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New street improvement project involves fixing failing roads near Westside elementary school

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 10:25 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Two streets bordering a Westside elementary school get failing grades from parents picking up their kids. But paving isn’t cheap and the city won’t foot the entire bill.

Many parents and kids of Loveland Elementary School are getting a lesson in auto repair.

“It’s affected the alignment of my car and I have to fill my tires more often. Oh here’s another good one,” said parent Carly Roeder.

Washouts and potholes on Ridgewood have Carly Roeder on edge.

“I think it’s unfair we have to drive on this daily and damage our vehicles,” said Roeder.

Other parents feel the same.

“Definitely be fixed.”

“I think it should be fixed, yeah it’s pretty rough. But it also makes people go slow.”

Ridgewood and Poppleton make a rough L for Loveland school drivers. Parents who feel stuck in a rut about the conditions of the streets to the east and south of the school have an important ally, the head of the neighborhood association.

Pete Gadzinski is spearheading the petition for a street improvement district to raise $1 million for the project. That requires a majority of seven adjacent homeowners agreeing to pay 10% or about $15,000 each.

“I’ve got three for sure and need one more,” said Gadzinski.

Pete says the paving plan also needs District 66 to pay 30% and the city to pay 60%.

“Which is 10% more than the normal 50. And given the public benefit of this street, we think that’s a pretty reasonable request,” said Gadzinski.

He’s hoping the parents will help him convince city officials to pay more.

“I’d love to get the road fixed, it seems crazy that right next to a school it would look like this.”

Pushing for the street improvement project, Pete offers a comparison from the unique perspective of a retired foreign service officer.

“Hey I’ve lived in Kathmandu, this road is in a condition that would be embarrassing in Kathmandu,” said Gadzinski.

There’s an October 1 deadline for submitting the street improvement petition and get city council approval to build within two years. The Westside School Board president says the district is in regular communication with Loveland residents and elected officials but must wait on the process before committing funds.

The city has a policy of paying 50% of these projects and the city engineer says he wouldn’t support going any higher.

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