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Part of Forest Street sidewalk to be replaced
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Although pleased with the recently completed reconstruction of Forest Street, the Hinesville City Council approved having the project’s contractor replace some sections of the sidewalk to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements during a regular meeting Thursday.

P.C. Simonton and Associates engineer Marcus Sack told the council that portions of the sidewalk on Forest Street do not meet the ADA’s cross-slope standards.

Cross slope refers to the slope that is perpendicular to the travel direction of the road, Sack explained.

If a sidewalk’s cross slope is too great, it could cause difficulty for a person in a wheelchair or on crutches, he said by way of example.

Since the sidewalk replacement will be at Ellis Wood Contracting Inc.’s cost, Sack asked the council to consider allowing the Statesboro-based contractor to replace only those sections that measure more than 4-percent difference from the ADA cross-slope requirement.

This would help the contractor avoid having to replace the entire sidewalk at a cost of $86,788.80, he said.

City Attorney Linnie Darden advised the council that the ADA requirement "is a guideline," not a law, and staying within 2-4 percent of the required slope should be legally defensible.

Sack said a 1- to 3-percent variance on cross slope generally is permitted by GDOT on sidewalks.

Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said the council’s primary responsibility was to ensure the repaired sidewalk would be safe for residents.

In other city business:

• Coastal Regional Commission land-use planner Kevin Sullivan presented a draft model overlay ordinance that, if adopted, would work with the city’s existing zoning districts.

The draft ordinance resulted from a 2005 Fort Stewart joint-land-use study.

Sullivan told council members that local communities were not obligated to implement an overlay ordinance, but they could adopt it as a way to ensure encroachment on Fort Stewart "is kept to a minimum."

• The council approved the community development department’s request to apply for several grants, one in the amount of $12,000 from the Georgia Municipal Association to purchase two digital video mirrors for Hinesville police and one thermal-imaging camera for Hinesville firefighters.

A second grant application is for a $1,500 grant from Target Headquarters to help fund the city’s National Night Out event, scheduled for Aug. 2.

The third grant application will be submitted to Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) on behalf of the Liberty County Board of Education and HPD.

This $103,327.64 grant, with a required 50-percent match by BoE, will allow the HPD to develop and improve school safety resources and security measures at Bradwell Institute.

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