Cookeville City Council will explore the possibility of adding a third phase to the East Spring Street sidewalk project.
City Manager James Mills said the original project was submitted for grant in 2014 and received approval in 2015, when the city’s grant match would be some $196,000. Mills said as of today that match has been projected to increase to $1.3 million.
He said that splitting it into two phases reduces the city’s required match to a projected maximum of $850,000. Mills said a third phase would put costs in the neighborhood of some $300,000. Mills said there is no guarantee the city would be approved for a third grant.
“If it doesn’t work out the way we hope it works out to do the entire project,” Mills said. “We could be on the hook for up to 850k. Now that’s still less than we could build it for, but that’s still a whole lot more than what we ever thought this grant project would involve into.”
He said to walk away completely from the project would cost some $300,000 due to incurred expenses over the years. He said that should the city choose to move forward with just city funds, it would cost about $1 million.
Mills said the deadline for the second phase grant is October 1st. He said that the city council will have the choice to approve a generic resolution committing to a 95-5 match for a two-phase project at their meeting Thursday, as they try to get more information about the third.
“By approving this phase two grant, should we find out that a third grant is available, the likelihood is that it would be next year,” Economic Development Coordinator Melinda Keifer said. “Then we would change the scope of this phase two grant to reflect the middle section, and then apply next year for the last section. Now if that doesn’t happen, is you’re approving phase two in its entirety.”
Should the city continue in a two-phase system, phase one work will start with a section from Old Kentucky Road to Raider Drive and Avery Trace Middle School. The second phase of work would be from Raider Drive to Denton Avenue.
Mills said that both the pandemic and unforeseen costs have led to the price hike.
“There’s been a lot of additional costs that have been added as we’ve gone on,” Mills said. “There’s a retaining wall that’s now required that they estimated, what Greg (Brown, Public Works Director) is $350,000 that wasn’t in the original? So that’s one of the items. And of course, you wait seven years, and the price of everything’s gone up.”