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As Grover Beach's mayor critiques stagnation, the city progresses with streets 

Grover Beach’s City Council is getting the ball rolling on the city’s long-awaited street repair project.

At its Jan. 20 meeting, the council unanimously approved a motion to authorize the sale of up to $5 million in general obligation bonds. It will be some time before that money is actually in the city’s coffers, though: “We’re looking at closing in March and having those funds available soon after,” City Manager Bob Perrault said.

According to Perrault, this timeframe will allow the city to start actual construction in mid-July, at the soonest.

This was tough news for Grover Mayor John Shoals, who told New Times after his election that he hoped to begin fixing roads as soon as the start of the new year. It’s been more than three months since Grover voters passed Measure K, the $48 million bond that will fund the undertaking

“I’m really trying not to say anything negative,” Shoals said at the Jan. 20 meeting. “This conversation should have been had sooner rather than now.”

There is still a way for the council to get a head start on construction, according to Perrault.

“There’s a provision within the resolution which is actually a reimbursement capability,” he said. “That means that once the resolution is adopted, we can actually begin spending dollars for street-related programs that ultimately would be reimbursed from the bond issue.”

The council didn’t act on this reimbursement provision while adopting the resolution, though—perhaps because it still hasn’t decided which roads to fix first.

The council has resolved to ask the community which roads the city should prioritize. Shoals said he would like to hold two meetings in the coming months designed to “educate and inform” the community and to find out what strategy makes the most sense to the people of Grover.

Public safety, routes most traveled, complete streets, schools, cost effectiveness, traffic disruption, and the community’s input will all be factored into the council’s ultimate decision, Shoals said.

According to pavement management consultant Joe Ririe, the city also has to consider the fact that too much road construction at once could cripple its streets and make daily driving and parking a nightmare for Grover citizens.

Ririe noted that he thought any more than $3 million in projects at once would be tough for the city to bear.

Even with this advice, Shoals pushed for taking $5 million or even $8 million for the first bond issuance, in order to make sure Grover citizens don’t have to wait too long to see their roads change for the better.

“We always talk about Grover needing to think a little bigger,” Shoals said. “Let’s get close to the edge. Let’s not always be the safe community where we do something and realize we should have done a little more.”

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