One thing is for certain about the federal block grant money the city won recently: It must be used to improve the Villa Drive subdivision.
Precisely which kinds of improvements are questions city officials will be dealing with during the next several months.For example, most of the residents are in favor of the proposed replacements of water and sewer lines, but the majority are against the city's plans to widen the street.
Last month, the Davis County Council of Governments awarded Clearfield $200,000 of federal Community Development Block Grant money, which still has to be approved by the state.
The money is earmarked for Villa Drive, a U-shaped street just off Main Street at approximately 500 North. The subdivision, which contains about 80 small homes built during the late 1930s and early 1940s, is one of Clearfield's oldest remaining subdivisions and is in need of infrastructure upgrades, according to City Manager Jack Bippes.
"This is one of the projects that has been on our 15-year maintenance plan for about five years," said Bippes.
A top priority is replacing the neighborhood's main water line, which is only four inches wide, with a 6-inch pipe that would meet state building and fire protection codes. Parts of the sewer system also need to be replaced because some segments have settled or broken apart.
And the subdivision's storm drain system will be replaced, Bippes said.
Another problem with Villa Drive is Villa Drive itself, which is only 37 feet wide. Because most residents have only a single-lane driveway, the street is often used for parking, which constricts the free-flow of traffic.
City engineers have suggested the street be widened to 50 feet, which is the right-of-way owned by the city. It's that part of the proposal that doesn't sit well with the residents like Ralph Holmes.
"The majority, I think, prefer that the existing road be retained," Bippes said.
Holmes and his wife live on the corner of Villa Drive and Main Street. Holmes said his home is already too close to the road and motorists sometimes take the corner too quickly, driving onto his front lawn.
"We once had a motorcycle end up next to the bedroom window," Holmes said. "If they widen the road, we could have cars running into our bedroom."
Before deciding whether to widen the road, the city will meet with residents this month or next, the city manager said.
Holmes is also concerned that the city may be investing in an area that will eventually wind up in a commercial zone, but Bippes said the city's master plan calls for the area to remain residential indefinitely.
The city has estimated the cost of the improvements at $247,000. The City Council, therefore, would have to budget $47,000 of local tax money for the project, which could get under way in August, Bippes said.
Plans to improve the subdivision originally called for "phase II," in which the city would condemn a house or two at the bottom of Villa Drive and join the street with 200 West. Fearing an increase in traffic, residents voiced opposition to that proposal, prompting officials to reconsider.
"I don't think we'll move into phase II," Bippes said.