A public meeting between city officials and property owners along Chase Lane in Centerville will be held to resolve problems with the city's proposal to pave and upgrade the street this summer. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in City Hall.

The city wants to widen and pave the road, which carries a high volume of traffic, and install curb, gutter and sidewalks. But the issue of where the sidewalks should be installed and whether a park strip should be included has divided the city and property owners.The city wants a 4- or 6-foot landscaped parking strip between the curb and the sidewalk but, according to City Administrator David Hales, most residents along Chase Lane don't want the strip. They prefer the sidewalk poured next to the curb, he said.

Adding the park strip will leave residents with more landscaping to maintain and, because some of the older homes along the semi-rural lane were built close to the street, the project could put the sidewalk right outside their front doors, he said.

But the city sees the strip as a safety measure, Police Chief Jim Oswald said.

The 6-foot strip is a buffer zone that keeps cars going off the road from immediately running up on the sidewalk, he said. And, it gives city crews someplace to pile snow when they're plowing the street.

Without the parking strip, snow would be piled onto the sidewalk, forcing the hundreds of youngsters who walk along the road daily to school and back to walk in the street, the police chief said.

Hales said putting in the parking strip also gives the city a utility easement and a place for residents to put up mailboxes.

Support of the property owners and residents is crucial to the project, Hales said. The city wishes to establish an improvement district along Chase lane to spread the cost of the project between the city and homeowners.

Property owners would be assessed a fee based on the amount of land they own fronting the road to pay for the curb and gutter, he said. But if too many property owners oppose the district's formation, they could jeopardize the district and the project.

The city estimates it will cost residents a total of $33,000 for their portion, with the city paying $183,000 for the excavation and paving of the street and the city water department paying $9,000 for fire hydrants and water meters.

Hales said the city has $85,000 set aside for the Chase Lane project now but will have to budget an additional $100,000 for its portion.

City Engineer Fred Campbell estimates the cost of installing curb and gutter at $6.50 per linear foot. Rebuilding driveway approaches will cost residents $2.50 per square foot, he estimates.

Hales noted with the road's semi-rural character, many landowners have long strips of property fronting the road. The project would cost property owners from $400 to $600 for an average residential lot and up to thousands of dollars for larger parcels, he told the council.