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Paynesville Press - January 14, 2004

City holds meeting on 2004 street improvements

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Assessments for the city's 2004 street improvement project could be significantly lower than the original estimates. New figures indicate that assessments - which were originally estimated to be as high as $65 per frontage food - could end up as low as $38 per foot.

This was one of the topics of discussion last week during an informational meeting on the 2004 Street Improvement Project.

The city invited residents who will be affected by the project to meet, listen to engineer's proposals, and ask questions of city officials and engineers. About two dozen residents and business owners attended the meeting.

The $1.4 million project will include: resurfacing Belmont Drive; resurfacing part of Railroad Street, which will be widened to 48 feet; resurfacing part of Hudson Street, which will be widened to 36 feet; and resurfacing Lake Avenue, which will be widened to 40 feet.

New sidewalks will be built on the east side of Belmont Street from Minnesota Street to Belmont Drive; on the east side of Hudson Street, from Wendell Street to Hudson Drive; on the south side of Railroad Street, from Washburne Avenue to Lake Avenue; and on the east side of Lake Avenue, from James Street to Railroad Street.

A stormwater retention pond will be built on Railroad Street. The pond will be about 10 feet deep and will be fenced.

Sanitary sewer mains and water mains will be replaced where engineers deem it necessary, and sanitary sewer and water service lines to businesses and residents will be replaced, at the owner's cost, only where necessary.

The Industrial Loop, Ampe Drive, Claire Avenue, and Minnie Street also are scheduled for overlayment during the project.

To save money, the Service Road project - which includes paving Service Road and adding a parking area and driveway to the BMX park - will be bid as an addition to the project, but it will have its own assessment schedule.

Because of the large amount of side property involved in the street improvement project, early assessment estimates for the project were about $65 per frontage foot, much higher than assessments for similar projects, which averaged $39 per foot. By including all footage to figure the assessment rate, the city could lower the assessment rate to $38 per foot.

The final assessment rate will depend on the actual project costs.

Residents will be assessed for the street, curb and gutter, and storm sewer costs.

In addition, properties where sanitary sewer or water service lines need to be replaced will be assessed an additional $800 for each service.

The city will pay for the costs of water and sewer mains and for sidewalks. According to city engineer Pete Carlson, the city inspected each of the sanitary sewer mains with a camera to determine which of the lines need to be replaced since the city could not afford to replace all of the lines at once.

The assessment for residents and business owners on streets that are to be overlayed are estimated at about $12 per frontage foot.

Terry and Jean Nichols, who live on Wendell Street, voiced their concerns over landscaping after the project ends. According to Carlson, after the streets are finished, lawns will be re-seeded and the contractor will be responsible for maintaining the seed until a stand of grass has been established.

Engineers have identified about 14 trees that will need to be removed for the project. According to Carlson, deciding to remove trees can be difficult and he emphasized that residents like the Nichols, who don't want to lose trees, should contact him, through public works, and he will inspect each tree before making a final decision.

Also, said Carlson, residents who want trees removed during the project should contact him.

Trees that are to be removed during the project will replaced by the city when when the project is done. Plans for the project are complete and should be ready to submit to the city council for approval at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

Advertising for bids could begin in mid-January and bids could be opened in mid-February, said Carlson. By seeking bids in January, the project could cost less than waiting until later, Carlson believes.

He pointed out that because of Paynesville's sandy soil the project could begin early in the season, as soon as the frost is out.

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