West Douglas residents not opposed to having city help with brick road

By Gary Scott on June 15, 2016 at 7:21am

Alderman Travis Richardson goes over a map of West Douglas with several residents.

The results of a second questionnaire focusing on how to address the last brick street in Jacksonville in desperate need of maintenance were shared last night.

Residents of West Douglas Avenue from came to the Jacksonville Municipal Building to talk with representatives of Hutchison Engineering, the firm that will conduct a feasibility study, and Jacksonville aldermen who are leading the charge on the project.

This is the first questionnaire since the feasibility study was approved by City Council last month. Responses came from thirty of seventy-nine people solicited.

According to the survey, 97 percent agree or strongly agree some level of repair is needed. About half believe West Douglas should be reconstructed using brick as the final surface regardless of cost and ride quality. Twenty-four percent were neutral, while another 24 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.

The majority of the respondents said the road should not be left in its current condition. Fifty-five percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with overlaying the road with asphalt; 24 percent agreed or strongly agreed, and 21 percent were neutral.

Here are the results regarding finances:

On the question of whether all landowners within the Jacksonville Historic District should participate in the cost of reconstruction with the original brick surface through a specialized assessment based on West Douglas’ brick road contributing to the district: 76 percent said “no”, 17 percent said “yes”.

On the question of whether homeowners on West Douglas or those with driveway access should help with a reconstructed brick road through a specialized assessment, even more residents that were surveyed balked at the idea.

As for whether the city should absorb the original brick reconstruction through use of funds available, even if it defers maintenance to other city streets, 56 percent agreed or strongly agreed, while just 27 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.

There is the potential for grant money to pay for the project.

Alderman Travis Richardson thinks this second survey presents a clearer picture for the city as far as what the West Douglas residents want.

“They obviously want it changed. Basically, the street at this point needs repair; there’s an overwhelming majority of the residents of the street that do want some type of repair,” says Richardson.

“And, the survey that we went out and went door-to-door with last summer, the majority of the respondents wanted to maintain the brick; however, this questionnaire basically added additional questions to focus on the cost of brick project and so that’s where we’re at now, and I think this gives us a lot of information that we needed to try to move forward to see what the next step is,” he continues.

Richardson believes there will be at least one more public meeting in this process.