By MIKE WILLIAMS
A Pulaski resident addressed Pulaski Town Council on Tuesday with concerns over the town’s two big local issues of late – the change downtown from traffic lights to stop signs and about the West Main Street water line project.
Allen Palmore expressed to council his concern over the intersection of Washington Avenue and Third Street, saying motorists on Third must drive into the crosswalk to see if there is any oncoming traffic on Washington.
“That’s dangerous and I don’t think you’re supposed to be blocking a crosswalk when stopped, but you cannot see if anyone is coming without pulling out that far,” Palmore said.
“I’ve already been nearly hit there one time and I’m assuming that others have probably been nearly hit there too,” he told council, adding that “the stop signs are not going to work there.”
On the West Main Street project, Palmore said he had read in The Patriot that the project was to be completed by April 5.
“It does not look like it is going to be anywhere close to that,” he told council. He continued that he had learned from a television news report that the project would last from 150 to 180 days.
He questioned why the change, and also earlier comments about work on the project sometimes being conducted seven days a week.
“That definitely hasn’t happened,” Palmore said, noting some days when he’s downtown there is nothing going on.
“As a person who runs a business, I’m sitting there thinking ‘what are those businesses [on Main Street] dealing with on a day-to-day basis?’ I saw where they could get a $3,000 grant, which I thought was a slap in the face. How much does it cost to run a business? That’s probably not covering the rent for one month,” Palmore stated.
He also said a streetlight outside his house is not working and has been covered by tape. He wondered if the light is being eliminated.
Town Manager Darlene Burcham advised town residents that, any time there is a street light out, they should make note of the pole number and call that number in to Appalachian Power.
“That is the quickest way to get that issue resolved,” Burcham said.
In regard to Palmore’s concerns about the West Main project, she said the contractor does have until April 5.
“My understanding is they think they are going to make that date,” Burcham said.
She added the contractor is at the point in which they are installing vaults for different businesses and property owners who have asked for additional water meters, and that requires that vaults be installed.
She said work has progressed to the point there are only a couple businesses that aren’t yet connected to the new water line.
She noted that the contractor will face a penalty if they do not complete the project by the April 5 date.
“I can assure you that the waterline will be complete if not by April 5th then as soon as possible,” Burcham said.
“The contractor is well aware of the deadline. Unfortunately, when you sign a contract with any contractor, they have a specific number of days to accomplish the work. We have no control on when in that period of time they are going to work. Obviously, this contractor and others have other work, and they are moving their crews around in order to accomplish multiple contracts. When we first signed the contract, we offered and agreed that they could work up to seven days a week. They didn’t necessarily agree that they were going to do that, but we did say we would make provision for that, which is outside our normal contract with people.
“There is nobody who is more concerned than myself about getting that project accomplished because we know it is creating challenges not only for the people who live and work there, but the rest of the community that uses that area,” Burcham continued.
About the vaults and additional meters, Burcham said a large vault is going in to serve the 53, 67 and 69 West Main Street addresses where the owners are planning multiple retail businesses and anywhere from six to eight apartments on the second floor.
Another resident, Tim Bishof, questioned why the water line project was granted so much time.
“Was there lower time frame bids that were submitted,” he asked.
“No,” responded Vice Mayor Brooks Dawson, who conducted the meeting in place of Mayor Shannon Collins.
A third resident, William Kidd, said he believes it is a “big mistake” to remove “basically every stoplight in town.”
“It makes it feel like you just got to stop, go – stop, go – stop, go. It’s very jarring and I feel like there’s not sufficient visibility at all the intersections to see what’s coming really good and confidently to pull out at them without a light. He advised town officials to further consult with VDOT to get more opinions on that.
Finally, Gary Cox addressed council on garbage pickup issues between Fourth Street NW and Eighth Street NW bordering on Randolph Avenue.
Cox said council had not done its job in serving the residents of those houses in regard to garbage pickup.
He told of one woman and her son who have to “wrestle” their 96 gallon GFL garbage can down 20 concrete steps to place it where GFL had instructed.
He asked council to visit the area and consider a solution to such problems.