WINONA LAKE — Improvements may soon be on the horizon for the Stonehenge area in Winona Lake. Yesterday evening, March 16, Winona Lake Town Council met to discuss the possibility of continuing a road improvement project started years ago in the subdivision for Prestwick, Porthcawl and Muirfield roads.
According to Town Engineer Larry Long, of Larry R. Long and Associates, Warsaw, the project comes four years after initial reconstruction of Prestwick Drive took place, which totaled approximately $1.3 million to complete. The subdivision, which was built in 1988, spans a total of 31 lots, 22 of which are currently developed.
Long explained the division originally fell into the county’s territory prior to the annexation into Winona Lake. As such, the streets were built to county standards. Stonehenge streets were created using concrete and lacked curbs and gutters. Over the years, the streets in the area have worn down and, due to lack of drainage, water now creates large puddles along the cracking streets.
Sealing problems have become more evident over the years as well, and though the town has tried to patch the roads while gathering the funds necessary to continue roadwork, Long noted pouring asphalt over the concrete would be both expensive as well as wasteful as the problems would continue.
Town Manager Craig Allebach noted the initial reconstruction of the Pickwick area was able to be completed due to the utilization of funds set aside for a roundabout that became unfeasible to build at the time. Though those funds have been utilized, Allebach noted due to the wheel tax, approximately $108,000 has been set back each year since 2014, estimating roughly $324,000 once the 2016 tax money becomes available. In addition, Allebach noted funding has become available for local street projects by the state that could help bolster the project’s funding.
Long detailed a three-phase plan that would allow for the town to pay for and complete construction on the Muirfield/Porthcawl area incrementally. Construction would include the removal of concrete and the construction of an asphalt road. In addition, storm drainage would be added the remainder of roads in the area would be widened by 4 feet on both sides to allow for the construction of a curb. The project would span approximately 0.48 miles and would include both Muirfield and Porthcawl roads.
Cost of the project would be approximately $403,800 total, broken down to $208,100 for Muirfield road; $110,700 for the section of Porthcawl just off of South CR 275E; and $85,000 for the remainder of Porthcawl, included the cul-de-sac at the end of the road.
The council approved Long’s request to begin seeking bids on the project immediately. Long noted he plans to set a bid deadline that would allow for updates to be given to the council by the next board meeting on April 22. In addition, Long noted he plans to find one contractor to complete all phases of the plan, however he would leave the timeframe and process open to allow for a variety of proposals. Long stated should the proposals be low enough the town could consider moving forward, he hopes to have construction completed by the end of the year.
In other business, though an announcement was expected to be made following an executive session yesterday, no official word was given on the hiring of a new Winona Lake Police Department police chief. Last month, Paul Schmitt, current chief of police, announced his retirement after 30 years of service to the Warsaw and Winona Lake areas. Schmitt noted however he does still intend to be involved in the community through part-time grounds work for the parks department.
In addition, Kent Adams, Winona Lake clerk-treasurer, announced the department will be splitting a part-time position currently in place to a 14-hour clerk position. Adams recommended the hiring of Karen Cripe, Winona Lake. Cripe is a graduate of Indiana University, where she received a business degree. She retired from RR Donnelly and has an extensive background Adams believes will adequately fill the position. The council approved the hiring of Cripe, setting a pay rate of $15 per hour.