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From the looks of it, Horace Street in Councilman Tyrone Riley’s district is far from the worst street in Toledo.
In fact, it’s a pretty smooth ride.
“It doesn’t need to be resurfaced,” said Joel Mazur, the deputy chief of staff who handles legislation for Mayor D. Michael Collins. “Why that’s on there I don’t know.”
Out of 12 streets identified by city council as needing to be repaired in an ordinance passed by council on Aug. 26, then vetoed by Mayor Collins on Wednesday, several don’t appear to fit the criteria or don’t match the description given in the legislation.
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A Blade review of the streets shows that Steadman Street, while it could use a repair, does not run from East Broadway to any railroad tracks. It actually goes from Second Street to Starr Avenue.
And part of the stretch of South Avenue, from the I-75 exit ramp to Sumner Street, was very recently paved. However, part of it is deeply pitted and would fit anybody’s definition of a road needing repaving.
Clifton Boulevard is an “unimproved street” that is maintained out of assessments, paid into by residents, and thus not necessary to be paid for by general funds.
East Broadway appeared to a layperson’s eyes to be largely in passable condition, although an intersection at Steadman had numerous rough patches.
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The errors in the legislation from Districts 1 and 3 were cited by Mayor Collins in his veto message in which he said identifying which streets need repaving is a job for professional engineers.
Councilman Mike Craig of East Toledo in District 3 called the errors “bookkeeping mistakes.”
“This is baloney. It can be amended,” Mr. Craig said. “That’s up for honest debate. What’s not up for honest debate was I got two-tenths of a mile and District 2 got 11 miles.”
Mr. Craig said he’s willing to work with the mayor but, “I want this done this year, and I want it done with this money.”
Mr. Riley said he meant for repaving for Forest Street, not Horace, and indeed Forest is pocked with cracks and holes. He said even city engineers have said the selection of streets for repaving is “subjective.”
“Forest is right around the [new Robinson School]. The school is a multimillion-dollar structure. The streets around that structure should reflect the area it resides in,” Mr. Riley said, acknowledging that Horace was recently paved.
The ordinance authorizes the administration to spend up to $4.7 million out of the Street Construction, Maintenance and Repair Fund, or SCM&R, to repair 12 specific streets in council Districts 1 and 3. It passed on Aug. 26 with 10 votes — one more than is needed to override the mayor’s veto if council members don’t change their votes.
In addition to that bill, council members are planning a sequel — an ordinance that takes another $1.9 million and spends it in Districts 4, 5, and 6. Only Council District 2 would get no additional funds under those two bills.
Residents of some of those streets named in the Craig-Riley ordinance said they would like to see repairs made.
Marcus Geer, 26, a medical student who rents a house on Algonquin Parkway in West Toledo, said it’s not possible to drive a straight line because of the potholes, both repaired and open.
“It’s like a slalom course to get around all these potholes,” Mr. Geer said.
Kim Frankenberg, 49, of Steadman in East Toledo said that even if the street made it on Mr. Craig’s list by accident, it still needs to be resurfaced.
“There’s a lot of traffic on it. The cars slow down when they drive on it,” Ms. Frankenberg said.
Jonathan Rudinger, 67, a resident of Algonquin, said new streets help maintain the value of the homes. He said he’s been struck by the typically high quality of residential streets in Chicago, where he and his wife, Anastasia Rudinger, once lived, compared to Toledo.
“We don’t remember the streets in Chicago being ripped up like ours are. What are they doing that we’re not?” Mr. Rudinger asked.
The administration was beginning on Thursday to contact councilmen and urge them not to override the veto — a difficult request given the political popularity of street repair. And their alternative may provide an answer to Mr. Rudinger’s question.
The administration wants to put some of the $7.3 million SCM&R fund into buying new pavement milling machines that would enable the city to make repairs quickly.
“We’re hoping they vote not to override once they have a chance to read the memo. If we have another winter like they’re predicting, they’re going to wish we had that mill and fill as soon as the winter is over to deal with road conditions,” said Lisa Ward, spokesman for Mayor Collins.
SCM&R is an account that has been gradually gaining money during the last 10 years.
According to Finance Director George Sarantou, the account ended the year 2005 with less than $1 million. It’s grown every year since to ending 2013 with $11 million carried over into 2014.