MEDINA — City Council’s finance committee voted 6-1 in favor of the city footing the entire bill to replace the aging bricks that make up South Broadway Street.
Ward 2 Councilman Dennie Simpson was the only member to vote against the measure at Monday’s meeting. The committee is comprised of the entire Council.
“I just want to say on my vote of no, it is nothing against anybody here, and I want it to remain brick,” Simpson said immediately after casting his vote. “Please know in my heart of hearts I do believe in historical value and I do believe that it should be a brick road.”
Simpson said that he received three or four phone calls expressing concern about tax dollars from all residents being used to redo one street.
Council President John Coyne said during the meeting that the cost to redo the brick street is estimated to be about $1.4 million, or roughly $232,000 more than the project would cost if the street would be paved over with asphalt.
The vote means homeowners will be off the hook regarding any financial responsibility, be it partially or full, for replacing the street in brick.
Simpson suggested residents living on South Broadway be assessed a nominal fee of between $50 and $100 as a way to show the community that they were invested in the project as well as the city.
A 1983 city ordinance outlining that repairs to the street must be completed in brick has complicated the matter with homeowners.
Coyne said South Broadway Street homeowners were assessed 98 percent of the total cost to repair the street during the 1980s, something that was not done properly at that time.
According to the ordinance, 60 percent of street residents must vote in favor of using a material other than bricks for future repairs.
Councilman At-Large Bill Lamb said during the meeting that after homeowners were assessed for repairs during the 1980s, the street was repaired, but not entirely reconstructed.
“The road was built around 1917; if you look at 1917 until 2019, that road has never been redone,” Lamb said. “There is no other street in the city that has sat, not rebuilt for that many years, which is 100 years.”
Lamb said that taking a look at the issue with a historical lens, South Broadway is one of only two brick streets left in Medina, the other being North Elmwood Avenue.
Historic preservation has been at the heart and soul of the city of Medina for years, Lamb said.
“I think we owe it to the history of the road, we owe it to what we have done here in Medina to create the economy that we have, and I think we owe it to the people that live there because the street was never properly redone in the first place,” Lamb said.
Lamb said he opposes any form of assessment on South Broadway Street residents to pay or help pay for the street to be completely redone in brick.
Plans to redo the 1,060-foot-long street have been a topic of discussion since February, when South Broadway residents received a notice outlining the potential that they could face assessment if the street was redone in brick.
Mayor Dennis Hanwell asked Finance Committee to consider repealing the 1980s ordinance that effectively pits neighbor against neighbor regarding repairs to the street.
“This ordinance deals just with the two brick roads, and binds us, binds you, binds the administration and pits neighbor against neighbor and I don’t want to see that happen again,” Hanwell said during the meeting.
Committee members voted unanimously to repeal the 1983 ordinance during the meeting.
Hanwell previously asked Council do give due consideration to the city paying the entire cost of the project.
City Engineer Patrick Patton previously said the average assessment for property owners determined by linear feet is $7, 760.
Coyne said that while he understands the idea of asking residents on the street to be assessed even a nominal fee and feels for the residents of the rest of the city, he also understands that even a small assessment could be difficult for some people.
“For the two brick roads that we have in the city left, and that is far less than the 90 miles of roads that we have in the city, we have to probably do the right thing, and it seems that the right thing is we are going to pay for it,” Coyne said. “We are going to put it down and we are going to have it be there for a long time.”
Patton said the city is working on the plan to redo South Broadway Street, and will approach the city in about three or four weeks time to request authorization to advertise the project for bid.