Mike Chaney of Willow Springs, an employee with Maggi Construction Co. of Rolla, works on Hawthorn Avenue on a segment of the Village Trail.  (File photo)

The City of Houston, citing mounting frustration with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s regulations related to two segments of proposed walking trail construction, is considering dropping its participation and looking at alternatives.

A city committee is slated to meet Monday to discuss alternatives in a process that City Administrator Larry Sutton said has extended over five years. If the city axes its participation, it must return about $42,000 in engineering fees and other expenses.

Bids were opened last fall for two additional stretches of the Village Trail in Houston.

The City of Houston earlier won funding through a program administered by MoDOT

The affected segments include:

Phase I – includes an area from West Highway 17, along U.S. 63 and includes sections of First Street and Grand Avenue. It also includes attractive signage.

Phase II – includes property from Grand Avenue to Emmett Kelly Park and a north leg that runs from Brushy Creek Trail to near the Texas County Justice Center.

Another leg that surrounds the Houston Memorial Airport was recently finished using federal stimulus dollars. That project was completed by Maggi Construction Co. of Rolla. The city was prepared to issue a notice to proceed to that firm to begin the other two phases before another delay occurred. Sutton said the continued foot-dragging is time consuming and costing the city money.

The meeting next week was called Monday by the council to develop a strategy: Whether it is to continue to try to meet MoDOT’s specifications or develop its own plan using local monies. For its part, MoDOT says it is only following requirements attached to the federal monies it is administering.

In other matters, members:

-Authorized six months of utility debt – $7,490 – be referred to a collection agency.

-Heard that a pre-bid conference was Monday for a new heating and cooling system for Houston City Hall and the Houston Fire Department. The city won grant monies for the project.

-Learned that the city is making progress toward an effort to add a new beacon and hangars at the Houston Memorial Airport. Some right-of-way issues and survey work must still be completed, Sutton said.

-Heard that several letters were sent to property owners ordering them to mow tall grass.

-Learned that progress continues on new utilities in the proposed Lilly Avenue area that runs from Holder Drive to West Highway 17. The city is expected to seek bids for the road work soon.

-Were told that major concrete pours at the city’s new wastewater treatment plant could be completed by the end of June. The city continues to work toward obtaining estimates for other sewer work across the community.



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