City officials are making the main entrance to Sandusky a priority.
The city commission unanimously approved a $2.3 million reconstruction of the Hayes Avenue underpass Monday night, which will improve the city’s main corridor and bring local construction jobs to the area this summer.
Ex-officio mayor Craig Stahl said the project was a “no-brainer.”
“This is a good day,” Stahl said. “If you looked at the condition of that underpass, it’s absolutely horrible. It’s the gateway to Sandusky for many people, and it’s just in deplorable, awful condition. ... It’s first and foremost a safety issue.”
The Erie County Metropolitan Planning Organization will contribute $1.45 million to the project, about 64 percent of the cost. The city will use sewer and water funds to pay for the rest.
City commissioner Bob Warner estimated the project will provide 15 jobs, maybe more, to local employees.
Warner said Schirmer Construction of North Olmsted -- which won the job -- met with local labor halls last week, and labor leaders told Warner the company seemed willing to use local employees.
Some of the local labor halls represent the five surrounding counties or the whole state, Warner said, but city manager Matt Kline can draft a letter requesting Schirmer only use Sandusky workers.
Warner asked Kline and the commissioners to draft that letter Monday night, and Kline agreed.
“I expect we’ll get quite a few jobs,” Warner said Monday afternoon. “Wonderful, good summer jobs. I’m guessing at least 10 or 15 on and off. They might not be all on at one time, but on and off throughout the summer.”
Schirmer Construction outbid Anderzack-Pitzen Construction of Metamora by less than $13,000.
According to the approved ordinance, the project will include the replacement of the sidewalks and handrails and the repair and painting of the walls on both sides of the street. It will also include repairs to the concrete stairs on three sides; moving the sewer main underground; repair of the sewer pump station; new lighting; and the painting of the bridge fascia.
Because of the fencing surrounding the sewer main, residents can’t use one side of the street, Stahl said.
City commissioner Dave Waddington said the repairs have been needed for years.
“I’ve been pushing this one for awhile,” he said. “It’s a safety issue. ... I wouldn’t walk up and down those stairs.”
He said in addition to safety, the city needs to use an improved Hayes Avenue to show off Sandusky.
“It’s the gateway to the city,” he said. “We need to improve that corridor. I think it’s really important we get that fixed.”