City To Reseal Washington Street Cracks, New Asphalt Not Planned

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

As the Doniphan City Council met Nov. 7, Alderman Riley March brought up the topic of asphalt projects, asking in particular, whether new asphalt is planned for Washington Street.

Utilities Director Jarret Ficke stated although the city does plan to put more sealant on the deeper grooves, repaving of Washington Street is not planned at this time.

The problem with moving forward is that the street is concrete.

“It’s going to be really hard to pave that. It would do no good because new asphalt would just separate again, everywhere there is a crack,” explained Ficke.

Preparatory to putting on new asphalt, the concrete would first have to be milled.

“They have tried it and the concrete is so hard it just eats up the equipment,” says Ficke.

No one wants to attempt it anymore.

March said his concern is that the sealant has worn down already.

Ficke said weather permitting, the crews will try to fre-fill the crevices as needed. The deepest fissure is on the right turn next to Reed Oil, he said.

It was noted that there continues to be excellent feedback regarding the work done on Ballpark Road, in spite of complaints early on of the inconvenience of having it shut down.

Washington Street won’t get a resurfacing anytime soon; however, the city will get new sidewalks.

Mayor Dennis Cox presented an award letter approving the Missouri Department of Transportation TAP project.

“We will receive $500,000 for new sidewalks for Walnut Street up to Highway 160, and for Highway Street,” said Cox. The city will pay a match of $238,000.

Cox said the work will probably start some time in July.

Guest Leanne Eaton addressed the council regarding a question about the Farmer’s Market.

“What would it take to get the Farmer’s Market moved to where the old Fred’s parking lot used to be?” Eaton wanted to know.

Mayor Dennis Cox stated, “We don’t actually control the Farmer’s Market, but we don’t have a problem with anyone using that area to set up.”

That being said, Mayor Cox explained that the city does not charge for using the space; and therefore, allows it to be used on a first come, first serve basis.

“That [city involvement]would require marking off spaces and reserving those spots every Saturday, which is what the city does three times a year for its city-wide yard sales.

“It’s a big chore for the city employees. I personally wouldn’t want to have them do that every weekend,” said Cox.

Currently Farmer’s Market vendors use the lot adjacent to Country Pickins’.

Eaton said, “I have been willing to pay, in order to have a certain spot. But, I have been bumped out of that spot three times now. Where I have had to set up is really rough.”

She said she would prefer using the Fred’s area because it has better parking lot.

“I think the whole market would benefit by moving to that lot,” said Eaton.

She said it had been her understanding that the Fred’s former lot is off limits to those who might want to use it for setting up during the Farmer’s Market.

On the contrary, Cox said, “The city would have no objection to the Farmer’s Market using the lot.

“We don’t care who uses it. Anyone can set up there at any time. We only request that if someone wants to set up in that area, they call and let us [the city hall personnel] know.”

Alderman Leslie Netherland asked, “Once they start the Farmer’s Market, they have it reserved every Saturday, is that not correct? I would hate for those people to come on a Saturday morning and someone else would be there.”

Alderman Riley March also had concerns that more than one group might want to use the city lot at the same time.

“It’s just a courtesy to call, so that we know when someone is using the lot,” said Cox.

To avoid a problem, though, he suggested the council might want to set some sort of guidelines as to how big a group can be.

“This is a community event, and we certainly want to try to help by doing what we can,” stated March.

He suggested that organizers of the farmer’s market could make use of the map the city uses for its yard sale and perhaps they might assign spots.

Eaton also asked whether the city could get a handicap-accessible port-a-potty brought in for use by the Farmer’s Market.

Mayor Cox stated he has checked on availability of a handicapped accessible port-a-potty in the past and couldn’t find one.

“We do provide port-a-potties during our city-wide events.”

However, he said providing porta-potties is also not a responsibility the city would want to commit to on a weekly basis.

It was suggested that maybe the Farmer’s Market could use part of the funds it collects for better waste accommodations.

Eaton stated she is not aware of what the fees are used for or where that money goes. She pays $50 for the season, and vendors who set up on a weekly basis pay $10 each week.

City Attorney Christopher Miller stated the money goes into a DNAP (Doniphan Neighborhood Assistance Program) account.

“DNAP is just a conduit for the funds,” said Miller.

He explained, “The Farmer’s Market has always operated as a committee of all the vendors, and is part of a larger organization. I think part of the money collected goes into advertising.”

He said the organization also has bylaws.

Some of the vendors who come to downtown to sell goods are not part of the Farmer’s Market. They are re-sellers who set up closer to the courthouse.

“The reason for that is, a requirement for being part of the Farmer’s Market group is you have to be one who grows the product you are selling,” explained Miller.

He says finding a willing, consistent manager has been a problem in the past and that may still be an issue.

“They have had to scurry around at the beginning of the season and decide on someone to be in charge,” said Miller.

After approval of reports and other items of regular business, the board approved paying employee holiday bonuses in the Nov. 30 paychecks.

The employee Christmas dinner was set for noon, Friday, Dec. 15.

The city clerk was advised of several employee health insurance issues that need to be brought to the attention of the city’s provider.

The next meeting of the council will take place at 6 p.m., Dec. 5.

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