The Sycamore tree at the intersection of Colfax and Sheridan streets is officially saved.
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer asked for an update on the tree at Friday’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting.
City engineer Aaron Ott said, “As of yesterday, our engineers submitted the formal revised drawings to INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) and INDOT had a couple minor comments on those drawings, but we expect them to be approved maybe today, and that would be the official point where we can say ... we’re there. We have a design solution that is being accepted. It had just a couple minor issues, but it avoids the tree being removed at the corner of Colfax and Sheridan.”
Thallemer said he appreciated that.
The city was looking to have the tree removed as part of the Lincoln Neighborhood Sidewalk Project, funded by federal dollars through the Indiana Department of Transportation. Property owner Gita Kamdar didn’t learn of the plans until Oct. 16 because her now-ex-husband didn’t inform her of the sidewalk project, which was started over five years ago. Once she learned of the plans to remove the tree, she began to make an effort to save it, including a rally Oct. 28.
The Sycamore tree - at 1702 E. Sheridan St. - has been estimated to be at least 275 to 336 years old, based on mathematical equations. The most accurate way foresters determine the age of a tree is by counting the growth rings of a severed tree stump or by taking a core sample using an increment borer.
Ott also gave the board an update on the sidewalk project, which includes about 2.5 miles of new sidewalks.
“They were hoping to do some actual sidewalk construction on Sheridan this year. It’s looking like that window of opportunity might not allow that. They might not come in. They don’t want to risk exposing and causing some disturbance, and then winter hits and they’re not able to get it put back together,” he said.
Thallemer said that had nothing to do with the change in plans to the Sycamore tree, and Ott agreed. Ott said the new design around the tree might even be a better design than the previous one.
“I know that’s been difficult. I appreciate you and (City Planner) Justin (Taylor) and (Assistant City Planner) Jackson (Longenbaugh) and whoever else working through that. I very much appreciate it,” Thallemer stated. “I know that the city certainly understood the concerns of the community and took them to heart, and basically agreed with them, and we were able to come up with a solution.”
In other business, the board:
• Approved pay application 37 from Structurepoint for the Anchorage Road project for $17,209.15. The project is an 80/20 Indiana Department of Transportation-funded project, which means the city will be reimbursed 80% of the cost for each phase of the project.
Community Economic Development Director Jeremy Skinner said the pay application is for engineering.
“The intent is that this project will be bid out mid next year or so after the fiscal year changeover, so sometime in July we’ll bid this project out,” he said.
There may be some construction in 2024, with a lot of utility work that needs to be done along the road before construction begins, Skinner stated.
“Hopefully, this time next year we’ll see a lot of work start out there.”
Councilwoman Diane Quance said she was excited for the project to get going because it’s in her council district.
“And it’s desperately needed,” Skinner said. “If you’ve been up and down that road, it’s well traveled and will continue to be well traveled, and it’s one of the entrances into the Airport Industrial Park, so a lot of work ahead of us.”
• Change order 1 from R Yoder Construction Inc. for the Center Lake Recreational Trail construction. The change order is for an overall increase in cost of $5,382, for a new grand total contract of $980,252.
Ott said the design contract did not have near the quantity of temporary construction fencing to properly secure the area. He said the contract had less than 200 feet of temporary fencing in it and an additional 828 feet was needed to do the job.
The Sasso family donated $1 million toward the trail project.
• Pay application 2 from R Yoder Construction Inc. for $302,271.95 for the Center Lake Recreational Trail construction.
Ott said he believed all the concrete pours were to be finished as of Thursday.
“So the 10-foot concrete pathway from start to finish should be all poured and in place this week,” he said. “They already started some of the plantings and some of the grass restoration on the edges of the trail, and then the final steps will be the pump house. They got all the framing in for the pump house, but the decking material - we specified the same decking material that we used for the Buffalo Plaza for matching, so we want to stick with that, and unfortunately ... we have about another four weeks before that material will be delivered and they can install that.”
He said R Yoder will be pushing their mid-December completion date to get the pump house wrapped up, but everything else should be complete by next week if not on Friday.
• For four officers from the Warsaw Police Department - Scott Whitaker, Brad Kellar, Bryan Sherwin and Paul Heaton - to travel to Indianapolis Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 for the 2024 IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) mid-winter conference.
• The 2024 code hearing employment contract with Administrative Law Judge Thomas Earhart at $900 for each hearing session, as presented by Taylor.
• A memorandum of understanding between the city and Warsaw Community Schools for the purpose of jointly purchasing ice-melting materials, as presented by Street Department Assistant Superintendent Joe Vetor.
• The bids from Ceres Solutions Cooperative for on-road and off-road diesel fuel and 90 clear gasoline, as requested by Vetor on behalf of the Warsaw Public Works Department. The prices are $3.168 per gallon for on-road diesel; $3.321 per gallon for off-road diesel tank wagon delivery; and $3.263 per gallon for 90 clear gasoline tank wagon delivery.
The bids were opened Aug. 4 and the prices are for the 2024 calendar year, Vetor said.
• A contract with RejuvTec Inc. for $103,339.52 for reclamite preservative sealing. Vetor said it’s in the street department’s budget to pay for that.
“It’s basically a protective coat that helps preserve the new asphalt that we put down,” he said in response to a question from Quance about what it does. “It’s three to four years before you should have to crack seal that with this RejuvTec on it.”
Weather permitting, it should be applied yet this year or in early spring 2024.
RejuvTec is the only company in Indiana that offers it, Vetor stated.
• Pay application 6 for $73,477.11 to G & G Hauling 7 Excavating Inc. for work completed on the CR 200S sewer lift station, as requested by Wastewater Utility Superintendent Brian Davison.
A change order for $52,903.15 on the project also was approved. Davison said the change order was for expanding the truck turnaround area so trucks can turn around off the road and enter the highway safely.