[Audio] Street Reconstruction Sparks Debate in Pine City
The Pine City Council and residents debated the proposed 2009 Street Reconstruction Projects at a special meeting Wednesday. City Engineer Sean Clark gave a presentation on the proposed $2.4 million project which includes 1st Avenue NE, 5th Avenue NE, 2nd Street NE, and the forcemain route along Rypkema Road NE. The scheduled work includes, curb and gutter improvements, new street, new sewer, and new water mains. Clark says going through with this type of project can help jump start the local economy.
Not everyone buys in to Clark’s theory. Bryan and Karen Stumne say the cost of the project is too much.
The city pays for 69-percent of the reconstruction project and 31-percent is assessed to the residents who own property on the streets. Assessments are based on how much frontage property owners have on the street and size of the lot. It was noted that the city’s share of the project is funded through water and sewer charges, meaning, tax payers do pay for the whole project.
Clark said $60,000 has been already been spent on the project, mostly for surveying and the feasibility report.
Bob Solaneck encouraged the city to consider stopping all spending until the economy recovers.
One concern with not moving forward with the project is that, because of the state of the economy, costs for the project are lower than normal. Clark added that the $2.4 million projection could be reduced by as much as 10-15 percent by the time construction begins.
The city council agreed to send the project back the the Public Works Committee for re-evaluation. The city will also send out assessments to all effected property owners. The council will discuss the issue again at the February meeting.
Clark said that he will pursue grants for the project, including one worth $315,000.
In May, SEH was hired to do preliminary engineering for the remaining area of Woodpecker Ridge. The work included delineations, topographic survey, coordination of soil borings and stormwater routing/analysis.
Preparation for a feasibility report was initiated by the city in September due to deteriorating street conditions and failing sanitary sewer piping.