The message has been received loud and clear: Maplewood needs to upgrade its residential streets and expand parking.
Maplewood City Council members kept returning to that point during a workshop at on Tuesday evening. The council met to discuss its long-range vision for the city, and to draft more immediate goals.
The city recently commissioned a survey in March of 400 citizens and 133 business owners. Seventeen percent of citizens mentioned "inadequate street maintenance" as a concern during the survey. Ten percent of of business owners said there was "inadequate parking."
City council has already approved a plan to improve , and plans to expand the are underway. But now the council must decide what to tackle next: a $1 million project to tear up and replace Yale Avenue—which council members agree is in terrible condition—or replace several smaller streets for the same amount.
Mayor James White suggested using $1 million of general revenue funds to improve several streets in spring 2012. Then the city could spend its entire capital funds budget to pay for the improvement of Yale Avenue during the 2012-13 budget cycle.
Council members David Cerven (Ward 1), Tim Dunn (Ward 2) and Shawn Faulkingham (Ward 3) all spoke against the mayor's suggestion. Instead, they hope to fix Yale before any other street.
The final decision likely will be made during a September 13 city council meeting.
Other goals for the city
Council members spent most of the workshop discussing broad and general goals for the city.
They drafted a four-paragraph vision statement that calls for a "symbiotic balance between vital neighborhoods and thriving businesses." The statement also includes a sentence about the city's plan to remain a "model community for our progressive, fiscal/government policies, environmental responsibility and wise use of taxpayer dollars."
The council's initial plan was to draft a long-range vision before diving into specific objectives. An action plan will be produced during a future city council workshop.