Seven years after receiving a federal earmark for funding, the Greenfield Street Project officially started Thursday.
The project is to improve traffic flow by eliminating a turn off of Greenfield Street onto Market Street which leads to a potentially dangerous curve onto Perry Street. The project is to provide a direct connection from Greenfield Street to Perry Street with a new, 16-foot-wide single westbound lane through property owned by Heidelberg University, where the Aigler Alumni Building is located.
Tiffin City Administrator Deb Reamer said a substantial portion of the project is to be completed by Aug. 24, with all work to be finalized by Nov. 2.
PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO
Jack Allison of Helms and Sons Excavating shovels debris while Ryan Black runs the saw while working on Greenfield Street Thursday afternoon.
"I am so excited to see this finally moving forward ... after seven years," said Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, who gave his gratitude to the late U.S. Rep Paul Gillmor who earmarked the funds for the project in 2005.
"This was kind of Paul Gillmor's last hurrah, and we can't thank him enough for it."
Gillmor also secured funding for another project nearby on Sarah Street and improvements on Miami Street, which included the campus of Tiffin University, completed December 2009.
Gillmor's original earmark made $1.36 million available for the project, which was reduced to $1,239,425.
DGL Consulting Engineers LLC of Maumee was in charge of design for the project, and Helms and Sons Excavating of Findlay is the contractor. The original construction budget was $818,000, according to City Engineer Curtis Eagle, and the city accepted a bid of $470,528 from Helms and Sons April 30.
Montz said the project coming in at a little more than $400,000 under budget allows for the city to consider a second phase of the project. He expects to also have funding available after completion of the project on Sarah Street, for which $1.8 million has been set aside.
Eagle said improvements to Sarah Street are in the preliminary phase. Ideas include burying some utility lines in the area, improving foot and vehicle traffic and making the area more aesthetically appealing.
He added the next phase would have to be started from scratch, to explore limitations and options.
Reamer said one of her greatest concerns as she began to research the project was detours. While the construction crew was tasked with setting up an alternate route for area drivers, city heads took it upon themselves to set up a detour for National Machinery, also located on Greenfield.
Although most of the work will be done before classes start for many students at Heidelberg University, there is to be work throughout the fall. But Heidelberg President Robert Huntington said he could not be happier to see the project come to fruition, which he said is as much an improvement to aesthetics as it is for safety and commerce.
Huntington said from the standpoint of Heidelberg he is "just thrilled," because it will improve the entrance to the university and the traffic flow for people visiting campus, but he said he hopes others also see it as an improvement for all of Tiffin.
"I'm hoping the community at large feels good about it - they'll look at it as another improvement to Tiffin," he said.
Montz echoed Huntington.
"It's a very exciting time, not just for Heidelberg but for all of Tiffin," Montz said.