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PENDLETON – Pendleton officials are asking the town council to reallocate about $1 million left over from the 2018 fire station bond to cover stormwater, repaving of a city-owned parking lot, school crossings and sidewalks.

“If they decide to do it, that should address the majority of the storm damage,” said Director of Public Works Jeff Barger, referring to an EF-2 tornado that hit the town on Memorial Day.

Barger and Rachel Christenson, the town’s assistant planning director, said they didn’t have any specific dollar figures in mind for any of the projects, especially the sidewalks. However, they plan to develop a budget and return next month with figures.

The sidewalks would be funded with whatever money is left over after the other three projects are complete, Barger said.

The tornado magnified the town’s need for a new stormwater system, he said. He said many people probably don’t realize that many of the trees lost in the storm absorbed much of the rainwater previously dropped on the area.

Christenson said the repaving of a parking lot owned by the town is necessary so the town can practice what it preaches. She said the town doesn’t allow businesses to have gravel parking lots, so it needs to follow its own rules.

The town has worked closely with South Madison Community Schools in the development of safe crosswalks for students walking to Pendleton Elementary School, Christenson said. The way crosswalks worked changed when the school parking lot was repaved, leading to the partnership with the school district, she said.

“A lot of the crosswalks didn’t make sense anymore,” she said. “Those new crosswalks are used really well, and the principals really like what we did there.”

However, Christenson said, those crosswalks could be made even safer with the installation of speed tables. Those are like speed bumps but wider.

Speed tables would allow for better maintenance and cause less damage to snowplows, she added.

“It does slow traffic down,” she said.

Christenson said she believes the school district also likely would be willing to partner again and share in the cost of the project.

“We love to have kids walking and biking to school,” she said.

City employees went into the town to complete a sidewalk inventory and evaluate their conditions, Barger said while showing a map that indicated the areas that require repairs. A sidewalk repair plan likely would entail city employees doing the demolition followed by a contractor constructing new foot pavement, allowing the town to save money, he said.

“We need to know a monetary amount you can put toward sidewalks, and we can spend it. We could use the whole bond on it, though I know that’s not feasible,” he said.

“We had some ideas about things we wanted to use that for, but I think the storm changed that,” said Town Council President Jessica Smith.

Council member Robert Jones agreed the stormwater improvements are a priority.

“It’s a project we could get rolling,” he said. “These are all projects that have a great value to them, a great use of that bond.”

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.

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