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Council rejects petition to widen another Highland Homes Addition roadway

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• The Morris City Council on Tuesday unanimously rejected a petition that Highland Drive be restored to a 40-foot width while the Highland Homes Addition is under construction.

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The petition, signed by 23 residents, came on the heels of the council's recent decision to restore Sunnyslope Road to 40 feet because of additional traffic in and out of Key Row Apartments. Sunnyslope residents and Chief of Police Jim Beauregard said the 40-foot roadway would be safer given its location. City staff recommended a 36-foot roadway, citing studies that a more narrow roadway slows traffic.

The petitioners said heavy snows and a curve in the roadway would make it difficult to see traffic.

However, Hill said that proper maintenance and driving would mitigate those factors, and Highland Drive area does not carry as much traffic. Beauregard concurred, saying that the situation was not similar to that on Sunnyslope Road.

• The company AES completed an asbestos abatement study of the elementary school property and estimated it will cost $293,000 to remove asbestos from the building. The cost can be reduced by $47,000 if concrete floors aren't recycled. Hill said he has no plan ready for starting the removal process and will examine the study as part of the city's budgeting process.

• The Highland Homes project underground work was completed ahead of schedule and curb, gutter, storm sewer and driveway repairs are in progress. A first layer of bituminous will be installed soon, with a final layer scheduled for early spring 2010.

• The city police department is preparing a final candidate list for a full-time officer position. Interviews will be conducted this month and a hiring recommendation could be presented in August.

There is concern that hiring an officer might not fit with current budget alterations, and the city is awaiting word about a COPS grant, which would help the city pay for a full-time position for three years.

• Victor Youle is retiring from the city after about 12 years. A retirement party is set for July 23 at Pomme de Terre Park.

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