Council member objects to paving Bellevue alleys

Two members of Bellevue Council are asking to make a last minute revision to the borough’s paving program, with one of them maintaining that the plan sets a bad precedent that would require the borough to pave alleys in the future.

Both Mark Helbling and Kathy Coder asked at the pre-council meeting Tuesday whether money slated to pave certain streets could be switched to other projects before the contract is awarded at next Tuesday’s regular meeting. Helbling wanted to put off paving West Avenue in order to put the money towards paving the parking lot at Memorial Park.

Bids were solicited for a base paving project and several alternatives. Engineer John Rusnak explained that the West Avenue work was part of the base bid and could not be changed at this time, although the borough might be able to negotiate a change order with the contractor once the contract is awarded.

Council also planned to award contracts for two alternate projects, repaving the access driveway at memorial Park and addressing drainage problems and then repaving Gay Lane.

Coder said that she would like the money from the Gay Lane work to go to the Memorial Park parking lot as well.

Coder maintained that the street was really an alley, and paving it would set a bad precedent for the borough.

“Everybody would expect us to do something with their alley,” she said.

Council member Jane Braunlich noted that, in the first place, Gay Lane was not an alley, but rather the only access road to several residences. And even if it was an alley, she said, the precedent was set long ago, because the borough has paved any number of alleys.

Braunlich also said that the borough is in the process of revising an application for a state grant for the parking lot at Memorial that could cover much of the cost of the needed paving.

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