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Decatur City Commission approves change order for South Candler sidewalk repairs

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Decatur City Commission approves change order for South Candler sidewalk repairs

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: The Decatur City Commission met on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at City Hall to discuss South Candler Street sidewalk repairs, the Decatur BBQ and Bands Festival, and the bicentennial tree program. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission, at its Sept. 6 meeting, approved a second change order to the city’s contract with Magnum Paving for sidewalk repairs on South Candler Street.

In March, the board approved a change order to increase the contract by about $281,000, changing the contract amount from $1.3 million to about $1.6 million. The total project budget also increased to $1.75 million for additional work to the city’s annual local road paving and sidewalk project.

The additional work included adding curb ramps on Gordon Street at Third Avenue, and repairing the asphalt, and putting in a curb and gutter at Winn Way at Pinehurst Street to support the edge of the pavement.

The second change order, approved Sept. 6, adjusted the contract amount to about $1.78 million and the project budget rose to $1.8 million.

“The increase is necessary because of additional sidewalk repairs that we’re proposing, as well as to provide a safe walking surface throughout the South Candler Street corridor as well as the recent cost increases to concrete,” Assistant City Manager David Junger said.

The contractor has made sidewalk repairs on South Candler Street between East College Avenue and Davis.

“Based on what they’ve completed so far, it was determined that the initial quantity estimates, which tried to minimize the amount of sidewalk replacements that were necessary, they weren’t sufficient to cover the full extents of the necessary repairs,” Junger said.

The additional scope of work includes general sidewalk repairs on South Candler Street from East College Avenue to the city limits, which is about 2.5 miles of sidewalks. This work will also include repairing gaps in the sidewalk that were caused by water and sewer line repairs and replacement done by DeKalb County.

“We worked for a long time trying to get the utility that was responsible for the removal of the sidewalk to get the sidewalks put back. That has not happened to date,” Assistant City Manager David Junger said. “It would be our plan to proceed with getting all of the sidewalk issues repaired and then potentially seeking some reimbursement back from the utility for those.”

The city staff also reassessed the scope of work to include the replacement of additional sidewalk panels and driveway aprons to address slopes, settling, cracking, joint separations and other deficiencies, as well as make sure the transition between sidewalks and driveways are accessible.

“The additional work also required an increase in the contract time, as well as additional traffic control,” Junger said. “The proposed change order includes increased costs for concrete in both change orders and the additional quantities that will allow completion of this project in the South Candler Street corridor from East College Avenue to the city limits, which is approximately a mile.”

The sidewalks on both sides of the street will be repaired, so a total of about two miles of sidewalks will be worked on.

“I think from our community survey, we find that people value our sidewalks and I think we continue to make efforts to improve the pedestrian experience,” Mayor Patti Garrett said. “We want to get it done correctly and to service as many folks as we can using those sidewalks.”

— In other business, the city commission approved a temporary beer and wine license for the Decatur BBQ and Bands Festival. The event, formerly known as the Decatur BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, from noon to 10 p.m. at Harmony Park.

— The city commission additionally approved a budget of $25,000 and authorized an agreement with Trees Atlanta to create a bicentennial tree program.

Trees Atlanta will provide 100 trees to be planted throughout the city during the current planting season, Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said.

“We were pretty successful in our first front yard program two years ago, less successful last year, so in order to encourage participation this year we are recommending a waiver of the $25 application fee that would normally be charged, and also to allow each property owner to have up to two trees,” Saxon said.

The city would also allow the trees to be planted in a rear or side yard, where feasible, as well as front yards.

Trees Atlanta would provide the following for each property – 15 gallon shade tree, initial watering plus mulching, and a two-year tree replacement guarantee, Saxon said.

“At the time trees are requested, the applicant would need to be a Decatur resident and property owner and agree to water and not remove the trees without City Arborist approval,” Saxon wrote in a memo.

If the program is successful this year, city staff plan to recommend a similar program in 2023-2024 to achieve their goal of planting 200 shade trees in honor of the city’s bicentennial. The city plans to coordinate the effort with Legacy Decatur’s memorial tree program.

The city commission will meet again on Monday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m. at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, and via Zoom.

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