By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Patty Paulsen and her neighbors love their new street.
The Buell Avenue residents have been waiting for years to be able to park in their driveways, drive straight home without falling into pot holes and give guests directions that didn’t include the words “watch out.”
This construction season the city used $125,000 in local option sales tax to complete asphalt reconstruction for the street. The result is that residents finally have a street they can use.
“It’s the street that had a name, but you couldn’t drive on it,” Paulsen, who’s lived on Buell since 1998, said. “It’s nice to have an address people can actually drive to.”
Paulsen’s neighbor, Dawn Benson, has lived on Buell for 20 years.
“I used to zig-zag to get home,” Benson said.
Among the problems were enormous potholes that made it difficult to drive safely along the street.
“Your car could have fallen in they were so huge,” she said.
During the blizzard a couple years ago, Paulsen’s car in fact did fall prey to a pothole plaguing the street. As she was backing out of her driveway on her way to work, she found herself stuck in a large pothole. Paulsen was able to get out, but only after neighbors and her husband assisted.
City Engineer Jason Craft said the street is a vast improvement from the dirt path that was there before.
“It was what was before a variable width path filled with potholes, gravel, speed bumps and puddles. It’s now a well-designed road that has the ability to drain and it’s smooth,” Craft said.
Buell Avenue is among the number of residential streets the city worked on during this construction season. Altogether, spending is $1 million on resurfacing alone for residential streets this year.
“It couldn’t have worked out any better,” Craft said.
Streets like Windsor Drive, Woodlawn Avenue, Highview Drive and Woodland Drive all received resurfacing. Third and Fourth Streets are still on the roster for resurfacing this year. Craft anticipates this $400,000 project will be completed this month.
The sewer separation work on 17th and 18th avenues north is also progressing, Craft said. While none of the paving will be done by the end of the year, it will be completed first thing next spring, he said.
More than $1 million in state funds and general obligation bonds were spent to resurface Second Street, which Craft is very pleased with.
“Second Street looks beautiful. All the ADA ramp construction worked out wonderfully and that’s a smoother surface than it’s ever been,” Craft said.
Overall, Craft is hailing a successful construction season and looking forward to more, as the city prepares to spend a total of $15 million on streets over a period of six years.
“It was a good year and I think there’s more of the same coming,” Craft said.