Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Third Street Project Given New Impetus

Marietta Daily Times, February 24, 1915

Property Owners Name Committee to Learn Cost of Raising

Not only are residents of Third Street between Putnam and Wooster, and Scammel between Second and Fourth, interested in the project for the raising of those streets above flood level, but a large proportion of them are willing to meet their full share of the expense and will devote their efforts to putting the project through. The residents of other of the low-lying streets are also interested, and it is practical certainly that if Third Street raises itself above flood line, other thoroughfares will quickly follow suit.

These facts are made evident at a meeting held in the high school Tuesday evening for consideration of the Third and Scammel streets matter. There was a big attendance of enthusiastic property owners from the district directly interested. In addition, many persons living on other streets were present, as well as city officials, members of the city council, officials of the board of trade, members of the board of education, real estate men, contractors, and railroad representatives. About 150 people in all were on hand for a discussion of the proposal, in the agitation of which some of the biggest property owners on the streets have been the prime movers.

The outcomes of the meeting, which was purely preliminary in character, was the appointment of a committee of three, composed of Messrs. Charles Weber, W. A. Sniffen, and H. A. Wagner, with instructions to secure plans and estimates, with information as to how the improvement could be handled through the city administration, for report at at meeting to be called in the near future. This committee is expected to canvass the situation thoroughly and be able to give each of the property owners information as to how the raising of the street in front of his property will cost.

A number of enthusiastic and business-like speeches were made at the meeting, which was devoted to a general discussion of some of the phases of the proposed improvement. W. A. Whiston was elected temporary chairman and J. W. Gray temporary secretary.

Plan Is Outlined

Charles H. Weber said that the plan which had been in mind for the improvement was to run a grade from a 46 foot elevation at Putnam and Third streets to about 35 at Wooster, crossing Scammel Street at about 50 feet, with Scammel graded from about 55 at Fourth Street to the 50 foot elevation at Third. This was only tentative, he said and the men who had suggested it were willing to give or take a few feet from others who had different views on the matter.

H. A. Wagner moved that the chairman appoint a committee of three to draft resolutions and bring the street raising proposition before the meeting for consideration. On this committee were reported Hon. C. S. Dana, Henry Albrecht, and John W. Mills. The committee reported a resolution recommending that a committee be appointed to investigate the plan outlined by Mr. Weber, with the probable cost and the plans for financing it, for report to property owners and the permanent committee named above was then selected by the chairman.

Endorses the Plan

B. B. Putnam was called upon and said that the committee of 21 which recently investigated the street raising matter as a general proposition for the city had been forced to the conclusion that the only way to do it was for the property owners to get together, as they are doing in this case, and raise a street or two at a time. He had hastily figured since coming to the meeting that the deepest part of the fill, about 10 feet, would require 42 cubic feet of dirt to the running foot. Figuring this dirt at top price of 30 cents per yard, it would cost approximately $12.90 per running foot to fill the street at the most expensive point.

Dividing this between the properties on both sides of the street would mean an assessment of $6.45 per front foot on the abutting property. Add to this the cost of new paving, he said, and it would mean an assessment of not over $10 per foot to fill and pave the street at the point where the fill would be deepest and the coast greatest. Where the fill was three feet the cost would be less than $6 per front foot, he said. It would cost not over $250 to fill any yard on the street, he thought.

Thinks It Would Pay

"The cost is significant and the possible benefit unlimited," said Mr. Putnam. "Marietta can never become a city among cities until her citizens become live ones and put her up out of the reach of floods. Hardly a day passes that someone does not come into my office and ask about a business location out of the reach of the water, but we have nothing to give them. If your street is raised and other streets do not come in on the plan, I predict that most of you will be forced to sell your properties for business purposes, because the prices offered you for them will be so big you cannot afford to refuse them." 

Dr. J. C. Swan was asked to speak. He said that for about 11 years he has been attending meetings called for the purpose of raising streets, but about the only thing the citizens of Marietta have raised is their voices.

Easy to Finance It

"This is no financial obstacle in the way of raising Marietta. There is no physical obstacle in the way with the exception of the laziness in the heads of people who should be doing things. Excuse me for scolding. The trouble with Marietta is its lack of unity, its lack of community of interest, its lack of initiative and cohesion.

"If you unite on this proposition you will make money for yourselves and leave legacies for your children."

Charles H. Weber expressed the belief that the Third Street proposition can be put through. "We can do it," he said "and can bring Third Street to the front. Other streets will follow and we can make Marietta bigger and better than she has ever been. My idea of financing the proposition its that we have got to do this ourselves. We can't ask the hill people to do it. We must do it ourselves for the value it will add to our property."

He said that the meeting had been called for the purpose of learning the opinion of the property owners and urged them to express themselves freely.

Dr. Ballard For It

Dr. C. B. Ballard said that he had concluded after the 1913 flood that he would not ask anyone to raise his property or the street in front of it, believing that the increase in the value of it would remunerate him for any expense to which he was put. "What we would like to know," he said, "is just about what our tax would be on a fixed grade. This is important, as we must know whether we can finance the proposition. I believe the way for this work to be done is for the property owners to say that they will raise their property so that the property will have greater value. I believe that the other lowlanders feel the same way."

Rev. John H. Holtkamp of the German M. E. Church spoke enthusiastically in favor of the proposal. He said he thought he could say that his church, which has property at the corner of Third and Wooster streets, would do its part and that he would do so personally. "You can't stop the water's coming," he said, "but you can go up above it. The good Lord has given lots of room up there."

Suggests 48 Foot Level

F. L. Alexander of Second Street raised the question whether it would not be a mistake to raise the street to a 50-foot level. He said this would necessitate the raising of a lot of houses that have already been raised once, while a 46 or 48-foot street would make this unnecessary and would at the same time put a house five feet above the street out of all probable floods, placing them above practically every inundation that the city has experienced save that of 1913. Reducing the level at Scammel Street from 50 to 48 feet would save a lot of money, he said, and would make friends for the project.

President Crawford of the city council, when called to the floor, said he believed council would go as far as it could under the city's ordinances to aid the project. He has not heard a dissenting voice among the members of the body. Personally he pledged himself to do all he could to further the success of the scheme.

Mr. Dauenhauer of the house moving department of the John Erichleay Jr. Company of Pittsburgh, contractors, told the meeting that what is proposed here is nothing new, that it has been done before, and can be done easily. The Third Street proposition is a very small matter, he said. To accomplish it is just a matter of going ahead. The general average of cost of raising the frame residences on the street, according to his estimates, would be from $500 to $750.

Engineers Present

Engineer E. Frank Gates gave the elevation of the streets which it is proposed shall be raised and made some suggestions  as  to the best grades for them. He said he thought the best way to get at the grade would be to assume one at Third and Scammel streets and work from that to the outer ends of the proposed improvement.

E. D. Baldwin, agent of the B. & O. Railway Company, said that his company had no figures available on the cost of laying dirt down on the streets here. He said, however, that the company had sent two of its engineers to this city to attend this meeting, and that they were present to learn whether or not the people meant business, that they would doubtless look the ground over and would be glad to meet the committee that had been appointed. Mr. Baldwin was accompanied by P. Didier of Pittsburgh, chief engineer, and J. Fordella of Newark, division engineer.


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