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COUNCILMAN’S CORNER

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MITCH HARPERThe City Council has approved the contract for a project long-awaited by many Waynedale residents. The project is the upgrade of the water main along Bluffton Road from Lower Huntington Road to Maplewood Road, then east on Maplewood to Wohama. Water main will be replaced on Dale Drive as well.

The project will largely be done by horizontal directional drill and will minimize disruption for residents this summer.

This is Phase I. Phase II will be along Bluffton Road from Lower Huntington Road north to Liberty Drive and will include all of Rehm Drive and parts of Fairoak.

In Phase I there will about 7,000 feet of new 6 inch water main installed. This will include 12 fire hydrants and 13 valves. 128 users will be reconnected to the new water.

This project will have several benefits. One is the near elimination of water main breaks and disruption of service. There have been approximately 102 main breaks in the subject area in the last 15 years or so. There will also be a savings to City Utilities in preventing the loss of treated water both from main breaks and more minor leaks that may have remained undetected.

In the overall system, there is a fairly significant loss of water that is measured by the amount of water that leaves the filtration plant and that which is metered at users. The cost of treating water which ends up wasted is borne by all ratepayers.

The health of our water distribution system has been somewhat neglected over a long period of time. This is one of the steps in getting it back toward a proper maintenance level.

The big benefit that will be visible to Waynedale residents on completion of the project will be the installation of a long-wanted sidewalk along the east side of Bluffton Road. The sidewalk will help connect residents to the grocery store, the post office, the pharmacy, the bakery and other amenities in the heart of Waynedale.

The City Council is working to ensure funding so that the ash tree removal efforts of the Parks Department can go forward. While the Council included it in the 2012 budget the Administration has not yet identified the funds that will be provided. This is a safety issue of prime importance to residents.

The nature of way in which the emerald ash borer causes the death of the ash trees leaves the trees brittle and the limbs subject to breaking off. In other tree deaths, the tree's vascular system is still able to draw some moisture through the tree. Not so, with the damage caused in the ash tree dryoff. The water transportation through the tree is blocked.

In addressing Council, I remarked that in Waynedale, one residential neighborhood had many ash trees removed under the 2011 contract while their fellow citizens in close-by neighborhood are awaiting assistance. This is not a tolerable situation for residents who, as warm weather is now established, must worry of property damage to their vehicles or worse, personal injury to residents and children.

I am working also to ensure that when ash trees are removed the replacement with new street trees can be accelerated. Many Waynedale residents can be quite proud that the neighborhood association presidents have been working with me to get movement on these issues.

Those residents who are seeking an additional street tree (not ones to replace ash) in front of their properties should know that the Street Tree Request Form is now available for 2012 on the Fort Wayne Parks Department website. There is provision for those of limited income to receive a greater discount off the fee the Park Department assesses for the tree. Any tree through the Street Tree program is at a discount off a commercial tree and, of course, the Parks Department takes care of the transportation and planting in the park strip or extended right of way by your home.

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Mitch Harper
About This Author
He represents the 4th District on Fort Wayne's Common Council. The 4th District includes Waynedale, Time Corners and Aboite. He was first elected in 2007 and was reelected in 2011. Mitch writes articles periodically for the newspaper.
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