An issue that plagues the city could be on its way for big help. The Omaha City Council decides the city will split the cost to have the unimproved road of 95th Circle resurfaced in District 66.
Councilmembers say they understand that agreeing to pay for new asphalt could mean a flood of calls with others asking for help. The mayor’s office says they’re working on a policy.
Andy Winstrom’s lived on 95th Circle for 14 years. He says the unimproved road makes for a dusty, and muddy mess since the asphalt was ground up more than a year ago. 95th Circle connects to West Center Road.
“For a neighborhood like this, I’m not aware of very many other places in Omaha like this and to have a road that wasn’t compensatory to the neighborhood and honestly the amount of property taxes paid for by the people here I just don’t get it,” Winstrom explained.
The City Council unanimously approved paying for half of the resurfacing costs, about $70,000, and homeowners will pay the other half.
“In metropolitan cities of our size around the country you don’t expect to find country roads right?” Councilman Chris Jerram questioned.
Public Works says there is a substantial amount of unimproved roads like these. They say these issues go back to the 1960’s and 1970’s when people that lived on these streets didn’t want to pay for concrete roads and opted for asphalt creating headaches decades later.
The mayor’s office says they’re creating a policy to address these problems, and secure funding.
“Shouldn’t there be a policy in place before we start issuing dollars and secondly if we’re going to do a 50/50 split is that fair for less affluent neighborhoods?” said City Council President Ben Gray.
“We recognize the need for a policy we recognize the need to evaluate that and provide good customer service by crafting this and creating this knowing that there’s situations out there that’s what we’re doing in terms of the 50/50,” Cassie Paben, the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff responded.
This is the second special road funding approved by the Omaha City Council recently; the other was on 113th Street near Pacific St. They do expect to start hearing from more neighborhoods looking for help.
The Mayor’s Office hopes to have a policy for resurfacing unimproved roads in early 2016.