Sunday, May 31, 2020

City Council reviews plans for public works

November 21, 2018
The East Lansing City Hall on July 3, 2018.
The East Lansing City Hall on July 3, 2018. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

With funds from the income tax on the horizon, plans for addressing East Lansing’s aging infrastructure are taking shape.

A plan to repair roadways and the cost, was laid out in a special presentation of the Capital Improvement Plan, or CIP, and the State Revolving Fund, or SRF. 

CIP is essentially a long-term outline and budget on how to up-keep the city. Around $500,000 from the recently-passed income tax is estimated to go to roadwork.

A large part of the agenda is repaving several main roads, including Michigan Avenue. This will be disruptive for drivers and it will also temporarily disrupt the environment. 

“It’s a big project," Director of Public Works Scott House said. "We’re going to be tearing up Michigan Avenue, there’s going to be a bunch of trees pulled down. There’s no way around it but we’re going to replace them as well."

East Lansing’s Water Resource Recovery Facility (water treatment center) will also be getting an upgrade with money from SRF.  A trash digester is due to start construction in April 2019. The digester will turn solid waste at the facility into methane gas then used to power the plant. It is scheduled to finish construction in July 2020.

Installing the digester will be expensive at $38,828,772, but operational savings are projected at $500,000, on top of “Green Principal Forgiveness,” from the state in the amount of $1,938,000.

“It’s going to reduce electrical costs. It’s going to reduce sludge going to the landfill and it will give us more flexibility in the future,” House said. He also said the digester can act as an emergency generator if necessary.

“This is a lot of work and this is a really, really incredible step in a great direction,” Councilmember Aaron Stephens said.

A replacement pump station station at Woodingham is scheduled as well. The current station from 1962 was described as “functionally obsolete.” The new pump will operate at a larger capacity to manage the sewers in a northern portion of East Lansing and the Towar Gardens in Meridian Charter Township. 

Improvements will also be made with SRF to sewers on Harrison Road and Michigan Avenue.

The short and decisive council meeting was in stark contrast the last regular meeting Nov. 7, where a three hour debate lead ultimately failed to pass an ordinance for medical marijuana provision centers.

Correction: The previous regular meeting was Nov. 7, not Oct. 30.

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