Public hearing reviewed 1998 street projects

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 11/4/97.

Property owners left the public hearing on the 1998 Street Improvement Project with optimism. Many were looking forward to the start of the project next spring.

Peter Carlson, city engineer, explained the improvement plans street by street Wednesday night, with printouts on hand for homeownerís inspection.

The project includes:
ēWashburne Avenue from First Street to Mill Street;
ēMain Street from Lake Street to Stearns Avenue;
ēAugusta Avenue from Mill Street to Highway 23;
ēStearns Avenue from Highway 23 to James Street;
ēWendell Street from Highway 23 to Stearns Avenue; and
ēHudson Street from Highway 23 to Wendell (street overlay only).

The project is the first phase of the cityís 10-year street and utility reconstruction plan, developed by the public works committee. The project is necessary in order to continue providing quality municipal services, sanitary sewer and water, as well as maintaining the road system in a safe condition.

On Washburne Avenue, the project would widen the street to 36 feet. At present, the pavement is 20 feet with a gravel shoulder for a total width of 34 feet. ďAs a result of the project, about 17 trees would be lost in this area,Ē Carlson said. ďMany of the trees are located on top of the sewer and water services. The roots are breaking up the clay tile lines.Ē

Carlson informed the homeowners that with a 36-foot street, the sidewalk would be located on the west side of the street and homeowners would have a nine-foot boulevard area, all placed on the city right-of-way. ďWe also looked at a 40-foot street, but felt that would place the street too close to the homes, he added.

ďThe width of the street wouldnít make much difference in the number of trees affected. The root system would be weakened, making the large trees susceptible to storm damage,Ē he said.

On Washburne from Mill Street to Main Street, the area around the school playground and park, the street would be constructed at 40 feet from a safety standpoint for a smoother transition on the curve.

On Main Street, the pavement would be widened to 38 feet with a sidewalk located on the north side, by the school ground. At present, the school fence is 12 feet into the city right-of-way. This area would lose three trees.

On Augusta Avenue, the existing street is 53 feet wide to accommodate the diagonal parking. The street will be redesigned to 52 feet. This area would lose 13 trees, the bulk of the trees are on the southerly end near the elementary school. The trees here are pushing out the curb and gutter and lifting up the sidewalk.

On Wendell Street, there is a 20-foot wide pavement with a gravel shoulder. From gravel to gravel the street varies from 36 to 38 feet. The public works committee recommended a 38-foot width for this street. The sidewalks would be positioned on the edge of the right-of-way and homeowners would have a seven-foot boulevard.

Due to the location of the trees, about 21 would need to be removed on this three-block stretch. ďSome of the trees are small enough they could be moved to another area,Ē Carlson said.

ďWe looked at off setting some streets to save some trees, but decided the best option is to keep the streets centered. In the long run, we would not be saving that many trees,Ē he added.

The estimated cost of the entire project is abut $931,622. It is the city policy to assess 50 percent of the street improvement to abutting property owners. The city pays 100 percent of the sidewalk costs, sanitary sewer and water mains. If water and sewer mains need to be replaced to the home, that is the homeownerís expense.

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