A patch of 13th Avenue. Google Maps.
Friday, April 17, 2015 || By Michael Romain
At a Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting held April 15, Maywood’s Board of Trustees finally broached what has long been a source of frustration for both. Maywood and Broadview residents — the rocky stretch of road that is13th Avenue, a street that’s given officials in both villages headaches for quite some time.
At the April 15 meeting, David Myerrs, Maywood’s acting village manager, said that a large reason why the street has been neglected is the lack of funding available to pay for the repairs. Myers said that repairs for the street would cost about $833,000, with each village contributing half, or $416,500 each.
But that estimate was presented before Trustee Cheryl Ealey-Cross noted that it doesn’t take into account the increased cost of materials. If that factor was included, the cost would jump to $920,000, with each village contributing a $460,000 each.
Myers stated that Maywood doesn’t qualify for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the area, because it isn’t situated in one of Maywood’s lower-income tracts, a pivotal requirement for CDBG funding. That isn’t true for Broadview.
“From what I understand, based on the census tract, that might be part of the lower income area of Broadview, but it’s not the lower-income area for our community,” said Trustee Michael Rogers at the April 15 meeting.
But Kevin McGrier, a Broadview trustee since 2009 and the town’s chairman of streets, sidewalks and alleys, said that there’s a much deeper explanation for 13th Avenue’s neglect.
McGrier (pictured above right with Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones), said that his village has been trying to find funds to repair 13th Avenue for years and have approached Maywood officials in the past about splitting the costs of the repairs down the middle.
“We’ve utilized our CDBG funding for other streets and have them mapped out to 2017, but this was a particular project we wanted to have a partnership with Maywood on and they told us they didn’t have the funding for it and we’d have to fund the whole project,” he said.
McGrier said that he had met with former Maywood village manager William Barlow about a possible collaboration with Maywood, but was rebuffed. He also suggested that, at the time, Maywood could’ve been more aggressive in finding alternative sources of funding.
“If there were meetings [between Broadview officials and Maywood officials regarding 13th Avenue] before or after that, I wasn’t aware of them,” he said.
“We put Chris Welch on [the issue] when he was first elected and we came close to having the funding,” McGrier said. “This was something on our wish list,” he said, adding that he felt at the time that Maywood should have been engaging in similar attempts to retrieve the money, instead of being immobilized by a lack of CDBG funds.
McGrier, however, said the village’s recent activity and conversations on the matter showed promise. At the April 15 meeting, Myers referenced a letter of support in connection with 13th Avenue funding that was signed by state Rep. Welch (7th), state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th) and mayors Edwenna Perkin and Sherman Jones.
Asked why, for instance, each village couldn’t just repair the portion of the street that it owned, McGrier said, “It would be ridiculous if we just drew an imaginary line” and pursued the repairs alone.
He also noted that, altough both Broadview and Maywood share other streets, 13th Avenue is the only one is in such a state of dilapidation. VFP
To learn more about 13th Avenue’s boundaries, in addition to area information on Broadview, visit McGrier’s website here.