Reused brick for streets can drive up costs but durable

This southwest Fort Wayne alley will have brick replacement. DAN VANCE

By Dan Vance

FORT WAYNE — Reused brick for Fort Wayne streets can come with an added to cost to maintain the historical character.

During Fort Wayne City Council’s Jan. 8 meeting, Director of Transportation Mario Trevino was on hand to discuss an ordinance to approve a construction contract regarding the rebricking and reconstruction of an alley between Beaver, Indiana, Kinnaird and West Wildwood avenues.

The proposal, which passed with a unanimous 9-0 vote, will involve a total cost of $222,629 with a winning bid by Key Concrete.

Ultimately, the historic integrity of this and other alleyways with upwards of 100-year-old brick pavement factored into council’s vote.

Republican councilman-at-large John Crawford, who was elected as council president at the meeting, questioned about the cost of a potential bid in asphalt. Trevino noted that judging by recent bidding that concrete would come in cheaper than asphalt and at a likely cost of about $100,000 but that an existing ordinance says which brick alleys must be reconstructed as brick.

Tom Didier (R-3rd District) confirmed the ordinance, which was put forth by himself and former 5th District councilman Tim Pape because of the historic relevance and the lasting timeline of the brick versus other paving methods. At the time of the ordinance, many brick alleys were in both those two districts.

“Fourth Street for example, that didn’t get paved for 100 years so we just redid it five, six years ago maybe and that street should last 50-60 years versus blacktopping over it that probably would have needed repaved in 15-20 years,” Didier said at the meeting. “So there is some value from the standpoint of keeping it. Plus, the aesthetics, makes it look nicer.”

The ordinance, which passed on Jan. 22, 2013, states: “the City of Fort Wayne will also preserve and maintain brick alleys identified on an official map, provided by the Community Development Division, which shall not be changed without prior Council approval. Nothing is intended to mandate that the city has any greater obligation to make or pay for the brick alley repairs beyond that which is undertaken for non-brick alleys in the normal course, rather this subchapter is merely evidencing an obligation to maintain the structural and esthetic integrity of the alleys as brick alleys when a decision is made to repair or replace brick alleys in the normal course.”

An ordinance passed in 2011 indicates that preservations of brick alleys and streets requires that any repairs will be made with the same construction processes as the existing surface whenever possible and with brick salvaged from other city streets or alleys and not a contemporary paver.

With a variety of brick streets in the city that have been previously addressed or are on the table for consideration down the road, this 5th District alley is the first brick alley that has been addressed by the Board of Public Works.

Geoff Paddock (D-5th District) inquired about the brick supply with Trevino, who said that the source of brick for the city has become greatly diminished.

“When we do brick streets, contractors are required to clean off whatever replacement brick that we provide, so a lot of our brick isn’t in the greatest condition and so there may be pieces of mortar attached to it or asphalt,” Trevino said. “We may have to clean the brick before they replace it on one of our projects. It can be costly and time consuming.”

Trevino clarified too that there are several brick alleys that are in poor shape but they are competing with brick streets that also need attention.

This map shows Fort Wayne’s brick streets, in red, and brick alleys, in blue. The green portions are historic districts.

A change in notary fees

Associate city attorney Malak Heiny presented to council a law change that will change fees for city notary services from $2 up to $10. Heiny presented that the departments within the city decided that it would be in their best interest to raise the city fee.

This would be specifically for notary services provided by the city of Fort Wayne.

The motion passed unanimously 9-0.

Other Business

More than $2 million in road and utility projects were approved. The projects, which will begin this year, include the aforementioned rebricking on an alleyway between Beaver, Indiana, Kinnaird and West Wildwood.

Other projects approved include $618,500 to repair or replace 12 different collapsed sewers and manholes that have deteriorated in Fort Wayne. Those sewer lines will be critical to repair to avoid overflows and backups in the future.

Council also approved the largest of the three projects from a price standpoint. The $1.3 million project for street and other repairs will take place in the Caribe Colony neighborhood near Reed Road and Lake Avenue. The project will cover not just the street repair itself, estimated to be about 4,000 feet of concrete, but will go toward 8,000 feet of curbs, curb ramps, curb castings, sidewalks and surface drains.