Bury Resort Street plan

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board April 18, 2012 09:32 am

Burying the electric, cable TV and other utility lines that currently run overhead along Resort Street downtown certainly would make this important arterial more attractive.

And the timing, at least in theory, is right, with the city preparing for a $2.3 million project next year that will rebuild the street and sidewalks, and install benches and plants. That money comes from the state.

Holes, suffice it to say, will be dug regardless.

But the price of burying the utilities is simply too high for city residents to bear.

City officials figure it’ll cost between $1 million and $1.1 million to bury the lines along Resort between Campbell Street and Auburn Avenue.

The city has proposed to create a Local Improvement District (LID) to raise some of the money. The LID would charge the 64 property owners on those blocks of Resort Street a total of $301,000.

The city would have to come up with the rest — at least $700,000.

Several city councilors expressed concern about the project as a whole.

Councilor Milo Pope was especially succinct: “We can’t afford to do this. Period.”

We agree.

First, we’re skeptical that the property owners would agree to pay a share.

If the owners of two-thirds of the front footage oppose the LID, the city could be stuck with the entire tab.

But even if city officials can negotiate better terms and trim the city’s cost to, say, $500,000, that’s still too much.

During the same meeting councilors learned that city streets have continued their decade-long deterioration.

The city needs to fill in the holes it already has before it invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in excavating new ones.

And besides, we’re already getting a brand-new Resort Street.