The Tuscaloosa City Council has agreed to move forward with more than $12 million in construction and infrastructure projects, using proceeds from the city’s reserve funds or dollars leftover from already completed projects.
The council’s finance committee voted Tuesday to accept the projects as presented with two minor amendments. The changes reduced the cost from $500,000 to $200,000 for engineering work needed for the replacement of an HVAC system for the Tuscaloosa Police Department and added $150,000 to increase network security for City Hall.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox presented his annual recommendation for reserve fund proceeds on May 18. This year, to further the work, city staff members cobbled together an additional $2.38 million in undesignated dollars, contingencies and estimated gasoline tax proceeds, among other sources, to fund additional projects.
The move comes weeks after the council agreed to fund $4.14 million in work for the Brookhaven drainage improvement project, the contract for which was approved last week by the City Council, and the improvements to Lurleen Wallace Boulevard that are being funded in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Transportation.
At issue was the remaining $8 million or so in projects that council members, led by Councilman Matt Calderone, were looking at to determine whether they were needed now or could be delayed until later funding cycles.
Calderone highlighted a number of projects that he thought the finance committee may want to delay, but after discussing the list on Tuesday it was clear the council was open to moving forward with them as presented.
“I think a lot of people are more comfortable than I anticipated,” Calderone said.
On May 29, the City Council approved:
• Lurleen Wallace Boulevard: $2.49 million
• Brookhaven drainage: $1.65 million
Next week, the City Council is expected to approve:
• Paving: $1 million
• Tuscaloosa Police Department HVAC replacement (phase I): $200,000
• Highlands Phase IV (Reconstruction of roadway, curb-and-gutter and drive way approaches in the Highlands between University Boulevard and 10th Street East; resurfacing of Central Highlands; replacement of water and sewer lines): $750,000
• Gaineswood waterline improvements along Rice Mine Road between Alabama Highway 297 and New Watermelon Road: $500,000
• University Boulevard Phase III (a joint project with ALDOT to add decorative signals between University and Helen Keller boulevards, construct a shared use path along the south side of University Boulevard, add sidewalks along the west side of Helen Keller Boulevard, add decorative pedestrian and roadway lighting and upgrade water and sewer infrastructure): $475,000
• Rice Mine Road Phase III (adding lanes, sidewalks and curb-and-gutter between Ol’ Colony Road and Waterfall Parkway): $450,000
• 26th Avenue East (adding turn lanes and better access to Jackson II apartments, a multi-family housing project by the Tuscaloosa Housing Authority): $405,000
• Wastewater treatment plant repairs: $400,000
• Albright Road bridge replacement (replace both bridges on Albright Road adjacent to the Springbrook neighborhood): $350,000
• Greensboro Avenue Drainage (improve infrastructure to eliminate roadway flooding between Ninth Court and Cribbs Mill Creek): $300,000
• Colonial Drive water system upgrades between Bryant and Judy Bonner drives: $250,000
• Fosters Ferry Road stormwater, water and sewer upgrades between Joe Mallisham Parkway and 29th Street: $240,000
• Airport improvement grant (annual 5 percent match of federal grant): $200,000
• Engineering services for Channing Park sewer system upgrade: $150,000
• Network security for the city’s IT department: $150,000
• Saferoom construction (conversion of 3,956 square feet of Tuscaloosa Department of Transportation facility into a 352-person saferoom): $125,000
• City Hall compliance with Americans with Disability Act requirements: $120,000
• Lighting upgrades to city facilities: $80,000
• Decorative light poles at the intersection of University and McFarland boulevards, which is being upgraded by ALDOT: $80,000
• Roof replacement at TPD’s radio shop: $75,000
• Rice Mine Road lighting (improvements between Hodge Circle and Crown Pointe): $50,000
• Downtown lighting (conversion of downtown street lights to LED-based lights): $50,000
• Security camera upgrades at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater and Tuscaloosa River Market: $50,000
• Street light upgrades along 20th and 23rd avenues and Sixth, Seventh and Eighth streets: $75,000
• Entertainment district waste bins (adding garbage cans along University Boulevard between downtown Tuscaloosa and the UA Strip): $10,000