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Paths to come with roadwork

The George Wallace Drive extension will include a multi-use pedestrian and bike trail once grant funding can be secured.

Troy City Council members on Tuesday authorized CDG Engineering representatives to apply for up to $400,000 in federal funding for the project.

Tim Ramsden, engineer, told council members his group was developing the plans and would submit the grant request this week.

“Right now we’re planning a minimum 10-foot wide path, towards the back of the right of way,” he said. “We’re proposing asphalt – concrete would be cost prohibitive – and wooden boardwalks over the wetlands.”

The paths would follow the new 1.5 mile George Wallace Drive extension that will connect U.S. 231 with Enzor Road.

“I feel confident we’ll turn in a fundable project,” Ramsden told the council members. “That said, you have one open (TAP project) now, so I’m not sure about your chances for funding this year. We will not know about funding until late summer or early fall.”

Ramsden said the path will be incorporated into the construction of the new roadway. “We’ll be able to do the dirtwork and clear the path during the road construction,” he said. “That way, when you do get funding you can come back, clear the grass, put down asphalt and build the boardwalks to complete the paths.”

Ramsden said the grant, if secured, would require a city match of at least $100,000. “We’re trying to finalize our cost estimates for the project now,” he said.

In other business, the council also approved a resolution setting parameters for the sale of $15.8 million in capital improvement bonds.

Rush Rice, of Rice Advisory group, is working with the city to refinancing the 2005 bonds and secure financings for additional capital improvement projects, including the estimated $9.4 million for the construction of the George Wallace Drive and Franklin Drive extensions.

“This resolution sets very wide parameters under which the city can go into the market so that next time we come back we will have an ordinance that set specifics on the financing,” Rice said.

While the parameters allow for the city to finance up to $20 million at not more than 5 percent interest for a term of up to 30 years, Rice said the city actually seeks to finance about $15 million at not more than 3 percent for a term of 20 years. The financing will address all the projects on the city’s current capital improvement plan, refinance the 2005 series bonds and refinance two long-term warrants. “And we’ll do all of that while keeping the city’s general obligation debt service below $2.5 million a year without going over 20 years,” Rice said. “And with that you’ll still have $13 million in general obligation borrowing capacity left.”

Council members also held the first reading of an ordinance to rezone some 300 acres of land along Enzor Road and the area surrounding the new connector roads. Council members will vote on the recommended zoning changes at the May 12 meeting.