By Karen La Pierre
A “Save the brick streets” petition is being circulated in Ellinwood by members of the Historical Society after it was mentioned in a city council meeting that the city might be replacing some of the streets with concrete.
In January, the city discussed bundling replacing gutter and some streets with the bond issue for the storm sewer project. It was advised by city staff that some of the brick streets are in bad shape.
Ellinwood has over 30 blocks of brick streets, and the city was only discussing three or four blocks, said Interim City Administrator Chris Komarek.
The cost to repair the brick streets with brick is extremely high because there is six inches of concrete underneath it that would have to be dug up and replaced, Komarek said. The bricks would have to be pulled up, concrete poured, and the bricks replaced.
“We have a lot of deteriorating streets,” Komarek said. “Some of them are brick and some are asphalt.
“We are at the very preliminary stage of looking at which streets to replace. It’s going to cost a lot of money to just do three or four blocks.”
The city hasn’t gotten any bids on any of it yet.
Asphalt lasts 30 years and has to be resealed very couple of years. Concrete lasts 40 years. The brick lasts 100 years.
This is not the first time the city has considered replacing the bricks. In the 1980s, towns’ people wore a t-shirt that read “Save the bricks.”
“I feel part of our mission is to preserve. There has got to be ways of preserving some of those brick so that they are not all turned to concrete,” said Joyce Schulte, president of the Historical Society. “It’s been a signature of this town for a long time.
“It’s part of our heritage, and I hate to see them go.”
She has travelled to the east coast where the brick streets are preserved and not torn up. She thinks Ellinwood could do the same.
Schulte said her home on the west side of town has a concrete street by it and a brick street too. The concrete is in as bad of shape as the brick, so she would like to encourage the city to look at the brick option.
Business owner Rick Casagrande was also in favor of saving the bricks. The petition is located at his store, the Ellinwood Emporium.
“It’s a part of our history and a major feature that adds to the charm of the community of Ellinwood,” Casagrande said. “I think it would be really sad to have the streets changed.”
He realizes that the brick streets are being damaged by the road construction but when it’s over, he would like to see the streets repaired back to its original state.