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Goleta held a kickoff event on Thursday to begin a major sidewalk project that adds concrete walkways to one side of the streets north of Hollister Avenue in the neighborhood known as Old Town. About 40 people came to the pocket park on Nectarine Avenue to talk with the project managers, designers, and construction crew on hand. Mayor Paula Perotte noted that several of the big trees that residents loved were being saved, with sidewalks being built around them where necessary. Curbs, gutters, and a repaving of all the streets are included in the project, which grew to $1.8 million over its original price tag.
In a City Council meeting in December, the city’s public works department had to defend the cost overrun, with councilmembers asking for no more surprises and expressing disappointment that the money couldn’t be used for other equally important projects. Project manager James Winslow explained there was no lack of work for construction companies and that bids were on the high side. The project was designed to minimize disruption in the densely populated area, he said, with work split into segments. That added to project costs, as well, but was necessary to avoid taking away everyone’s parking at one time.
Additionally, Public Works director Charlie Ebeling said, given the quantity of cuts into the road the original project caused, it made sense to repave the entire area now. Otherwise, potholes would develop, and residents would face another major street disruption in three, five, or seven years. The project’s contingency fund increased from 15 to 20 percent as well, because about 100 property owners would be affected, Winslow said. As of December, all but three had signed onto the project and its effects on their hedges, fences, and mailboxes that were in the public right-of-way, he told the councilmembers. Winslow said the livability and walkability of the area would be helped by the much-needed improvements to drainage from pervious pavement and sidewalks, as well as retention basins and the addition of 17 parking spaces on Magnolia from back-in angled parking.
The winning contractor was Toro Enterprises Inc., which is based in Oxnard, with a bid of $3.2 million. The project starts March 2 and is expected to be completed by November.