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Project to revitalize Bishop’s commercial corridor

April 5, 2012

The street surface at Warren and Elm streets shows the need for rehabilitation which the Warren Street Improvements project will provide. The City welcomes citizen input on plans for renovations to the street, sidewalks, curbs, ramps, lighting, landscaping and so on. Photo by Marilyn Blake Philip

Phase one of the Warren Street Improvements project – conceived to functionally and aesthetically rejuvenate and expand Bishop’s commercial district – is under way and City of Bishop Public Works Department is actively soliciting public input.
The project will benefit not only Warren Street but also the business community and the greater community, generating “a fair amount of vitality,” said Director of Public Works David Grah. Furthermore, “as truck volumes are anticipated to increase, Main (Street) will be more congested and having an option such as Warren Street will become more and more important.”
Grah and the city are encouraging the public to provide specific and early input.
“Now is the time for people to be heard, to get involved, to have maximum impact” at the planning stage of the project, before “we’re locked in” to the final plans and actual renovations and construction begin, he said.
City Administrator Keith Caldwell states in his March 12 memo to the City Council, since Warren Street lacks “a coherent and aesthetic theme,” the public can weigh in on questions such as: Should the entire area have a single aesthetic theme? If so, what sort of theme? Might a variety of themes, differing from block to block, be more attractive?
To encourage and give a forum for committed public feedback, the city is hoping to organize a public scoping meeting consisting of “a focus group of individuals willing to get involved in shaping the project,” states a March 29 Public Works news release. It goes on to explain that “the focus group is expected to work throughout the life of the work on the project.” The first public meeting is tentatively scheduled for around May 1. For more information, contact City of Bishop Public Works at (760) 873-5863.
In his memo to the City Council, Caldwell called Warren Street Improvements a “formidable project,” one that is meant to address a number of areas: fixing deteriorated pavement, poor drainage, curbs, gutters and sidewalks; satisfying Americans with Disability Act issues; reconstructing and extending storm drains; street trees and irrigation; and providing architectural street lighting and water sewer improvements.
According to Grah, the latter improvements are expected to be funded by city water and sewer capital projects funds.
The three phases of Warren Street
Improvements, which are environmental, design and construction, are scheduled over three budget-years, Caldwell explained. He noted that that California Transportation Commmission, Inyo Local Transportation System, State Transportation Improvement Program and City Water and Sewer Funds will fund the improvement project.
Phase one of Warren Street Improvements will be carried out by Triad/Holmes Associates of Bishop for no more than $95,000 – per a consultant contract the City Council approved with the local firm at its March 12 meeting.
Phase one covers the environmental aspects of the project and if authorized by April 1, is expected to be completed no later than Dec. 12 of this year, according to the official work order.
Work order tasks for Triad/Holmes Associates include: completing an Environmental Impact Study and preparing the Environmental Document; determining, through preliminary engineering, any potential issues such as grading and drainage conflicts, with adjacent property owners; preparing public information update press releases and mailings to property owners; preparing invoices and reimbursement documents; presenting findings to private property owners and City staff; holding public scoping meetings to gather public input; and preparing public exhibit maps.
According to Matt Schober, Triad/Holmes Associates project engineer, the above-mentioned public exhibit maps will be labeled “aerial photos (that) flesh out the project so people can instantly get a feel for the scope of the project,” the project boundaries and the proposed improvements. The maps are expected to be available for public perusal by the end of April at City Hall in the Public Works Department, online at www.ca-bishop.us, and at Triad/Holmes Associates’ offices at 873 N. Main St., Ste. 150, Bishop.
Schober also said that his two-man survey crew is in the midst of completing a topographical and boundary survey of the project area, gathering the detailed information needed to produce an environmental report. This report is vital to the entire project since it is required in order to get environmental clearance from the State of California.
Schober doesn’t anticipate any problems environmentally because, Warren Street Improvement is “mostly a rehabilitation project (at this point) with minimal environment impact. Ninety percent of the work is replacing existing roads, sidewalks and ramps.” Schober also agreed that the project is “a good step in revitalizing the commercial corridor.
When asked if there might be any jobs generated by Warren Street Improvements, Schober said that some work for local contractors could be expected and that the project will definitely require the services of an architectural historian “to identify historical properties and evaluate effects of the project on them.”
Warren Street Improvements is definitely hiring because Triad/Holmes Associates, a civil engineering and surveyor firm, was the only local bidder in a pool of eight competing California and Nevada consulting firms, according to Grah. Triad/Holmes was selected for submitting the lowest, responsible bid.
According to Grah’s Feb. 29 memo to Caldwell, the California Transportation Commission, which ”allocates funds one phase at a time,” released $144,000 for the environmental phase in Fiscal Year 2011-12. The $144,000 design phase is slated for funding during Fiscal Year 2012-13. Finally, the $2.14 million construction phase, budgeted for 2013-14, brings the project total cost to $2.43 million. Approximately $500,000 of that total will go to consultant costs.
Some of the businesses on the half-mile stretch between South and Elm Streets are: Sierra Thrift Mall, J. C. Penney, Genesis Mini-Market, Nik-n-Willie’s, Holmes Health Haven, Aerohead Cycles, Bishop Auto Body, Sierra Styles, Enterprise, Wash Tub, Inyo County Free Library, Inyo Mono Body Shop, Automobile Club of Southern California, Bishop Heating and Air Conditioning, Mr. K Automotive Service, Fruteria Dos Hermanos and Bishop Village Motel.
The public will be kept abreast of Warren Street Improvements project developments, so the city news release asks that the public “stay tuned” for updates via individual mailers, local media, the City of Bishop website at www.ca-bishop.us and the City of Bishop’s Facebook page.

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