So much rain, so many potholes, so much water over the dams. Those are the hot topics in the City of Ivanhoe as we transition from the extended cool temperatures and rain of winter to the warmth and flowers of spring.

The rains came along at close enough intervals that the city was only able to properly grade our dirt streets once during the entire winter. Rest assured the grader operator has been doing his best to catch up now that the once or twice weekly rains have ended.

Travelers on our improved streets were not immune to the ravages of the wet winter either. Potholes were patched, only to have additional potholes develop with the next rain. The contractor crew has been putting the new vibra-plate compacting machine to good use working on catching up on patching, now that the weather has improved. Councilman Priddy who serves as liaison for streets & roads is working within the street budget to devote $20,000 towards hot mix overlay for sections of streets experiencing the most pothole development. That work is expected to be done sometime in early/mid-summer.

Longer term improvements are being assessed by the Planning & Zoning Commission. Members of the Commission are currently surveying streets. The assessment/survey is expected to take several months. There are 46 miles of streets & roads in Ivanhoe. Just about half of the total street mileage has an all-weather travel surface, the other half has dirt/gravel surface. Most of the all-weather surfaced streets have far exceeded their life expectancy and the result shows up in the form of potholes. As the P & Z members and volunteers near the end of the assessment/survey there will likely be a workshop for the community to receive information from the survey and provide additional input. The P & Z will then formulate a recommendation to the Council for the Comprehensive Plan on city streets.

As a reference point the City has been approved for $275,000 Community Development Block Grant funds for street improvement to a heavily traveled street serving predominantly low to moderate income homes. That amount of money is expected to convert approximately 4500 feet of Durwood Dr. from a dirt road to an all-weather surfaced street. Although it is not likely that it will be awarded, the City has applied for another $275,000 grant to continue/finish the remainder of Durwood Dr. as an all-weather surfaced street. Well over half a million dollars to convert a mile long dirt road to an all-weather surfaced street. There are 23 miles of dirt roads in Ivanhoe-you can do the math.

The other topic is water over the dams. Just as the rains delayed street work, the same occurred for the re-caulking project on Charmaine Dam. There was a week of dry sunny weather that allowed the contractor to do the recaulking of Galahad Dam. Property owners and fishermen on Lake Galahad rejoiced when the gate valve was closed in late February and things returned to normal for that lake. There have been only two working days that provided the necessary ingredients for work on Charmaine Dam since the work was completed on Galahad Dam. Those ingredients are: Availability of contractor personnel, sufficient drying time after a rain event so the caulk will adhere, and temperatures above 50 degrees.

The contractor has informed our Supervisor of Dams that if the City insists the work be performed outside of those parameters, the work will get done-but the contractor will not guarantee the work or provide any warranty should repairs be needed. Considering the contractor has not yet billed or been paid on the negotiated contract amount for work already done, Council considers it in the best interest of the City to allow the contractor to perform the work when the ingredients/weather conditions are appropriate for the work.

Expectations are for the remaining work to take about two weeks. Meanwhile, the Supervisor of Dams is fine tuning the release of water from Lake Charmaine thru the gate valve, so Charmaine Lake will be as high as possible, but not cause a delay on the City’s side when the contractor resumes work. For Easter weekend, the lake is about 6 inches low, but normal boating activity is allowed. The lake will be dropped another 4 to 6 inches after the Easter weekend (which has a forecast of rain). With a contractor wanting to finish the job so he can get paid, three members of City Council, a family member of another Council member, the Supervisor of Dams and the City Secretary/Treasurer living by the lake, rest assured they join everyone else in wanting the project finished so the lake will be ready for full use sooner rather than later.

We wish all a very Happy Easter!

Your City Council & your City Secretary