WARD 8 - Residents of Frank Boulevard have made history by initiating a change in the way Akron residents will be assessed for road improvements.
Because of Ward 8 Councilwoman Sandra Kurt and residents of her ward on the boulevard, Council Monday night authorized a change in the city code which reduces paving assessments passed on to residents when the improvements actually increase traffic. Such will be the case when the $4.8 million Frank Boulevard improvements are completed by next fall, Kurt said.
As a result, she said, the residents will endure increased motor traffic and air pollution while all others enjoy the improved throughway at no direct costs. Kurt said she and the residents brought this point to the attention of the city's Public Service Department, which resulted in a 34 percent decrease in an original $171,000 assessment because of a projected increase in traffic of the same percentage.
The assessment equation will apply to all future paving projects. For example, if road improvements on a particular street increase traffic by 25 percent, the paving assessment against the residents of the street will also be reduced by 25 percent. The reduction only applies to paving assessments and does not apply to resurfacing.
"They made a good argument to the Assessment Equalization Board at a hearing held Jan. 21 that due to improvements, traffic will be increased, meaning more noise and more air pollution," Kurt said. "As a result, the Public Service Department came to the realization that residents have a valid point and that it should offer them some kind of relief.
"Residents of Frank Boulevard should feel proud that they are helping future generations."
The city is opening the bidding process for the project this week, and hopes to begin construction May 1. Improvements will include a raised elevation at the railroad tracks at the intersection of Frank and White Pond Drive, as well as a traffic light and turning lane at the crossing; noise-reduction barriers along the rail road tracks; sidewalks; driveway approaches; and storm sewers.