A united effort helped spruce up the Union Pacific overpass in Nyssa recently. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL).

NYSSA – When Jim Maret became city manager in 2017, he faced an array of chores and duties.

He needed to learn the city budget process and tackle economic development while dealing with the daily tasks of a small city.

Yet one issue – the appearance of the underpass beneath Union Pacific Railroad tracks – continued to vex the new city manager. The underpass needed new paint, said Maret.

“When I started that was one of the biggest complaints, that it looked terrible. So here we are, trying to attract folks to not only do business but to actually live here and you want the city to look as good as it can,” said Maret.

Other major projects took precedence, but Maret said he never lost sight of the need to spruce up the underpass.

Maret said the project appeared to be straightforward.

It wasn’t. That’s because the underpass was owned by Union Pacific and the city needed to clear any improvements with the railroad.

Also, any work on the structure would need approval by the state Transportation Department.

“There were so many entities involved that it took time,” said Maret. “Over a couple of years, we’ve worked on it.”

Maret said the city eventually received approval from Union Pacific to paint the underpass and the state gave its approval last month.

Not long after, Nyssa Public Works crews began to splash 15 gallons blue paint on the underpass.

As part of the project, two large Bulldog insignias – the mascot of Nyssa High School – were also installed, courtesy of Signco. 

Maret said the project was a cooperative effort.

“Our public works guys really got involved in it,” said Maret.

The project cost about $2,300, said Maret, but at least $1,000 of the price was paid for by an anonymous donor.

“It was roughly about $1,300 in city money,” said Maret.

Maret said Nyssa Mercantile and Signco offered their services at cost.

Liz Haun, owner of Nyssa Mercantile, said she was pleased her business could help the city.

“I think the project is great and it looks so much nicer,” Haun said. “The city did a really good job.”

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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