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UPDATE: Sunnyslope Road won't be narrowed

Sunnyslope Road is part of the City of Morris' Highland Homes Addition infrastructure work this summer. The City Council on Tuesday voted to keep the street's width at 40 feet instead of the 36-foot width its experts say is best.

By Tom Larson

Sun Tribune

Heeding a request from Highland Homes neighborhood residents, the Morris City Council voted to keep Sunnyslope Road at a 40-foot width.

The council went against the advice of its experts and statistics that say 36-foot roadways -- which Sunnyslope was to be after work this summer -- are safer and are less costly to build and maintain.

The council voted 4-0 on Tuesday to maintain the current width after hearing comments from several residents of the area.

Reworking designs and construction plans to maintain the 40-foot width will cost between $8,000 and $10,000. That money will be paid by all city taxpayers and won't be assessed individually.

The residents said that, based on their years of experience living in the area, narrowing the street won't make the roadway safer. It's a unique street in that it bears heavy traffic to and from the Key Row Apartment complex and narrowing the road won't likely deter speeding, the residents said.

Morris Chief of Police Jim Beauregard backed them up, saying that he believes most 36-foot roadways are safer, but that Sunnyslope is "an exception to the rule."

See this Web site and the Saturday, June 27 Sun Tribune for more on the Sunnyslope Road decision.

In other city business on Tuesday:

• The city approved a Stevens County request to vacate a portion of Colorado Avenue and an adjacent alley. The county requested the vacation as part of its on-going courthouse building and renovation plans.

The council approved the ordinance and noted that it would be effective once a building permit is issued for the county's project.

• The council denied a request from David Johnson to get access to the old elementary school to salvage material he wants to use in housing construction.

City Attorney Charles Glasrud warned of potential liability issues, and council members and Beauregard also expressed safety concerns and public access fairness issues without an organized plan to deal with salvage requests.

City Manage Blaine Hill said asbestos in the building also could be a problem if unplanned salvage took place. A study has been done of the building's asbestos issues and the city is waiting for the results, he said.

For now, the council will take no action on the issue.

"Let it lie and not touch it," council member Jeff Miller said. "There are too many unknowns right now."

Again, for more on these stories, see this Web site and the June 27 Sun Tribune.