RACINE — Brick pavers could soon be coming back to the intersection of 16th Street and College Avenue, which is scheduled for reconstruction in 2020.
Last year, during a meeting with city engineers, the Landmarks Preservation Commission pushed to have the intersection restored to brick. The intersection is within the Southside Historic District and while the intersection itself is paved asphalt, College Avenue to the north and south is paved with historic bricks.
At the Commission’s Monday meeting, City Engineer John Rooney presented the city’s new proposal, which would use brick to pave the center of the intersection. The crosswalks would be colored red to blend with the brick but would be paved asphalt in order to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The commission submitted the proposal to the City Council with a unanimous recommendation to approve.
Working with brick pavers
Rooney said the project will be an opportunity for the city’s engineering staff to learn more about brick pavers for when the city decides to redo College Avenue.
Brick pavers are more expensive because they are labor intensive, but Rooney said the city is budgeting for those increased costs. No estimates had been calculated as of Monday.
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To prevent the bricks from settling, the city plans to pour concrete underneath so they have stable support.
As for the bricks themselves, Rooney presented two options for the commission to choose from, though he said he had a feeling he knew which the commission would prefer.
One was using new brick pavers, which were smaller and more expensive; the other was using salvaged brick pavers from The Brickyard Inc., which is based in Milwaukee. According to The Brickyard’s website, the company has the largest stock of reclaimed brick in the United States.
The salvaged bricks also are cheaper — Rooney estimated to use the new brick would cost about six times more per unit.
In the meeting last year, the commission had asked about the city’s own stockpile of historic brick pavers. Rooney said brick pavers the city has saved are used for repairs but are not in good enough condition to last the projected life of the reconstructed street. The bricks from Brickyard are in good enough condition that they are projected to last.
“The residents will be tremendously happy,” said Alderwoman Mollie Jones, who represents the 2nd District where the intersection is located.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., Room 205.