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.
“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.
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.
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.