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Street work to wrap up just in time for new school year at Paradise Canyon Elementary

Street work to wrap up just in time for new school year at Paradise Canyon Elementary
Construction workers install rubberized asphalt on Knight Way in front of Paradise Canyon Elementary School on Tuesday. Nine hundred linear feet of the street was covered with new asphalt and 1,100 linear feet of asphalt on Gould Avenue was also replaced. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

La Cañada’s Paradise Canyon neighborhood has had to accommodate an upheaval on the streets surrounding the elementary school in recent weeks, as the city’s public works department works to finish up improvements on Gould Avenue and Knight Way.

Officials have assured construction — which began July 2 and on Tuesday included repaving Gould from Knight Way north to Paulette Place and Knight from Gould east to Oliveta Place — will have been largely completed by the time Paradise Canyon Elementary students start the new school year today.

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“There will be some detail work to do but no big equipment,” said Public Works Director Patrick DeChellis. “The contractor has been very, very diligent and is doing everything possible to get the job done.”

The total cost of the project was budgeted at $753,313, which includes a $655,055 contract awarded to El Monte-based E.C. Construction, according to figures provided by the city.

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Improving streets, curbs and gutters along Gould and extending sidewalks along the thoroughfare north to Paulette involved a lot of details that drove up the cost of the project beyond public works estimates provided 2016 that placed the maximum around $540,000.

“We didn’t realize just how involved the project was,” DeChellis said.

Construction workers put down new rubberized asphalt on Gould Avenue near Paradise Canyon Elementary School on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.
Construction workers put down new rubberized asphalt on Gould Avenue near Paradise Canyon Elementary School on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

The city began considering street improvements after longtime Paulette Place resident Ralph Lipscomb died in March 2015 and left the city $500,000 in his will (a first in La Cañada Flintridge) with a request the money be spent on public works projects.

Lipscomb’s wife, Bonnie Lipscomb, told the Valley Sun in a March 2016 interview her husband's intention was for the city to do something that would benefit the neighborhood.

“He wasn’t a do-gooder or any of that kind of thing,” she said. “He just felt that the streets should be fixed here and there.”

City officials verified that $420,775 of Ralph Lipscomb’s bequest was allocated to the Gould/Knight project, while an additional $60,000 was used on nearby street resurfacing during Fiscal Year 2016-17.

After the work is done, new street signs will be installed and crosswalks near Paradise Canyon Elementary will be repainted to increase safety along the school’s pedestrian corridors, DeChellis said.

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