The brick paver sidewalks flanking Clear Lake’s Main Street will be the subject of a study. Monday night the City Council approved a $5,600 preliminary engineering services contract with Veenstra & Kimm, of Mason City, to look at making improvements to sidewalks on Main to address tripping hazards.
According to City Administrator Scott Flory, brick paver sidewalks were installed between 1994 and 1996. Through the years the pavers have heaved and fallen with the freeze and thaw, causing some persons to trip and fall. Flory noted the majority of the city’s pavers were installed on a sand base and are tied together with sand. As technology and practices have evolved, brick pavers are now typically laid on a more stable bed to reduce shifts in elevation. In two recent projects, near the Surf Ballroom and at the Sea Wall, the city has placed the brick pavers on top of a four-inch Portland cement concrete base and then locked them together with sand in order to eliminate settling.
Flory said that the condition of Main Avenue sidewalks were identified as the number one priority for the City following completion of a sidewalk comprehensive plan last year. Some areas of the sidewalk are disintegrating and ADA compliance is an issue in other spots. He noted the city and its insurance liability carrier have had to process a number of claims as the result of pedestrian trips and falls on the brick paver sidewalks.
The Council, on a 5-0 vote, directed Jason Petersburg from Veenstra & Kimm, to move ahead with the sidewalk study. The process will include a “neighborhood meeting” with property owners along Main to discuss scheduling and other concerns.
The Chamber of Commerce has also asked to be involved in meetings, as it is the organization which has sold and placed personalized brick pavers along Main Avenue. The Chamber has cataloged brick placement and will work to ensure those bricks are returned to the new sidewalk.
City leaders also advised V&K to incorporate tree planting, trash receptacles and bicycle racks into its sidewalk reconstruction ideas.
Flory said the project will involve a city-property owner cost share, with benefitted property owners being assessed for at least some of the work.
“We need to take our time on this and talk to the various merchants,” said Mayor Nelson Crabb. “We have a unique street business culture here and the bricks need to be safe— a flatter brick with firmer foundation underneath. We have to do it right.”
Councilman Gary Hugi also suggested the City consider a more simple pattern for the bricks.