Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Congress to Fund 50 South

On February 13, Congress passed the bill. On March 2, funds were apportioned. On March 24, the American Fork City Council approved the federal aid agreement. Soon it will be official: President Obama's American Recovery and Re-Investment Act will fund completion of American Fork's 50 South.

Those who voted in American Fork's November ballot proposition remember the City's unsuccessful attempt to fund this project through a general obligation bond. (Those who did not can read more at my October write-up.)

Now this shovel-ready project has become the perfect candidate for funds meant to "modernize roads, bridges, transit and waterways," fifty percent of which must be awarded within 120 days of March 2.

A few hurdles remain, however, before the City can claim the $2,799,000 it has applied for. By May 1, the City must have entered into right-of-way agreements with the adjacent property owners. As of this writing, fourteen parcels remain. By June 30, the project must have gone out to bid. And the City must still provide the $71,000 match of the original grant agreement (see here). Fortunately, this is a manageable sum even for the current fiscal year's budget.

Assuming the project clears these hurdles, it will see construction in the fall of 2009 and will easily meet its ultimate completion deadline of September 30, 2012. Along the way, the City will post the required reports on job creation and economic benefit so that President Obama can make good on his stated goals of accountability and transparency.

Completed, 50 South in American Fork will show the same cross-section it takes on when it crosses the city boundary and becomes Pleasant Grove's 1100 North. This means three lanes including a turn-lane, and also curb, gutter, and sidewalks.

Yes, sidewalks!

This is welcome news to us locals who use the road, be we pedestrians or drivers. Now, whether the federal taxpayer will benefit equally . . . this remains to be seen.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thought for the Day

“A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them.”
Horace Mann
US educator, the first great American advocate of public education

"A city without a library is like a house without books. No civil society can be maintained without good libraries. "
Heidi Rodeback
Book junkie
1968 -

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hyacinths to Feed the Soul

There may be snow on the ground today, but the finance committee has already approved funding for the City's spring flowers.

How can a good, conservative finance committee approve funding for a frill such as this in a tight budget year?

Our reasoning:
  • The $2172 approved represents only 38 percent of the $5754 spent last year on flowers.
  • The cut-back means no annuals will be planted this year at the library, the boat harbor, Veterans' Hall, the pocket park, or the 500 East/Main Street island.
  • Instead, the winter pansies will be nursed well into the warm season, and greater use will be made of perennials.

I can't say what was on the minds of the others, but as I voted to approve, I couldn't help remembering lines my mother taught me:

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And but two loaves to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.