The City of Newburgh will lay down a multi–year plan to pave the city’s ailing streets. The long-term blueprint will focus on the city’s most deteriorated roads and attempt to coordinate the paving with mandated work on infrastructure.
“We’ll stretch it into 15 years,” city Department of Public Works Superintendent George Garrison said at Newburgh City Hall last Thursday.
Streets scheduled to be paved this year are in the city’s east end. They include Grand Street, Liberty Street, Forsythe Place and Montgomery Street. The entire length of these streets will be paved, except Grand Street, which will be paved from South Street to Marine Drive.
The work will be paid for through funding from the New York State Department of Transportation and the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS). Approximately $700,000 in CHIPS funding is available to pay for street paving this year, Garrison said. “The way the CHIPS money works is we do the work, we pay upfront for it… then we get reimbursed for it,” he explained.
For this reason, in the years following the city’s fiscal crisis in 2009 and 2010, streets went unpaved, he said. Due to budgetary constraints, the same thing happened last year, Garrison said. “We didn’t have the money to put up for it,” the DPW superintendent said. “Therefore, we didn’t do any paving. It wasn’t overlooked.”
Paving the city will be expensive, he said, estimating a cost of approximately $10 million over the next five years. “Most (local) municipalities budget about $1 million for paving,” Garrison said, per year. “They don’t have sewer under the roads, they don’t have water under the roads,” he remarked.
There may be opportunities to fund the paving project through additional sources such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, said city Councilman Jonathan Jacobson. “At least we know every year something is going to get done,” said Jacobson, who has championed a plan to fix city streets since 2015.
Careful planning will be required to coordinate the paving with state-mandated projects, including the separation of the city’s storm and sewer lines, City Manager Michael Ciaravino said. The city is also in the process of using a camera truck to map the condition of city sewer lines. “We are required to camera all of our lines as part of a mandate over the next four years,” Ciaravino said.
The city is also in the middle of making its crosswalks Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint. Add to this, the city must deal with “unannounced, unscheduled infrastructure that blows up,” the Ciaravino said.
“We can fix it right and do it once,” Garrison said Tuesday. “If we want to make it look pretty, we can pave it now, then dig it up and do it again later,” an option that would cost more money in the long-term, he said. The city DPW will provide more detailed information on the plan sometime in June or July, Garrison said.
Streets scheduled to be paved this year have already had infrastructure work completed below, he said. Streets in the Washington Heights neighborhood are scheduled to be paved in 2019.
By SHANTAL RILEY