A safer walking path to Birch Creek elementary

Smithfield City plans to build a safer walking path to Birch Creek elementary school. Currently the only routes to the new school are the heavily driven 100 North. It’s a state road and is starved for sidewalks. Or the long, narrow Saddleback Road. Parents, school administrators, and city officials have all expressed concern over how children can safely walk to school. Now a deal between the city and Fred Fishburn paves the way for a sidewalk on 200 North from 400 West to the Park Place subdivision.

Mayor Simmons reported to the council Wednesday that they are close to a deal with Fishburn to buy an east-west strip of land in line with 200 North. It’s not the entire 66-foot width needed to build the 200 North road. However, it is enough for a sidewalk along the north edge to the Park Place subdivision. The sidewalk placement is designed for the eventual construction of 200 North as an east-west through street.

The total cost to the city will be $35,000 for the land — paid in three, interest-free annual payments — plus the cost of moving a fence, relocating a shed, and possibly replacing some trees. Sidewalk construction would begin in July with the hope it would be done before school starts in the fall.

Remodel plan hits wall

Bids to remodel the old city offices into a police station were higher than expected. Initial estimates were around $420,000. The actual low-bid was about $589,000. City Manager Jim Gass reported that the estimates were rough and inaccurate and the old building would also need more work than expected. There are no footings under the current structure. Plus the whole front wall would need to be removed and reconstructed.

The city council discussed options including using the building as-is, selling the structure and build a new station somewhere else, or simplifying the design to reduce the remodel cost. The council decided they will not award the contract for now. A meeting is planned with the architect to break down the costs involved and look for ways to make cuts.

Hyde Park fire service

The Smithfield Fire Department provides fire service for Hyde Park. The five year agreement is up for renewal. In addition to fire service, SFD also provides fire inspection services. Smithfield has an unmanned satellite station of older Smithfield fire trucks in Hyde Park. Volunteer fire fighters in Hyde Park, trained by the SFD, use the station.

Two new agreements — one for fire service and another for other SFD services — were presented and agreed to by the council. The main change in the agreements is the renewal clause. Both Hyde Park and Smithfield have the option to renegotiate or even cancel the contracts at each five-year mark. Otherwise, the agreements will automatically renew.

Kid’s Korner triangle sold

A strange, triangular 1181 square foot piece of Kid’s Korner park is being sold to the Hancocks. The rectangular shaped park has this “thumb” sticking out in the north-east corner. It’s been reported that it’s a dark area and prone to some “mischief” by neighborhood youths.

The offer to the Hancocks is to deed over the property in exchange for the cost of installing a fence and removing the small shelter which straddles the property line. The Hancocks would install a north-south fence to “square” off the park. The city would remove the shelter and bill the Hancocks for the labor cost.

The city agreed to the proposed contract. The Hancock’s who received the proposal today will take it home for review before making their final decision.

City Hall

The new Smithfield City Hall is almost finished. Moving day is tentatively planned for Tuesday, June 1. City Recorder Dean Clegg asked — and the council agreed — that city offices be closed on Tuesday so employees could focus on moving and getting the phones and computers working.

A VIP tour and community open house is planned for later in June or early in July.