

Telecom tax

The board did not vote on the proposed telecommunications tax because of a problem with e-mailing the ordinance establishing it. A vote will be on the Feb. 1 agenda.

Cooper said some residents are asking why, if the village needed money, it spent so much buying the site of the former bowling alley.

The village president cited three reasons.

First, the site was an eyesore, he said. The village bought the land for $102,500, a bargain when the appraisal price was $135,000. The former owner had the building torn down at his own expense. If the village had done the demolition, it would have had to pay prevailing wages.

Second, the village thought a new village hall could be built there, Cooper said. Other potential sites had not worked out.

Third, even if the village decided not to build there, it could control what went on that property, he said.

In other business

• Main Street Orion and the village will split the cost of restaurant incentives. Any family buying $25 worth of carryout from a food establishment can submit the receipt to Main Street Orion and receive a $10 gift certificate for use in any Main Street Orion business. The offer is good for the first 400 homes.