NORTH STREET, located off from Chipman Street in the northwest section of Owosso, is one of several streets currently being slated for resurfacing. North Street has the distinction of falling directly between the city of Owosso and Owosso Charter Township, though with the planned construction work, only city of Owosso property owners would be footing their portion of the special assessments, with the city stepping in with extra monies from the general fund, to see the improvements take place.
Pastor Nathan Struble from the Owosso Free Methodist Church, voiced concerns regarding the special assessment during the meeting.
The city of Owosso has been working diligently to resurface or restructure many streets within Owosso city limits in an effort to having stronger infrastructure.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
Owosso City Council once again held public hearings regarding street work special assessments during the Monday, Dec. 3 meeting. These hearings represent just one step in the process for the council to adopt street/road repair work – allowing property owners the opportunity to voice their opinions or ask questions.
The discussion on assessments included proposed resurfacing work on Allendale Avenue (from Gould Street to the east city limits) and also work on North Street (from Chipman Street to the west city limits).
As stated in a previous article, the special assessment process includes five steps. The Allendale Avenue/North Street public hearings were step three of this process. The council did move forward on both of these assessments during the Monday meeting, which means the city will now receive bids. During step four, estimated assessment amounts may be adjusted to reflect the bids received and also a second public hearing will be established to allow property owners to address the council once again.
The portion of North Street beginning with Chipman Street and continuing west to the city limits has drawn some concern from adjoining property owners – particularly since this street which is used by around 600 vehicles per day, also marks the division between the city to the south and Owosso Charter Township to the north. In a similar situation in 2017 over Chestnut Street, the city had requested the township to share in the cost with no response offered from the township. It should be noted that regarding special assessments in these situations, Owosso property owners are only responsible for their correct portion of the assessment. Individual assessments are not increased at the expense of the property owner. The extra sum of the assessment then comes from Owosso’s general fund – allowing Owosso Charter Township property owners to utilize streets/roads that are being funded by the city of Owosso.
Owosso Mayor Chris Eveleth shared that he wished the township would step up and share in the cost. Council member Janae Fear, who voted against the assessment, questioned that perhaps in the future, the city should contact outside townships earlier in the process to allow them more time to acquiesce. Council member Nick Pidek was the only other council member to vote against the North Street assessment. Pidek was curious about possibly delaying the North Street resurfacing, and city manager Nathan Henne did comment that it was possible to delay. Council member Lori Bailey pointed out that it has been her experience that a delay only causes assessments to go up as construction becomes more expensive.
Nathan Struble, pastor of the Owosso Free Methodist Church on the corner of Chipman and North streets, was present during the Monday meeting. Struble reiterated his concerns on the assessment, which were directed both toward safety and expenditures. North Street is narrow and straight, and attracts a number of people who speed, despite the fact it is a residential location – a potential safety issue because of the large amount of walkers and bikers. Struble was hesitant to see the road made smoother, leading to even more drivers tempted to speed.
Struble also discussed how the Owosso Free Methodist Church “serves the community” in numerous ways, and the assessment could prove to be financially difficult for church members.
In moving forward, the estimated cost for the North Street resurfacing will be $238,802.34. The city is hopeful that the road will last for approximately 15 years. Also, this particular project is not part of the original five-year plan that the city has been working on in other areas. The North Street project includes a “Crush and Shape” program surrounding the recent culvert improvements for Corlett Creek. Gravel shoulders will be added to each side of the road, and because the new road will be a bit higher, it will be necessary to blend the road to the existing driveways.
As of the time this article went to press, Owosso Charter Township had not yet responded to phone calls made Wednesday, Dec. 5 to explain the reasoning behind not responding to the city of Owosso. It should also be noted that a similar situation occured in recent years with the resurfacing of Gould Street with Caledonia Township.