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A big $667,200 chunk of concrete

By Staff | Apr 12, 2015

The Blue Earth City Council heard some good news from their city administrator at their meeting last Monday night.

“We got the grant from the state to do the 21st Street project,” administrator Tim Ibisch said. “And not only that, they funded it at 100 percent of what we had requested.”

Total amount of the grant was $667,200, just what the city had asked for in the application. This amount includes all of the estimated construction costs, including elevating the road surface, drainage improvements and concrete surfacing.

It does not cover the costs of engineering, contingencies and other administrative costs, so there is going to be approximately $100,000 in local share of the overall project costs.

“Some of our local share has already been paid for,” Ibisch told the council. “For the preliminary engineering expense.”

City engineer Wes Brown reported that the Blue Earth project was one of the 43 projects (out of 138 applicants) to be selected for this particular type of grant and was the seventh highest amount awarded to an out-state community.

“We felt that this project fit the funding criteria well,” Brown says. “Mainly because of its flooding issues and the fact that it is heavily used by an industry, Darling International.”

But, the engineer expressed some surprise at the amount of the grant.

“While we were hopeful to be funded, it is nice that it was for the full amount,” Brown says. “We were hoping for better than a 50/50 match grant and we got it.”

Ibisch says getting the full 100 percent funding means the city’s street fund will not be hit hard for this one street and will still have enough to do other projects in the city.

The 21st Street project is on the very south edge of Blue Earth and borders with township property. The east/west street connects Highway 169 to an intersection with Ramsey Street. Going further west, 21st Street becomes 95th Street and goes to the Darling International plant. Ramsey Street to the south of the intersection becomes 385th Avenue.

Headed east of the Ramsey Street intersection, 21st Street has a row of homes on the south side. That stretch of 1,100 feet is already a concrete surface.

But, once the housing development ends, so does the concrete surface and the street becomes gravel.

Brown says the street is too low on the east end, near where it connects with Highway 169 and it often floods and becomes soft.

“With the amount of truck traffic from Darling and the agricultural equipment using it, the street has to have a lot of repairs done to it each year,” he says. “This project will eliminate that issue.”

Brown says the exact schedule for the city to receive the funds and be able to start the project has not yet been announced. The city will be working with Faribault County on the project as the county will act as the fiscal agent.

Ibisch says he is unsure if the work will be done this year or in 2016. But, he said, it was very exciting news for the city’s street work and Brown agreed.

“I am pleased to see that Blue Earth is once again getting a well-deserved chunk of the available state and federal funding for this type of work,” he said.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the council:

Looked at two bids for the demolition of a house on the corner of Rice and Seventh streets.

Both bids included asbestos removal and filling in the basement hole.

The council accepted the lower bid of $9,150 from G&S Drainage. The other bid was from Weerts Construction for $14,350.

The council expressed hope that the demolition could be completed as soon as possible.

Accepted the one and only bid received for mosquito control in the city this summer.

That bid was for $14,250 and came from Mosquito Control of Iowa. The same company did the work last year at the same bid amount.

Voted to allow El Tio’s Restaurant and El Tio’s Grocery to block off the street in front of the store on June 20 for a promotion.