Upgrades to Grand Junction alleys cause some ire on board

Alley improvements have become a luxury the city can ill afford this year, according to two Grand Junction City Councilmen who voted against the city footing more than half the bill to re-pave an alley in central Grand Junction.

The alley between 12th and 11th streets and North and Belford avenues will be re-paved for $80,000. The city’s alley improvement program will provide $47,908 for the project after a 5-2 vote by council members Monday night to approve the construction.

Even though the city reduced its budget for alley improvements from $400,000 to $100,000 this year, Councilman Gregg Palmer said the money could be used elsewhere.

“While I like the alley program, given we’ve asked employees for a 3 percent pay cut, we’re asking people to retire early, we’ve deferred projects ... I’d really like to see us use that $48,000 for something more proactive,” Palmer said.

Councilman Bill Pitt echoed Palmer’s assertion.

“I’d like to see us hang on to those dollars for another time,” he said.

Mayor Bruce Hill, who voted for the alley improvement, said the alley is one that has a lot of traffic. Hill suggested many in the community would benefit from the project.

“We can’t just stop the improvements to this city” because of budget constraints, Hill said.

Councilwoman Teresa Coons added fixing the alley after the asphalt surface entirely fell apart would likely cost more than $80,000.

“I think this is money well spent in terms of prevention,” she said.

Councilman Tom Kenyon voted for the measure, but said it’s probably the last alley improvement he’ll approve until the city’s financial picture improves.

The council also approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation on Monday. The agreement states the city and Mesa County will evenly split a bill for $158,351 for an inspection by CDOT conducted in reference to construction of an interchange at 29 Road and Interstate 70-Business Loop.

Council members also approved an amendment to a contract with Jacobs Carter Burgess engineering services company for the interchange.


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