Vowing to keep a commitment made to the residents of the city’s “Whidden Hospital Hill” area, the common council Monday night voted to authorize the mayor to float a $1.5-million bond to reinstate a significant water main replacement program – and companion street reconstruction improvements – in the hilly neighborhood.
Several months ago, the DeMaria administration sought city council approval to borrow $5.6-million for a massive water main project in the city, but the aldermen cut $1.5-million from the borrowing measure.
That ended up causing the Whidden neighborhood to be axed from the project.
Councilor Jason Marcus this week said it wasn’t fair or right that the residents of that area were first told that they were going to get the infrastructure improvements and then – because of the aldermanic cut – the city had to renege on that promise.
In the aftermath of the board of aldermen’s action, the council – which had solidly backed the full $5.6-million bond issue proposal – urged the mayor to consider filing legislation to replenish the $1.5-million that was eliminated by the aldermen.
Mayoral chief of staff Melissa Murphy told the councilors Monday night that the new bond request would provide the necessary funds to replace aged water mains and to make long overdue street repairs in the Whidden neighbor-hood on the following streets: Fremont, Lawrence, Lincoln, Harvard, Rich, Cedar and Bennett, and also Hancock Terrace and Magnolia Court.
Without the extra bonding, Murphy warned the council, streets in the Whidden area would have to wait “about five years” before any project work of consequence could be undertaken on their streets.
Faced with that dire prospect, the council voted 14-1 to approve the new $1.5-million bond request.
The sole dissenter was Councilor Lorrie Bruno, who offered no public explanation for her position.
The ultimate fate of the extra bonding measure now rests with the alder-men. They are expected to take up the issue Tuesday night (there is no meeting on Monday night because it is a legal holiday).