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McCall will rebuild four downtown streets

On this stretch of a downtown McCall street the sidewalk ends, a chunk of pavement is missing and the street has different layers of pavement. Photo by Teya Vitu.

On this stretch of a downtown McCall street the sidewalk ends, a chunk of pavement is missing and the street has different layers of pavement. Photo by Teya Vitu.

Every spring, the freeze and thaw cycle in McCall cracks the downtown streets, sending city crews rushing to patch up the pavements.

The cycle repeats year after year on a base pavement that likely dates back 50 or more years, said Nathan Stewart, public works director at the city of McCall.

The four-block square of First, Second, Park and Lenora streets also has an assortment of broken sidewalks, no sidewalk, no curbs, wheelchair ramps that don’t meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and places where the street level has dropped below the curb.

“There has been no significant investment in the infrastructure since it was originally built,” Stewart said. “(Until the past year), there was a part where a boulder was sticking out in the street.”

Nathan Stewart

Nathan Stewart

McCall will tap $1.3 million in local option tax funding to rebuild the streets and build sidewalks around the block of First, Second, Park and Lenora. McCall is one of 13 small resort cities that are the only Idaho cities allowed to ask voters to approve a local option tax.

The local option tax started in January 2016 at an additional 1 percent sales tax and a 3 percent boost in the tourism tax, a second local option tax that McCall imposes.

The streets now have 2 inches of asphalt atop a 2- or 3-inch base made of materials not necessarily conducive to street construction, Stewart said. Some stretches have no base and there is no sub-base. The original pavement was just applied to the existing dirt road, he said.

The new streets will meet modern street construction standards.

“Everybody’s getting on board to beautify their stores,” said Donna Bourne, manager of McPaws Thrift Store on Lenora Street.  “It’s nice for the city to step up and get it done. It’s definitely a good improvement. It makes it easier for people.”

Nathan Stewart shows how portions of a downtown McCall street have dropped below the curb. Note the power pole and stop sign on the street surface. Photo by Teya Vitu.

Nathan Stewart shows how portions of a downtown McCall street have dropped below the curb. Note the power pole and stop sign on the street surface. Photo by Teya Vitu.

Second Street will be transformed into a festive street with trees, light poles and 20-foot-wide sidewalks on each side that may be concrete or pavers. That will be decided later, Stewart said.

The Second Street sidewalks may have rolling curbs and an at-grade intersection at Lenora and Second to make street closures more conducive to events, he added.

The other streets will get 10-foot sidewalks. Currently, several stretches have no sidewalk and those that do are four feet wide, Stewart said.

Underground utility work will come first from August to November 2018. Stewart expects the Second and Lenora work will be undertaken in spring and fall 2019, with Park work in 2020 and First Street potentially following in 2021-22.

About Teya Vitu

Teya Vitu is an Idaho Business Review reporter, covering commercial real estate, construction, transportation and whatever else may intrigue him in the moment. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_TeyaVitu.