Work begins next month on a once-controversial street-widening project in one of the oldest sections of Rancho Mirage, nown as Desert Snn Ranch.
Public Works Director Bruce Harry said Thursday he’s still finalizing the schedule with contractor Golden Valley Construction, but work will definintely start by the end of August and last about 60 days.
The plan sparked controversy in the neigborhood just north of Country Club Drive and east of Morningside Drive, but its scope is actually quite small, Harry said: “It’s probably the smallest project I’ve done since I’ve been here.”
For years officials have wanted to widen parts of Desert Sun Drive and Kaye Ballard Lane, plus all of Kersten Drive, to current city standards they say ensure fire engines and other emergency vehicles can get through even with cars parked on both sides of the street.
The City Council voted 5-0 July 18 to approve the nearly $650,000 contract with Indio-based Golden Valley to widen the streets in front of 21 homes and extending sewer lines to six of those, which are still using septic tanks. No residents spoke for or against the spending before the vote.
Some of the homes in the area are more than 50 years old, and the E. Stewart Williams-designed Kenaston House at Desert Sun and Kaye Ballard is on the city’s list of historic resources. Entertainer Ballard lives on the street named after her.
A June 2012 council vote was delayed after some residents and the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation said street widths of 24 to 32 feet would destroy trees and other parts of the the neighborhood’s historic character. Council members said they wanted to extend the sewer line while during the widening, and the council green-lighted putting the expanded project out to bid last October.