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Second Street residents ask questions

By Staff | Mar 9, 2014

A group of 20 residents of Second Street in Blue Earth came to a hearing last Monday night with questions.

They left with a lot of answers and very few concerns.

City engineer Wes Brown and city administrator Kathy Bailey explained the $2 million Second Street reconstruction project which will be completed this summer.

“We expect to take bids on the project in April and start construction in mid to late May,” Brown told the residents. “The project covers Second Street from Holland to Gorman streets.”

Brown says the work will include new water lines, sanitary and storm sewer mains, sidewalks and street pavement.

The project costs include:

Water main – $475,700 with property owners’ share at $105,600.

Sanitary sewer mains – $307,400 with property owners picking up $67,700 of the cost.

Storm sewer construction – $142,500, with no charge to property owners.

Sidewalk construction – $185,200 total with property owners charged with $33,500 of that amount.

Street construction – $976,200 with $260,400 assessed to property owners.

The charges to landowners can be placed on the property tax roll spread out over 15 years, Bailey says.

Property owners also have the right to pay the full amount or a partial payment up front or at any time during the 15 years.

“The final assessment amounts will be figured after the project is completed,” Bailey says. “So we will have another hearing just like this one a year from now. The assessments won’t take effect until 2016.”

While there were very few questions about the assessments, property owners did have some other concerns.

One of those was about sidewalk replacement, especially if the landowner had just replaced the sidewalks.

“If the sidewalks are less than 15 years old you won’t be assessed for the new ones,” Bailey says.

Trees were another issue. There are quite a few trees which will be affected during construction, Brown says, meaning they will have to be removed.

Residents asked if additional trees could be removed during the construction and were told yes.

All the trees will be replaced with new young maple trees.

Several of the Second Street residents also expressed interest in placing rain gardens in the boulevards after hearing a report from the Faribault County Soil and Water District Conservation office which included a 75 percent cost share grant.

After the hearing closed, the council voted to proceed with bids for the Second Street project.

In other business on Monday night, the council accepted the retirement of Middy Thomas as director of the Senior Citizens Center.

The council discussed hiring a replacement and at first talked of advertising the position.

However, the council discussed altering the position from full-time to part-time and eventually decided to send the matter to the Senior Center board for further review and a recommendation back to the council.