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City cashing in on stimulus plan

If you've been driving around certain portions of West Fargo lately, you've probably noticed various construction crews tearing up the concrete at numerous intersections.

The first reaction that might come to mind is 'what a perfect waste of good concrete when all appears to be fine.'

The reality is that even though some of those intersections are only a few years old, the activity is still really a good thing for the city and its residents.

How so?

As a point of clarification, the work needs to be completed in conjunction with the city of West Fargo being eligible as a recipient of $1.2 million in federal stimulus funding awarded to them earlier this year.

The city applied for the funding, and in doing so, had to stipulate certain road repair projects which in turn needed to comply with specific criteria laid out in the funding approval, one of them being bringing all intersections facing a road being repaired with stimulus dollars up to American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.

That process has included tearing out all of the intersections that were partially in compliance and adding elements to make them totally compliant, i.e. installing the yellow rubberized matting with the grids to better assist visually impaired residents out walking.

Also included in the overall projects outlined were a basic milling and overlay of specific city roadways deemed in need of repair. This process is currently underway or already completed in a number of areas, including 17th Street East, 17th Avenue East, some streets in Eagle Run as well as 4th Avenue East and 13th Avenue East, where work is presently going strong and is expected to be completed in another week.

Consequently, being a recipient of stimulus funding has helped the city realize projects that otherwise would not have been completed, at least not this year, and even better yet, at no expense to any city residents.

As for the payment process involved, city officials originally issued the contracts for the work and once the projects have been completed, the city has been submitting the bills to the North Dakota Department of Transportation who has been the follow through liaison on payments from the $1.2 million stimulus fund account.

Stimulus funding could also be a very good thing for another city entity if approved. West Fargo Fire Department officials are presently vying for a competitive grant of over $2 million dollars from the stimulus package, that if received would go a long way in helping pay for the proposed south side fire station.

Word on the grant is not expected to come until later this year.

Let's keep our fingers crossed.