Charlotte awards sidewalk contract for site where 2 children were killed

sharrison@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 13, 2014 

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Donta Sherrill walks past the intersection of West Tyvola Road and Shady Lane on Monday as a SUV passes by. Stuffed animals, flowers and two wooden crosses have been placed at the intersection to honor two children who were killed there. The two were hit by a passing truck in an area without a sidewalk.

JEFF SINER — jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Nearly two years after an accident killed two young children along West Tyvola Road, the Charlotte City Council awarded a $343,847 contract Monday night to build a sidewalk there that will keep pedestrians from having to walk in the road.

In February 2012, Kadrien Pendergrass, 5, and his 1-year-old brother, Jeremy Brewton, were killed by a delivery truck on West Tyvola Road at Shady Lane.

At the time, that stretch of West Tyvola Road was ranked second on a city list of unfunded sidewalk projects in terms of importance. Soon after the accident, council members voted to expedite the sidewalk’s construction by moving savings from a Statesville Road widening project.

But the public was surprised by how long the planning process was, which included public meetings and design work.

The 0.37-mile sidewalk – from West Boulevard to Old Steele Creek Road – is expected to be finished in the second quarter of this year. The council awarded the contract to DOT Construction Inc.

Council member LaWana Mayfield, who represents the area, said the project actually moved along quickly. She said the brevity with which it has moved forward is “unprecedented.”

Mayor Patrick Cannon said the sidewalk could have been built sooner, but the city needed time to create a comprehensive plan to ensure it was built correctly.

In May 2013, a jury found Dirk Jerome Brown, the truck driver, guilty of two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle. He spent 120 days in jail.

Plans for parking

In other action Monday, council members approved spending $3.05 million to buy the Econo Lodge hotel on Independence Boulevard that is adjacent to Ovens Auditorium.

The city plans to demolish the hotel and use the land for parking. Charlotte’s long-term goal is to convert the Ovens-Bojangles’ Coliseum area into an amateur sports complex.

The city had already bought two properties on the other side of Independence Boulevard from Bojangles’ – the Charlotte Inn Hotel and an IHOP restaurant. Both of those buildings have been torn down.

In addition to the sale price, the city has budgeted $550,000 for razing the Econo Lodge and removing asbestos.

After the deal closes, the city plans to keep the hotel open for a year by leasing it back to the owner. That will allow five full-time and 35 part-time workers to keep their jobs temporarily.

Observer researcher Maria David contributed.

Harrison: 704-358-5160

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