MEDINA — South Broadway Street residents and community members gathered for a special Council-of-the-Whole meeting Tuesday to discuss the future of the brick-lined street.
Council President John Coyne opened the meeting by explaining that the purpose of the meeting was not to debate whether or not to restore the brick street or pave it, but how the project will be funded.
“The only really question that remains is how do we pay for that road,” he said.
Coyne said to restore the brick roadway would cost an estimated $232,000 more than the projected $1.2 million it would cost to do basic paving of the roadway.
The funding options include the city covering the entire cost of the project, the homeowners paying for the entire cost of the bricks through a property assessment or a combination of the two.
In the event of a property assessment, Coyne said there were three different methods the city could use to determine what the cost to the homeowner would be.
City Engineer Patrick Patton previously said the average assessment for property owners determined by linear feet is $7, 760.
“Those are the three options we should be talking about, and those are the three options we need input from you, of your opinions on one of those three options.”
A 1983 city ordinance outlining that repairs to the street must be completed in brick has complicated the matter with homeowners.
City Law Director Gregory Huber said the ordinance has been problematic.
“In its language, it requires that a discussion occur amongst the property owners, and if 60 percent of the property owners on South Broadway do not want a brick street, they could then come to the City Council with a petition stating they do not want a brick street,” Huber said during the meeting.
Huber said it has the potential to pit property owners against each other.
South Broadway Street homeowner Elizabeth McComsey said the idea of asking property owners to pay an assessment to fund restoring the brick roadway is akin to asking business owners with a view of the Uptown Park gazebo to contribute to its maintenance and upkeep.
“That seems very similar in what we are talking about here. We are talking about preserving our road as a historic feature. It seems to me like the road is for everybody,” she said.
McComsey said homeowners banded together to save the brick street back in the early 1980s when it was under threaten of being paved over.
“They paid 98 percent of the total cost,” she said.
Within a year’s time, the repaired roadway was showing signs of failure, and has not been properly repaired or maintained since.
Resident Cheryl Zacharias, who attended the meeting with her father and sister, said her family has lived on South Broadway for 56 years.
Zacharias said her family has been disappointed with how the street has been neglected over the years after homeowners banded together to save the street decades ago.
“We have been very disappointed with the maintenance and feel a big assessment is very overwhelming and we would like to have the city take care of their responsibility,” Zacharias said.
Councilman At-Large Bill Lamb said taking all factors into consideration, he believes “the right thing to do is simply to repeal the (1983) ordinance, and to spend the extra money, and to put some city money into this restoration and to declare South Broadway Streets to be historic streets,” he said.
Mayor Dennis Hanwell said he found the idea that residents previously paid to have their brick street repaired, only to see damage set in after one year concerning.
“To me something should have been done at that time to either hold the contractor responsible to find out what the error was and to correct that,” Hanwell said.
Hanwell asked Council to give due consideration to replacing the brick at the city’s expense.
Coyne said that the issue would next move to the city’s streets and sidewalks commission before a recommendation is made to council, and that residents would be informed before any type of formal decision is made.