City Still Plans Water Main Work for Hospital Neighborhood

Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s office is pushing forward with a plan to replace and upgrade water mains on 10 city streets, which were turned down in a capital improvements project request by the Common Council and Board of Aldermen earlier this autumn.

According to Chief of Staff Melissa Murphy, the work is now being proposed as part of a separate project that would be funded through a bond against the city’s water and sewer enterprise account, so that it would have no impact on the city tax rate or on the water and sewer bills for the coming fiscal year.

Eight of the city streets in the project surround the Whidden Hospital neighborhood, with the other two being streets that are currently in line to be repaved through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project, and the water main work has to take place before the street repairs could be completed.

“On most of the streets, the MWRA is recommending six to eight-inch water mains for those streets and we currently have one-inch mains servicing them,” Murphy explained. ‘The goal of doing this is to improve the service to those streets that need it most.”

The work being proposed was originally part of a $5.672 million capital improvements project that was trimmed by $1.5 million by the Board of Aldermen last month. The cost of the new project is roughly the same as the $1.5 million that was cut from the previous bond issuance.

According to Murphy, the Common Council had voted in favor of the original capital improvements request and only later voted in favor of the Aldermen’s reduced appropriation, to allow the other to work to begin.

The streets that would be impacted by the second bond issuance include Bennett and Cedar streets, which are the streets currently in line to be repaired though the CDBG project, as well as Fremont Avenue, Hancock Terrace, Harvard St., Lawrence St., Lincoln St., Rich St., Magnolia St. and Rock Valley Road.

Murphy said the plan is that all of the water main work “be done at once.”

In keeping with its earlier vote to support the project, the Common Council voted 14-1 in favor of the project at Monday night’s meeting, with only councilor Lori Bruno voting against the project.

This project is likely to be heavily discussed during next week’s Board of Aldermen meeting as well.

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