Springfield aldermen debate fixing alleyways or streets

Springfield aldermen debate fixing alleyways or streets (WRSP)

There was a debate at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole over whether to fix Springfield alleys or fix streets and potholes.

City leaders could soon be spending $374,719 to fix alleyways but not everyone is okay with that decision.

Tuesday night, Ward 6 Alderman Kristin Dicenso said her ward has many alleys and supports the fixes.

“The majority of our wards have alleys,” she said.

But not everyone was in support.

"That's a big chunk of money,” said Ward 1 Alderman Chuck Redpath, “And we could fix a lot of streets with that."

Alderman Redpath said the city should consider fixing streets and potholes first. He said there aren’t any alleys in his ward, near the lake, as well as two other wards.

The Rosenblums said there are many potholes near their house, near 10th and Cantrell St.

"I have been driving a cab for two years,” said David Rosenblum. “And the potholes are crazy, and the idea of fixing the alleyways before the potholes is crazy.”

“That's ridiculous,” said his wife, Susie.

Springfield Public Works’ Construction Engineer, David Whitworth, said there are about 90 miles of alleys and about 650 miles of streets.

"Potholes are in full bloom as they are every spring,” he said.

But Whitworth said the alleys need attention too.

“For a lot of people in the older parts of the city that is the only access they have to their property,” he said.

Some residents said their alleys by their house haven’t been taken care of in more than a decade. Some said the alleys run straight into their home, rather than a driveway. Some alleys across Springfield have garbage and loose gravel and are in need of repair.

Dwayne Matchem lives in Harvard Park by an alleyway. The alley is between him and a church. Matchem said both he and the church would love to have an upgrade to the alley.

“It makes it safer,” Matchem said. “They say if you have a little house on the corner, it's kinda little dangerous so I’d like to see a little improvement."

Public works said they have a system in place where they spend millions to fix streets every year. They said the city just approved about $7 million last month to fix some streets.

If Springfield’s city council decides to approve fixing the alleys, some alleys will see new paving and concrete patching.

Tuesday night, Springfield’s Committee of the Whole passed an ordinance to spend the dollars on fixing alleys.

That is just a recommendation to city council who will have the final vote next Tuesday.

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