Harvard puts grant money toward road

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 11:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 11:47 p.m. CDT

HARVARD – The promise of a $150,000 grant has helped Harvard repair a broken down road on the north end of town.

With help from state Sen Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, the city secured the grant from the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to grind and resurface Northfield Avenue between Route 14 and Eighth Street.

The council decided to waive the bid process and contract Peter Baker & Son, who is in town working on Route 14 and other road repairs, to complete the Northfield job. City Administrator Dave Nelson estimated that hiring a contractor who was already in the area saved the city between $20,000 and $25,000 and called the decision “an opportunity you can’t pass.”

But the city had to front the money to do so, and will wait for reimbursement from the state. The City Council on Tuesday night voted to move $150,000 from the general fund to cover the cost.

Harvard has had issues with the state being late on payments in the past, but Nelson said the city council ultimately decided the discount was worth it.

“Any interest we burn up on carrying the money is not going to add up to the difference in the construction cost savings,” he said.

So far, the city has paid $142,000 toward the project. The road has gone through grinding and resurfacing but still needs to be striped.

The council also voted Tuesday night to present Althoff a key to the city for her help with securing this and a previous grant. A few years ago, she helped Harvard get funds to resurface Diggins Street.

Mayor Jay Nolan said that neither of those projects would have been touched without the help of state funds.

“We just couldn’t do it,” he said. “There’s only so much in motor-fuel tax.”

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