Earlier this year, the Perryville Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to move forward on a resurfacing project on Sycamore Road. Now, six months later, the project is well underway.
“We started on the south end by Hwy. T and we’re working our way to the north,” said Perryville city engineer Tim Baer. “We’re just up past the daycare with both lanes done and sidewalks done up to that point. Essentially, that section of the road is open to local traffic only, so the daycare people can go out on Hwy. T and get out that direction.”
The daycare, Little Miracles Learning Center, is located at 17 Sycamore Rd. and is the first business or residence reached after turning onto the street from Hwy. T.
“Everyone else still has to go north up there to Rand Avenue and come in from the north,” Baer said. “So you can’t get all the way through there yet and won’t be able to for a while.”
Lappe Cement Finishing of Perryville was awarded the contract on the $1.32 million project, which should be completed early next year. According to Baer, the contract doesn’t end until spring.
“The weather is going to play a big role, especially coming into the winter,” Baer said. “So if we have a nice dry winter, things are going to move along quite nicely. But as soon as the weather starts hitting, it’s going to slow us down some. I’m sure they’ll continue to work as long as the weather’s good.”
The plans for the project call for a traditional city street with curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, improvements expected to not only improve the quality of the road but also provide a greater amount of safety for those using it.
Unfortunately for some Sycamore Road residents, the city-funded project ends after approximately 3,100 feet, or about six-tenths of a mile. The rest of Sycamore Road is under the county’s jurisdiction.
“It would be nice if eventually that could all come together and run all the way out to 61,” Baer said.
The timing of the project coincides with construction on Redbud Court, the city’s newest subdivision on Sycamore, describing it as a fortunate coincidence.
“They were talking about it for a number of years,” Baer said. “There’s more out in that area with the new subdivision, but even before that, they built some new apartments out there and then in the other subdivision back there, Winwood Estates, has been adding homes back in that part of the road for the last five or six years. So there’s been some other developments back there besides just the new subdivision. This really has kind of been in the works even before the new subdivision.”
Repaving the street, which runs from Hwy. T just north of U.S. 51 approximately six-tenths of a mile northeast to the city limits between Trishia Street and Rand Ave. before continuing north as PCR 801 to Hwy. 61, has long been a topic of debate between the city government and area residents, with discussions dating back to the 1980s.
A plan to construct a concrete street with curbs, gutters and sidewalks was initially approved in 2014 and was included in the budget for 2015.
However, months after approving the capital improvement plan and the budget that allocated funds for the project, aldermen voted 4-2 to put the project on hold following a public meeting in which residents stated that their portion of the cost — intended to cover approximately 30 percent of the project — would be too great, split as it was between a much smaller number of property owners than elsewhere in the city.
“Back in that day, there were like two or three people who owned the majority of the land on the right side of Sycamore Road as you were going toward Hwy. 61,” said Alderman Larry Riney, who voted against implementing the project in 2015. “Those individuals at that time were very adamant that if we approved Sycamore Road at that time, they would more than likely fail in their businesses or farms.”
Since then, Riney said, construction of new housing — like Redbud Court — has picked up in the area, ensuring the burden of paying for the road would be split between more landowners.
In addition, the previously asphalt road has continued to deteriorate, Baer said.
“They’ve gotten some complaints from various people over the last several years,” Baer said. “Knowing that there’s more traffic out there, more homes out there, I think the city decided it was time to go and get it done. I think they just decided to pull the trigger.”