2011.08.03 Keith Pennington: Parking lot project

Written by David Green.

Halfway Home

Whether you are running a race, mowing the yard or heading home to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, hitting the halfway mark can lift your spirits. You have less to finish than you have already accomplished. This week marks the halfway point anticipated to complete rebuilding of the parking lots.

We started removing the pavement on July 18th and finished that task that same day. The project had all the appearances of moving much more quickly than anticipated. However, these last couple of weeks, all but the trained eye would wonder what if anything has been going on. The underground improvement work that has taken place is harder to appreciate than what is on the surface. However, like most building projects, what you start with underground is just as important as the finished project that everyone will see.

Electric poles have been moved. Storm drains installed to properly drain the parking lot and all the water coming from the building downspouts have been directed into those drains. Gas lines and phone lines have been moved, cables for television and internet have been re-routed and water lines repaired. 

We’ve found things that all but the senior citizens would have been surprised by: remnants of a bowling alley behind the bank, foundations of a factory in front of city hall and coal chutes; let’s talk about coal chutes. It seems as though there was a coal chute extending from the parking lot into every other building!

Some of the problems encountered each day made it inconvenient or costly for a business owner. Sometimes it was the city’s cost to bear. Each day it seems that the city staff needed to negotiate an issue that would satisfy the business owner, the engineer and the contractor.

Your city’s staff has done a tremendous job thus far. Each department is giving it their best so that the project will be completed on time and with the best possible results. Please be sure to thank them when you have the opportunity.

This week, most of the tearing out should be completed and you will be encouraged when you see the new features being installed. Continue to be patient, support your local businesses and look forward to the project being completed by Labor Day. As we begin to enjoy the improvements, I trust the inconvenience, dust and commotion will begin to fade from our collective memories. 

– Keith Pennington

Mayor of Morenci

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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