'98 Street project
Residents express concern at hearing

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 07/08/97.

Several residents of Paynesville's downtown area attended last Wednesday evening's meeting of the Paynesville City Council. Peter Carlson P.E., city engineer with the architecture, engineering, environmental, and transportation firm of Short, Elliott, and Hendrickson, Inc., presented their feasibility report.

Included in the report were recommendations, probable costs, and estimated assessments for the street, sewer, and utility improvements on Augusta Avenue, Hudson Street, Main Street, Stearns Avenue, Washburne Avenue, and Wendell Street.

Several residents who have homes on the affected streets expressed their concerns about costs and effects of the proposed project, as well as some complaints about the previous project in 1994.

The report was initiated by the city council on recommendations from the Public Works Committee, and would be the first phase of Paynesville's ten-year street and utility reconstruction plan.

To ensure public safety and quality municipal services, as well as sanitary sewer and water and safe road conditions, it was stated that these streets are in need of restructuring. Many underground water mains are constructed of lead, the sanitary sewers are made of clay pipe, which are in danger of cracking or collapsing, and there is a lack of curb and gutter on several streets, causing poor drainage. Also, the pavement along most of those streets is cracked and in poor shape, indicating poor subgrade conditions.

In the proposed project, three of the six streets would be widened, which concerned some residents whose properties would be impacted. A couple residents voiced their concerns about the mature trees that will be taken down in order to avoid future maintenance problems, regarding snowplows, sidewalk, and overhead utility lines.

One resident stated it takes nature hundreds of years to create a tree that people can tear down in seconds. Another resident voiced that many citizens were saddened by the damage to trees caused by last week's storms, yet many trees on these streets will be cut down in the name of progress.

Other residents were concerned about the accessibility of the roads during construction. Although the pavement on the streets in question will be ground up at the same time due to the cost of the milling machine, they will still be passable.

The total cost of the proposed project would be $931,622, which would be split 50/50 between the city of Paynesville and the residents whose property will be affected. The project will include replacing specifically designated storm sewers, sidewalks, sanitary sewers and water mains on the streets mentioned. The assessment would be $34.64 per foot, and would be assessed to the property owners on a front footage basis, would could be paid in full initially, or added to the resident's property taxes over a ten-year period.

The proposed project, if accepted by the city council, will begin in May of 1998 and conclude around mid-August. The council will continue to discuss the project at their council meetings, the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend. The project feasibility report is available at city hall for interested residents to look over.

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